Enhance the brain for a stronger, more focused workout with these top foods.
Given much thought to the correlation between the brain and an effective workout or performance? Chances are, no. Ironically, however, a toxic brain can greatly hinder both athletic performance as well as interfere with focus on the job, in the classroom and elsewhere. Brain toxicity results from some of the most unsuspecting conditions such as where we live – in a big city, for example, versus a more soothing countryside – and the types of foods we eat.
Foods that cause the brain to perform sluggishly in many cases are not even real foods. Examples are what are considered to be junk foods, foods that are created from “false” ingredients or chemicals with added chemical flavorings made to taste like “real” food. Other brain depriving foods, which should come as no surprise, are those high in sugar such as packaged pastries, sodas, many packaged snack foods and aside from sugar, dairy products have been linked to deficiencies in brain health.
The good news is that logically speaking, there are many foods that have direct links to improved brain health. Among them: omega-3 rich foods like salmon, trout and walnuts, fruits like kiwi, organic strawberries, papaya, and pineapple, spices and herbs on the list include ginger root, basil, cilantro and peppermint and among vegetables, asparagus and Brussels sprouts. For the best brain boosting strategy, nix the pre-packaged sugary foods, sodas and junk foods, practice mindful meditation especially if you live in a large city, and incorporate the brain strengthening foods listed here. For starters, try this Pan Grilled Salmon with Organic Fruit Salsa and Asparagus.
Pan Grilled Salmon with Organic Fruit Salsa and Asparagus (Serves 2)
- 1 kiwi, diced
- 1 papaya, diced
- 1 cup diced fresh pineapple
- 1 cup sliced fresh organic strawberries
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves (or cilantro, if preferred)
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- Pinch salt
- Pinch white pepper
For the rest:
- 10 medium asparagus, trimmed
- 2 4-6 ounce filets of salmon
- 1 ½ tablespoons coconut oil
- In a medium mixing bowl, toss together all of the salsa ingredients. Set aside.
- Quickly blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water for 30 seconds, remove and plunge into an ice bath. Drain and pat dry and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a medium heavy ovenproof skillet (cast iron recommended) heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil until melted. When pan is hot, add salmon, skin side down, and cook for 3-4 minutes or until skin is crisp. Turn and cook an additional 3 minutes; transfer to the oven to finish cooking, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer salmon to a plate.
- Quickly add the remaining coconut oil and asparagus to the skillet. Return to oven and cook about 2 minutes.
- Remove and serve Salmon filet with asparagus, lightly season with salt and pepper, if desired, and top with salsa, about ¼ cup.
Serving size: 4 ounces salmon with 5 asparagus and ¼+ cup of salsa
Saturated fat: 11.2g