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Brain-Boosting Mixed Berry & Greens Smoothie Recipe

According to the Centers for Disease Control, only 1 in 10 Americans gets the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables in their daily diet. And that’s really a shame, because when my patients ask me what they can do to improve their memory, I often say the same thing:

A big factor in brain power comes down to the foods we eat, and the foods we don’t. 

And fruits and vegetables have been proven to be some of the best foods for the brain on the planet. So today, I’m presenting a simple way to get a hearty amount of fruits and vegetables in one easy meal: a delicious, nutritious smoothie! 

Smoothies are a great option, especially if you find yourself constantly rushing in the morning and don’t feel you have time to prepare breakfast. On that note, breakfast is essential for all-day energy and brain power because it keeps your blood sugar levels steady, helps improve focus and attention span, and has even been proven to boost short-term memory and creativity.

So with that in mind, I’d like you to give this simple smoothie a try and see if you can incorporate it into your daily diet! 

Now, one quick note about this smoothie: as you probably know, the taste of fruits are typically heavily favored to that of vegetables. Fruits have more natural sugar in them and are sweeter by nature. However, veggies are essential in getting the key nutrients your brain needs for optimal function. So what this recipe will do is covertly sneak in some of the best brain-boosting veggies in without overpowering the sweet taste of fruit! 

Before we get to the recipe, I’d like to give you a quick rundown of what you’ll find in this smoothie. Because as you’re about to see, we’re not using any fillers whatsoever. Every single ingredient has been proven to aid in brain health, so you can bet you’ll feel a difference after you try it! 

Almond Milk: Almonds are naturally high in vitamin E, which has been found to significantly benefit brain health. Studies have found it improves mental performance and can help reduce the risk of serious neurodegenerative issues.

Bananas: This popular fruit is chock-full of potassium, manganese, vitamin C and fiber -- all of which contribute to the banana’s brain-boosting capabilities. Studies have shown that students learn more efficiently and have better exam scores when they eat a banana beforehand. The nutrients inside of bananas are also known to help the brain maintain serotonin levels, which regulates mood. 

Blueberries: Few things are as widely available to people that are as brain-healthy as blueberries. They’re packed with antioxidants -- maybe more than any other common fruit or vegetable -- and have been shown in studies to help prevent age-related memory loss, boost brain cells, increase concentration and focus and improve overall mental health. A six-year study of over 16,000 older individuals found that blueberries were linked to delays in mental aging by up to 2.5 years.

Strawberries: Much like the blueberry, strawberries have been shown to boost brain power and help prevent age-related memory loss. This is due to the strong presence of antioxidants which protect brain cells from damage by harmful free radicals. Strawberries can also prevent inflammation to the brain that contributes to nerve damage, and improve motor control and cognition. 

Raspberries: Packed with nutrients, loaded with antioxidants and low in sugar, raspberries are another berry known to keep the mind sharp. Raspberries help fight oxidative stress caused by free radicals (oxidative stress has been found to be a causative factor in many neurodegenerative diseases). Furthermore, the raspberry’s flavonoids have been shown to improve coordination, memory and mood, as well as provide general housekeeping for the brain, clearing out unwanted toxins.

Greek Yogurt: Greek Yogurt is a probiotic, meaning it’s packed with healthy bacteria that can boost the immune system and assist with stomach issues. One study found that probiotic supplements reduced the participant’s distress and thoughts about sadness. Another 2016 study found that workers who ate 100 grams of probiotic yogurt a day experienced less stress, depression and anxiety than those who did not. 

Honey: When not overly processed and preferably local, honey can be a great way to sweeten some meals without the excess sugar, while benefiting the brain. One 5-year study of almost 2,900 people concluded that honey and its properties act as a natural preventative therapy for cognitive decline.

Spinach: Leafy greens like spinach are rich in nutrients like vitamin K, lutein, folate and beta carotene. Research shows spinach, along with other leafy greens, could help slow cognitive decline. One study found that just one serving of spinach per day could slow the process of age-related cognitive decline, due to the abundance of vitamin K. 

Kale: Like spinach, kale is a leafy green vegetable that is rich in lutein -- the brain-booster that can be particularly useful for older people. A recent study found the brains of middle-aged people with higher levels of lutein seemed to perform similar to brains of younger people. Unlike spinach, kale has almost no oxalates that impair absorption. 

Chia Seeds: Chia seeds are packed with fiber, protein, calcium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus, as well as brain-strengthening antioxidants. Chia is loaded with omega 3 fatty acids and neuroprotective anti-oxidants such as quercetin, caffeic and chlorogenic acid. These essential fats and antioxidants produce cell membranes that are more flexible and efficient.

Excited to try this yummy smoothie yet? I’ll bet you are! So let’s get to it. 

Mixed Berry & Greens Smoothie

SERVES: 2

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 1 ½ cups almond milk

  • 1 banana, sliced

  • 1 ½ cups frozen mixed berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries recommended)

  • 1 ½ cups spinach and kale, packed tightly

  • 3/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt

  • 1 tbsp honey

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

  • 2 tbsp blueberries, for garnish

DIRECTIONS: 

  1. Place the almond milk, banana, berries, spinach and kale, chia seeds and yogurt in a blender; blend until smooth. If the smoothie seems too thick, add a little more liquid (¼ cup). 

  2. Taste and add honey if desired. Pour into two glasses and garnish with blueberries. Serve immediately and enjoy! 

(Note: To further dilute the strong taste of the greens, I recommend freezing or chilling the spinach and kale. Frozen or extremely cold foods aren’t as pungent, and in the case of spinach and kale, this can mask their taste almost completely, and you still get all of their nutritional benefits!) 

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think! Like I said, one of the best ways to take care of your brain is to provide it with the proper fuel in the form of nutritious food. And in the case of this smoothie, you’ll be flooded with some of the best brain-boosting ingredients known to man! 

Bon appetit! And if you’re looking to take your brain health to the next level… >> THIS is my #1 solution to strengthen your mind, improve your memory and clear out that unwanted “brain fog” that hurts brain power.

 

 

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References:

https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p1116-fruit-vegetable-consumption.html

https://ketteringhealth.org/communityoutreach/pdf/ask/ask-breakfast.pdf

https://www.seek.com.au/learning/studying/study-tips/10-foods-to-boost-your-brain-power

https://www.verywellmind.com/bananas-increase-serotonin-fact-or-fiction-1066923

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10995120/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-proven-benefits-of-blueberries

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323169

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/diet-and-alzheimers-leafy-greens_n_6987672

https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2017/07/26/science-just-gave-you-a-brain-boosting-reason-to-eat-kale/#70a397932f37

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