Contributed by Blue Crew member Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDCES, CHWC, FAND
Each June, as we acknowledge Brain Health Month, we recognize the importance of taking an active role in nourishing and protecting our brains. From the foods we eat to the miles we walk to the hours we sleep and more, our daily choices affect the health and abilities of our brains today, tomorrow, and well into the future.
Personally, I celebrate every special month or day with food. Food is my love language. I show love, appreciation, and care by sharing delicious and nutritious food with the special people in my life. Sometimes the food is fancy, and sometimes it’s soup and a sandwich. But it’s always from the heart. For Brain Health Month, I created a simple-to-prepare, taste bud dazzler with a beautiful boost of blue. Nutritious, delicious, eye-catching, and packed with important nutrients.
My Salmon with Blueberry Basil Sauce features a duo of foods to nourish your noggin. Salmon serves up the B vitamin choline1 and important omega-3 fatty acids2, which are critical to aid in both the development and the function of the brain.
Additionally, research shows that the equivalent of a half cup of fresh blueberries per day, consumed as freeze-dried blueberry powder, can help middle-aged individuals against cognitive decline when implemented early in at-risk individuals. The potential mechanisms for these findings may be associated with anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, the bioactive flavonoid compounds found in blueberries responsible for their vibrant blue color. The blueberries and basil scream summer, and you can cook the salmon on an outdoor grill, so this recipe is perfect for any summer gathering.
You can support your brain even more if you serve the salmon and blueberry sauce over leafy greens and with a sprinkle of walnuts like I’ve done in this picture. Among other foods, leafy greens contain lutein, a cousin to beta-carotene that’s thought to positively impact brain health of older adults.3 And eating walnuts is associated with improved memory, concentration, and information processing speed.4
In a large population study representative of American adults, researchers categorized participants by walnut consumption. They found that among people aged 20 – 59 years old, those who ate the most walnuts performed better on each of four tests of cognitive function. Those who ate the most walnuts in the age group 60 – 90 years, performed better on average on three of the four cognitive function tests.
This June, treat yourself and others to a tasty meal that can help support cognitive health. You’ll love the pop of color from my wholesome (and quick-to-prepare) blueberry basil sauce.
To learn more, download the blueberries and brain health tip sheet – and visit this site often for more updates on the health benefits in every boost of blue! The Blueberry Council also has healthy snack recipes for you to try, and an entire blueberry recipe library for more inspiration. Whatever you’re whipping up in the kitchen, share it with your fellow blueberry fans by tagging pics and social media posts with #boostofblue and @blueberries (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter) or @blueberrycouncil (TikTok).