Earlier this month we looked at the many benefits exercising can have on your brain. Equally important to your physical activity is the fuel you put into your body. While a healthy diet is important to your entire physical and mental well-being, certain foods are known for their brain-boosting powers above and beyond generally recommended “health foods.” Ingredients like…

  • Spinach and leafy greens
  • Eggs
  • Salmon
  • Berries
  • Oatmeal
  • Broccoli

…amongst others, are known for their superior nutritional value for your brain. Coffee and dark chocolate have also been shown to have tremendous impact on your brain and memory health (not to mention being delicious favorites!)

Keeping these ingredients and their value in mind, here are a few recipes to try out this month to keep your brain in top shape!

Almond Orange Salmon

Key Brain Health Ingredients: cold water fish, nuts, olive oil


  • 4 salmon fillets (6 oz each)
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 2/3 cup almonds, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, chopped finely (can use a different herb if you prefer)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Bring salmon to room temperature by leaving it out on the counter for approximately 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Place a baking rack in a sheet pan.
  3. Combine orange zest, orange juice, almonds, parsley, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. Put salmon filets skin side down on the rack.
  5. Drizzle each fillet with about 1 teaspoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place pan in oven and cook for 20 minutes.
  6. Pat almond mixture onto salmon and return to oven for an additional 5 minutes, until nuts are toasted.
  7. Salmon will be cooked through, although color will remain vibrant and flesh will be soft.


Carrot Ginger Soup

Key Brain Health Ingredients: turmeric, winter squash, carrots


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped coarsely
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped into 2-inch sections
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup milk or cream


  1. Heat oil in soup pot over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add curry powder and ginger and sauté about one minute.
  3. Add carrots and salt and cook, stirring, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low until carrots are very soft, about
  5. Remove from heat and puree using an immersion blender, or in batches in a regular blender.
  6. Put pureed soup into a bowl and stir in milk or cream. Serve immediately.


Oatmeal with Almonds and Tart Cherries

Key Brain Health Ingredients: cinnamon, nuts, oats, red berries


  • 3 1/2 cups low-fat or nonfat milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups oats (not quick oats)
  • 1 cup dried tart cherries
  • 2/3 cup slivered almonds
  • maple syrup or honey to serve


  1. Heat milk and cinnamon in a saucepan just until boiling. Add oats and cook, stirring, over medium heat until it reaches the desired consistency, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add cherries to pot and stir in. Turn off heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove to serving bowls. Sprinkle with almonds. Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup or honey, if desired.
  4. To add more lean protein to the meal, you can also garnish with a dollop of low-fat or nonfat plain yogurt.


Mexican Hot Chocolate

Key Brain Health Ingredients: cinnamon and dark chocolate


  • 3 cups lowfat milk
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 4 ounces bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped


  1. Put milk and cinnamon sticks in a saucepan and bring just to a boil. Turn off heat and let sit for between 30 minutes and 2 hours, to infuse cinnamon flavor into milk.
  2. Remove cinnamon sticks. Add sugar, vanilla, and salt and return milk to a boil.
  3. When milk boils, turn heat to low and whisk in chopped chocolate.
  4. Once chocolate is completely melted and incorporated, decant to 4 cups and serve warm.