Eating for a healthy brain

FEEDING THE BRAIN: It tastes good, looks good and is good for your brain. This collection of delicious recipes presents the facts and reasoning behind why we should be eating to feed the brain. It also sheds light on the link between gut health and the brain.

FEEDING the brain isn’t just another foodie fad.

It is a serious issue many strive to accomplish daily because we are living longer and want to be able to enjoy those extra golden years.

It is no surprise recipes including turmeric feature prominently in Better Brain Food by Ngaire Hobbins (APD, BSc, Dip Nutrition and Diet) and Michelle Crawford.

The golden spice turmeric or curcumin has created a stir in neuroscience research, being widely investigated for its anti-inflammatory actions in a number of clinical research trials.

It may eventually be used in treatment of cognitive decline, but the amounts that are being tested, like many more substances that have been sourced from foods, are well beyond the amounts you would usually eat.

Turmeric is often found in traditional dishes from India, Pakistan, Morocco and the Middle East.

A simple recipe for savoury coconut chips, made with a turmeric spice mix, got top marks for their afternoon pick-me-up value.

Divided into two parts (the science and the recipes), Better Brain Food chapters include eating to prevent dementia, gut health, obesity and diabetes.

What is in your gut has a powerful influence on your mood, behaviour and the health of your brain.

The recipe sections include cooking for one or two (most recipes make four serves), quick power meals, smart soups and more substantial meals.

The typical Mediterranean-style recipes blend seasonal fruits and vegetables with proteins such as meat, seafood, dairy, nuts, seeds and pulses.

And just because it is a health book doesn’t mean there are no treats.

Chocolate mousse with cardamon is about as decadent as you can get with lashings of cream, golden syrup, eggs and dark chocolate.

The Murdoch Books publication retails for $45.

Turmeric chicken breast with pumpkin and broccoli

A fast weeknight dinner, lemony chicken with vegetables cooked in the pan juices is stained a golden yellow from that fabulous turmeric, all easily cooked in the one baking dish. You could substitute or add other vegetables depending on what you have on hand: swede, cauliflower, parsnip, sweet potato or carrots would all go well.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 garlic cloves, crushed
juice of 1 lemon
2 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) olive oil
2 large boneless chicken breasts, skin on
½ butternut pumpkin (squash), peeled and cut into small cubes
1 small broccoli, broken into florets
100 g (3½ oz) baby rocket (arugula) leaves
½ bunch of coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).

In a bowl, combine the turmeric, ginger, garlic, lemon juice and spring onion with the olive oil. Put the chicken into a baking dish, then pour on the turmeric mixture and rub over the chicken. Scatter the pumpkin around the chicken and coat with the dressing.

Roast for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, turn over the pumpkin and chicken and add the broccoli. Return to the oven and roast for another 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cut each chicken breast into thick slices. Divide the rocket between four serving plates, top with the chicken, pumpkin and broccoli and pour on any juices from the baking dish. Scatter with the chopped coriander and serve.

FEEDING the brain isn’t just another foodie fad.

It is a serious issue many strive to accomplish daily because we are living longer and want to be able to enjoy those extra golden years.

It is no surprise recipes including turmeric feature prominently in Better Brain Food by Ngaire Hobbins (APD, BSc, Dip Nutrition and Diet) and Michelle Crawford.

The golden spice turmeric or curcumin has created a stir in neuroscience research, being widely investigated for its anti-inflammatory actions in a number of clinical research trials.

It may eventually be used in treatment of cognitive decline, but the amounts that are being tested, like many more substances that have been sourced from foods, are well beyond the amounts you would usually eat.

Turmeric is often found in traditional dishes from India, Pakistan, Morocco and the Middle East.

A simple recipe for savoury coconut chips, made with a turmeric spice mix, got top marks for their afternoon pick-me-up value.

Divided into two parts (the science and the recipes), Better Brain Food chapters include eating to prevent dementia, gut health, obesity and diabetes.

What is in your gut has a powerful influence on your mood, behaviour and the health of your brain.

The recipe sections include cooking for one or two (most recipes make four serves), quick power meals, smart soups and more substantial meals.

The typical Mediterranean-style recipes blend seasonal fruits and vegetables with proteins such as meat, seafood, dairy, nuts, seeds and pulses.

And just because it is a health book doesn’t mean there are no treats.

Chocolate mousse with cardamon is about as decadent as you can get with lashings of cream, golden syrup, eggs and dark chocolate.

The Murdoch Books publication retails for $45.

Turmeric chicken breast with pumpkin and broccoli

A fast weeknight dinner, lemony chicken with vegetables cooked in the pan juices is stained a golden yellow from that fabulous turmeric, all easily cooked in the one baking dish. You could substitute or add other vegetables depending on what you have on hand: swede, cauliflower, parsnip, sweet potato or carrots would all go well.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 garlic cloves, crushed
juice of 1 lemon
2 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) olive oil
2 large boneless chicken breasts, skin on
½ butternut pumpkin (squash), peeled and cut into small cubes
1 small broccoli, broken into florets
100 g (3½ oz) baby rocket (arugula) leaves
½ bunch of coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).

In a bowl, combine the turmeric, ginger, garlic, lemon juice and spring onion with the olive oil. Put the chicken into a baking dish, then pour on the turmeric mixture and rub over the chicken. Scatter the pumpkin around the chicken and coat with the dressing.

Roast for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, turn over the pumpkin and chicken and add the broccoli. Return to the oven and roast for another 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cut each chicken breast into thick slices. Divide the rocket between four serving plates, top with the chicken, pumpkin and broccoli and pour on any juices from the baking dish. Scatter with the chopped coriander and serve.

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