Colorful Fall Flavors for Brain Health
by Laurie Richardone
As much as I feel sadness to not have a perfectly vine ripened juicy tomato tart, until next summer, there is much to look forward to!
It’s time, once again, to discover all the delicious and creative ways to enhance cognitive health with the tastes of autumn.
You will find that fall flavors not only pack a lot of comfort, and infuse us with sweet smelling joyous memories, they also offer tremendous benefits for the brain and our overall well-being. That’s reason enough to be excited about this season’s ingredients.
It’s not surprising that the wisdom of nature matches the colors of fall foods: Reds, oranges, tans, some yellow, and even green. How cool is that? So, get ready for some creative cooking as we meld into the harvest of the autumn season with nourishing ingredients. Eating with the seasons can be just the tonic we are looking for, to have us feel our best, in the cooler months to come.
Besides the tantalizing smell and marvelous tastes of roasted apples, baked pumpkins, and grilled brussel sprouts with fresh cranberries, another reason to enjoy them this fall is their contribution to brain health. One of the most important nutrients found in these delectable edibles is the omega-3 fatty acid which is known to improve memory.
Along with the years of study done to improve mental fitness, I wholeheartedly believe taking care of our brain health in our golden years is crucial to living a life of vitality. A wonderful reward to that is; it can be luscious and gratifying. All it takes is a little intention, the right nibbles, and the tenacity to get those hiking shoes on, wouldn’t hurt.
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• Apples: Did you know that research shows that the phytonutrients found in apples are primarily concentrated in the fruit’s skin, (which is another great reason to eat organically grown when you can). Avoid peeling your apples as the skin provides neurological benefits.
• Pumpkins: Pumpkins are probably the most popular fall flavor, with good reason, since it contains minerals that boost cognitive function. Who knew! Pumpkin contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which are nutrients that are excellent at boosting memory recall. Plus, the seeds are proven to help boost your mood, something we could all use a dose of.
• Winter Squash: Fall is synonymous with squash. Acorn squash and butternut are two of the varieties with high amounts of antioxidants. All the winter squashes have health benefits.
• Brussels sprouts, apples, broccoli, winter squash, and dark green leafy vegetables, were most highly associated with cognitive support.
• Add Berries and Nuts to your favorite dishes, as they have high amounts of antioxidants which are known to improve your cognitive health. When roasted , they add a nice crunch and punch to a recipe.
Cooking Tips In The Kitchen
• Lightly steam your orange veggies to hold in the beneficial nutrients, and combine them with a healthy fat for optimal benefits. That could be olive, coconut, or avocado oil. Slice some avocados in at the end with a squeeze of lime, lemon or other citrus to marry contrasting flavors with the vegetables.
• Steam or roast broccoli, brussel sprouts, and kale, as they are all nourishing compounds considered to be neuroprotection. Drizzle with beneficial fats for extra flavor, like walnut oil, hazelnut oil,or Ghee (clarified butter).
• Sprinkle a handful of healthy fats for contrasting textures with toasted walnuts, almonds, pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Kick it up a notch by adding a good pinch of your favorite spices, like turmeric, ginger or cinnamon. Slice in some apples, dried cranberries, or creamy medjool dates. You are then ready for a delectable nutritious dish that will not disappoint.
It will feel like autumn has arrived on your plate.
To your good health
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Laurie Richardone is an inspirational seasonal chef and certified health coach. To work with Laurie, visit LaurieRichardone.com