How can parents help their children study and revise for exams? Let them feast on foods, which stimulate healthy brain function, boost memory and are good for cognitive development, of course! This brainpower menu by Chef Kanika Hughes, Co-Founder and Chef at Leela's Lunches, will also benefit grown-ups as it prevents mental decline, no matter what your age.
A green superfood smoothie packed with kale will enhance memory and hone the brain’s problem solving abilities. Add some bananas, which are vital for concentration, as they promote strong signals between brain cells. Throw in some pineapple too as it is bursting with vitamin C to enhance mental alertness.
For a main course, serve up salmon, which has a high level of Omega 3 to improve brain function and mood. Sage and parsley in a herb crust prevent against cognitive decline, and pumpkin seeds sprinkled over the dish provide zinc to safeguard memory and boost thinking skills.
One veggie option is a spicy Mexican brown rice, avocado, caramelised walnut and roasted cherry tomato salad, served with a dash of lime. This is a one stop wonder meal to help with exam preparations. The lycopene in tomatoes protects brain fat, which leads to improved cognitive function, particularly memory and concentration.
The healthy fats in the avocado boost brain areas responsible for critical thinking and planning, while whole grains like brown rice supply a steady release of energy to sustain mental alertness throughout the day. The vitamin E in walnuts and brown rice safeguards against cognitive decline, and this benefit accrues only through vitamin E rich foods, not supplements.
And finally, dessert, which, yes, can also help make you smarter. For a sweet treat, think of a mixed summer berry crumble. Blackberries and blueberries promote mental agility and prevent short- term memory loss. Blueberries are also one of the most powerful anti-stress foods. For the crumble, stay away from refined sugar as that would make the system sluggish, and use stevia, a natural herbal sweetener that does not spike blood sugar levels, instead.
This prevents the sudden surge and subsequent dip in energy levels that comes with eating regular sweets. To the crumble topping add oats, another whole grain to strengthen the brain against decline, flax seeds to increase brain function and decrease depression and chia seeds, the little champions that give a big boost to your little champion!