Try to add these into your regular recipes, or enjoy our meal plans and promote productivity, memory, and focus!
1. Dark Leafy Greens
Think kale, spinach, or swiss chard. These leafy greens are rich in Vitamins A, C, E, and K. Research on Vitamin E shows a link to cognitive benefits. Studies have shown effects of dietary Vitamin E on lowering the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Evidence showed that this was seen, especially when paired with Vitamin C, which is also sourced in dark leafy greens. In a study involving rats, Vitamin K was found to preserve cognitive functioning, but further research is needed to see if this finding translates to human studies. Dark leafy greens are also rich in fibre, which helps maintain a healthy gut microbiome. This is important as the gut-brain axis explains a strong link between gut health and mental health. Folate, also found in leafy greens, is involved in proper cognitive functioning, mood, and ageing. All our lunches
will have leafy greens, so you’ll get your serving with us.
Berries are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which can have a neuroprotective effect on the brain. They provide fibre which promotes positive gut health and therefore a support for mental health. Folate, found highest in blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries, is involved in proper cognitive functioning, mood, and ageing. Add berries to your breakfast, frozen berries to your smoothies, and sprinkle some into your salads! We love using fresh, frozen, and dried berries at Eat by Alex for a sweet touch and nutrition boost.
Studies are finding that curcumin (the major compound in turmeric) is linked to improved memory and mood. It may also have an effect on treating anxiety and depression. Having a boost of turmeric every day is beneficial for health, and an easy way to do so is through switching your morning coffee or tea, to a turmeric latte. Turmeric needs to be paired with black pepper for full bioavailability (don’t worry we’ve got you covered with our golden latte mix). Another way to eat more turmeric is to sprinkle it on roasted veggies, or blend into soups, smoothies, or juices. You’ll find turmeric in recipes for all our 6 different meals at Eat by Alex!
Other honourable mentions are nuts, and fermented foods. We hope that by eating a diverse diet of nutritious plant-based foods, and by implementing some of these brain boosting nutrients you will enjoy strong mental health, focus, and memory throughout life.
Grodstein F, Chen J, Willett WC. High-dose antioxidant supplements and cognitive function in community-dwelling elderly women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;77:975-84.
Zandi PP, Anthony JC, Khachaturian AS, et al. Reduced risk of Alzheimer disease in users of antioxidant vitamin supplements: the Cache County Study. Arch Neurol. 2004;61:82-8.
Zhang SM, Hernan MA, Chen H, Spiegelman D, Willett WC, Ascherio A. Intakes of vitamins E and C, carotenoids, vitamin supplements, and PD risk. Neurology. 2002;59:1161-9.
Etminan M, Gill SS, Samii A. Intake of vitamin E, vitamin C, and carotenoids and the risk of Parkinson’s disease: a meta-analysis. Lancet Neurol. 2005;4:362-5.
Subash, S., Essa, M. M., Al-Adawi, S., Memon, M. A., Manivasagam, T., & Akbar, M. (2014). Neuroprotective effects of berry fruits on neurodegenerative diseases. Neural regeneration research, 9(16), 1557–1566. https://doi.org/10.4103/1673-5374.139483
Reynolds E. H. (2002). Folic acid, ageing, depression, and dementia. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 324(7352), 1512–1515. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7352.1512
Fusar-Poli, L., Vozza, L., Gabbiadini, A., Vanella, A., Concas, I., Tinacci, S., Petralia, A., Signorelli, M. S., & Aguglia, E. (2020). Curcumin for depression: a meta-analysis. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 60(15), 2643–2653. https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2019.1653260