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6 Simple & Yummy Superfood Recipes For Brain Power

Emma

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Medically reviewed by Kathy Shattler, MS, RDN

Easy Superfood Recipes

You’ve probably heard of superfoods before. Are they all hype, or is there more to this popular notion?

Before we dive in, let’s take a quick step back. What are superfoods, and why should you be eating them?

What Are Superfoods?

“Superfood” is a catch-all term that means something different to everybody; some definitions are much stricter than others.

In a general sense, superfoods can be defined as any food that brings many, many benefits or nutrients to the table[1]. Others focus more on specialty food items that are especially good at delivering a single rare yet vital nutrient – selenium-rich Brazil nuts are one great example.

Some of our favorite easy superfood recipes include:

  1. Açaí Smoothie Bowls
  2. Indian Dal or Curry
  3. Superfood Power Muffins
  4. A Sheet Pan Salmon Dinner
  5. A No-Fuss Baked Potato
  6. Chia Seed Pudding Parfait

What are some of the best superfoods to eat, and what do they do? The list goes on, but we’ve got a few superstars that we can recommend.

The Health Benefits of Superfoods

Your nutritional payoff will vary greatly – no two superfoods are exactly alike. Many of these superfoods are known for their impact on mental clarity and focus, but that’s far from the extent of what they stand to offer.

We all know what common superfoods like ginger, turmeric, salmon, hemp seeds, and kale can do for us. What about the rest?

  • Goji berries: usually eaten dried and full of dietary fiber, zeaxanthin, and a host of vitamins and minerals[2]
  • Maca powder: shines particularly in how digestible and bioavailable[3] it is
  • Spirulina: an excellent, plant-based source of B12 and carotenoids[4]
  • Bee pollen: honey is famous for having no shelf life – aside from bee pollen’s many nutritional qualities, it’s also able to stand in as an antifungal agent[5], as well
  • Green tea: green tea is a powerful antioxidant and might help you lose weight[6]
  • Açaí: this deeply-pigmented superfood gets its color from anthocyanins[7], another antioxidative stand-out

That’s your shopping list for the week taken care of. Now, the fun part: putting it all together.

Superfood Recipes for Energy, Focus, and Performance

Eating well doesn’t have to take an inordinate amount of time daily. In fact, some of our favorite superfood recipes take less time than hitting the drive-thru lane in a moment of weakness.

All of these meals can be meal-prepped in advance for brain fuel at school, at the office, or simply as you go about your daily business.

Açaí Smoothie Bowls

This popular health food craze hit us all hard a few years back. While the açaí mania has subsided, for the most part, this is still one great treat that you can whip up at home in no time.

You don’t even need fresh açaí berries, either. Many supermarkets will have ready-to-blend packets in the freezer aisle. It’ll be the most convenient breakfast of your life.

  1. 1 açaí packet (or fresh, frozen açaí berries, if you can track them down)
  2. ½ of a frozen banana
  3. 1 or 2 Medjool dates
  4. Some sort of liquid to help it blend – water, soy milk, or even orange juice
  5. Cacao, vanilla, maca, or protein powder, if desired.

Throw it all into your blender or food processor. Dump it into a bowl and top with chia seeds, coconut flakes, bee pollen, berries, greek yogurt, or granola.

Indian Dal or Curry

A big pot of homemade Indian curry is one of the most comforting weekend meals to make, and the leftovers will keep you focused and engaged the next day at work. Indian stew dishes naturally invite superfoods like turmeric, ginger, black pepper, and legumes to the party, all amounting to one satisfying bowl packed with superfood nutrition.

This is the perfect clean-out-the-fridge recipe. You’re free to add anything – squash, sweet potatoes, green peas, crucifers like cauliflower, and even healthy greens like kale.

Superfood Power Muffins

Homemade baked goods are the way to go if you’ve got a sweet tooth. We love to utilize the natural sweetness of dates, honey, stevia, and maple syrup, as well as healthy fats like avocado and nut butters.

For a muffin tough enough to keep you focused all the way through lunch:

  1. ½ cup of oats
  2. ¼ cup of your favorite type of flour
  3. ½ cup of flax meal
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1 ripe, mashed banana
  6. ¼ cup of your preferred sweetener
  7. 1 tablespoon of healthy fat
  8. ½ teaspoon of baking powder
  9. Walnuts, chocolate chips, raisins, cinnamon, vanilla, or anything else you like

This recipe makes six normal muffins or twelve mini muffins. Toss them in a pre-heated oven set to 350F for fifteen to twenty minutes or until golden brown and ready to enjoy.

The Quickest Salmon Dinner Ever

The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon make it one of the best foods for sustained cognitive performance[8]. If you’re one who prefers a slightly more traditional-looking plate, this simple recipe is fast, easy, and requires only a mixing bowl and a sheet pan. Dishes? Done.

For the salmon:

  1. A 3.5-ounce salmon filet for every person
  2. Salt
  3. Black pepper
  4. Garlic
  5. Lemon juice
  6. Olive oil
  7. Other herbs and spices, if desired

Before anything else, marinate all of the above for at least an hour, ideally longer. While that’s happening, you can pre-heat your oven to 400F and work on the veggies:

  1. Brussels sprouts
  2. Root vegetables like yams and beets
  3. Alliums like shallots and leeks
  4. Leafy greens like kale, thrown in at the very end

Chop ‘em all up, season everything but the greens with salt, pepper, and anything else you like, and arrange them evenly on a parchment-lined sheet tray. If they’re going in raw, give them a twenty-five-minute head-start so as not to overcook the salmon.

Once they’re starting to roast, pull them from the oven and give them a flip. Place each salmon filet on top, adorned with a thin slice of lemon.

The salmon should be done in approximately twelve to fifteen minutes. Protein and a side dish, all without slaving over a hot stove after a long day at work. No complaints here.

A No-Fuss Baked Potato

Sweet potatoes are one of the most important staples[9] in the Okinawan diet, one of the world’s five famous dietary blue zones. You can prepare this low-glycemic-index treat in no time if you’ve got a microwave oven. 

Poke it with a knife or fork, rinse it with clean water, and nuke it for seven to ten minutes, depending on its size. Once it’s hot, bake it as normal until fork tender. Pop it open and top with salt, pepper, sour cream, chives, and anything else that you’re craving.

This super convenient tip can be applied to any squash or root vegetable – kabocha, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, and more will all be on the table in minutes.

Chia Seed Pudding Parfait

Chia seed pudding is simple and foolproof: two tablespoons of chia seeds for every half cup of milk, water, or any other liquid. Refrigerate this mixture overnight for a grab-and-go breakfast instantly.

This gluten-free treat is hypoglycemic, anti-inflammatory[10], and might even be able to protect you from heart disease. We love layering chia pudding with granola, greek yogurt, fresh berries, and anything else that we’ve got lying around. 

Look Great, Feel Great, and Live Well

We’ve all got a lot going on in life. When you’re short on time, nourishing yourself will often become an afterthought.

Keep mental fog and fatigue at bay with any of these quick superfood recipes. When you burn clean fuel, you’ll feel the difference, and all of these meals can be prepared well in advance. Never find yourself starving at the office vending machine again.


+ 10 sources

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  1. Google Books. (2011). Superfoods. [online] Available at: https://books.google.com.vn/books?hl=en&lr=&id=N1DTZ18N-_YC&oi=fnd&pg=PP11&dq=what+are+superfoods&ots=_v1n-7UvFD&sig=0cEJoIvtSqSKVj5qEfJG-EpZ5FQ&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=what%20are%20superfoods&f=false [Accessed 10 Dec. 2021].
  2. ‌S. Niro, A. Fratianni, G. Panfili, L. Falasca, L. Cinquanta and Alam, M.R. (2017). NUTRITIONAL EVALUATION OF FRESH AND DRIED GOJI BERRIES CULTIVATED IN ITALY. Italian Journal of Food Science, [online] 29(3). Available at: https://itjfs.com/index.php/ijfs/article/view/649 [Accessed 10 Dec. 2021].
  3. ‌Google Books. (2011). Maca! [online] Available at: https://books.google.com.vn/books?hl=en&lr=&id=-_etK2PJlkwC&oi=fnd&pg=PA4&dq=&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false [Accessed 10 Dec. 2021].
  4. ‌Tang (2011). Vitamin A, Nutrition, and Health Values of Algae: Spirulina, Chlorella, and Dunaliella. Journal of Pharmacy and Nutrition Sciences, [online] 1(2). Available at: https://www.zora.uzh.ch/id/eprint/61173/ [Accessed 10 Dec. 2021].
  5. ‌Komosinska-Vassev, K., Olczyk, P., Kaźmierczak, J., Mencner, L. and Olczyk, K. (2015). Bee Pollen: Chemical Composition and Therapeutic Application. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, [online] 2015, pp.1–6. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4377380/ [Accessed 10 Dec. 2021].
  6. ‌Westerterp-Plantenga, M.S. (2010). Green tea catechins, caffeine and body-weight regulation. Physiology & Behavior, [online] 100(1), pp.42–46. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20156466/ [Accessed 10 Dec. 2021].
  7. ‌ACS Publications. (2016). An Anthocyanin-Rich Extract of Acai (Euterpe precatoria Mart.) Increases Stress Resistance and Retards Aging-Related Markers in Caenorhabditis elegans. [online] Available at: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.jafc.5b05812 [Accessed 10 Dec. 2021].
  8. ‌Demmelmair, H., Øyen, J., Pickert, T., Rauh-Pfeiffer, A., Stormark, K.M., Graff, I.E., Lie, Ø., Kjellevold, M. and Koletzko, B. (2019). The effect of Atlantic salmon consumption on the cognitive performance of preschool children – A randomized controlled trial. Clinical Nutrition, [online] 38(6), pp.2558–2568. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0261561418325640 [Accessed 10 Dec. 2021].
  9. ‌Willcox, D.C., Scapagnini, G. and Willcox, B.J. (2014). Healthy aging diets other than the Mediterranean: A focus on the Okinawan diet. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, [online] 136-137, pp.148–162. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5403516/ [Accessed 10 Dec. 2021].
  10. Suneetha, J., Prathyusha, P., Kumari, A., Naga, M. and Srujana, S. (2019). Chia seeds for nutritional security. ~ 2702 ~ Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, [online] 8(3), pp.2702–2707. Available at: https://www.phytojournal.com/archives/2019/vol8issue3/PartAL/8-2-367-292.pdf.
Emma

Medically reviewed by:

Emma Garofalo is a writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. A lover of science, art, and all things culinary, few things excite her more than the opportunity to learn about something new." It is now in the sheet in the onboarding paperwork, apologies!!

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