Brainy Salad

Brainy Salad

A salad with these ingredients is specially designed to be good for your brain.

1. Start with a bed of spinach.

Spinach is rich in nutrients that are good for your brain, such as folate, iron, calcium and vitamins E and K. Evidence from the MIND diet (a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets) demonstrated that a diet that includes leafy greens may keep your brain seven and a half years younger and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 53 percent.

2. Add some onions.

Onions are bad for your breath, but good for your brain.

Japanese researchers discovered that people suffering from memory loss who added onions to their diets reported improvements in their ability to recall. Onions may be helpful to the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is involved in processing emotions as well as memory.

Onions contain a flavonoid called quercetin. It is also found red wine, green tea, apples, berries, Ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort, American elder and buckwheat tea.

One antioxidant found in onions binds with harmful toxins in the brain and flushes them out of the body. The sulphur-containing compound, which has been shown to slow down the deterioration of memory usually associated with ageing, is also found in garlic, scallion, shallot, leek, and chives.

3. A salad without its tomato is sad.

Whether you pronounce it to MAYto or to MAHto, it’s good for your brain. Tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant, lycopene, which can help protect the neurons (brain cells) from free radical damage.

4. Throw in some avocado.

Avocados add a creamy texture and rich taste to the brainy salad. They also are chock full of monounsaturated fats. This improves blood flow to the brain.

5. Slice and dice some cucumbers.

Cucumbers may improve your memory and protect your nerve cells from age-related decline. They contain an anti-inflammatory (polyphenol) flavonol called fisetin.

And they smell so fresh

6. Shred some cheese on top.

Cheese activates the reward center of your brain.

The main protein in cheese is casein. When you digest casein, your body breaks it down into casomorphin. Casomorphins cross the blood-brain barrier and attach to dopamine receptors on neurons (brain cells). Dopamine is a neurotransmitter related to feelings of pleasure and reward. Casomorphins may have an important evolutionary purpose: they promote the strong bond between mammal mother and baby.

6. Anchovies are not just for caesar salad.

Anchovies have an abundance of  Omega-3 fatty acids (essential to your brain and nervous system). Like other fatty fish, they have both forms of omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

DHA is one of the molecular building blocks of the brain, cerebral cortex, skin, and retina.

EPA is important in lowering the bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein (LDL) ), which can help prevent stroke.

7. A brainy salad needs a clever dressing.

Wondering whether to put ranch or balsamic on that salad?

Do your brain a favor and go for something that has a red wine vinegar base. Balsamic is delicious. But all red wine vinegars contain powerful polyphenol antioxidants, including resveratrol. They also have antioxidant pigments called anthocyanins.

The array of oil choices is dizzying.  But which one is best for your brain?

Olive oil wins out because it boasts antioxidants, called polyphenols, which improve brain health. And for a double bonus use extra virgin. Scientific studies suggest extra-virgin olive oil lowers rate of stroke