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The Best Foods for Brain Health, Concentration, and Memory

These healthy foods are the best foods for brain health. Add them to your shopping list and eat up!

Our brains are incredibly powerful organs. They use about 20 percent of our bodies calories each day, so it is important to fuel them properly.

Recent research shows there is likely a link between diet and cognitive decline or developing dementia later in life. Several studies illustrate the benefit of following a Mediterranean style diet to reduce cognitive decline and risk of dementia. There is also promising research for the MIND Diet. This diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean Diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

These three eating patterns have a few things in common. First, they focus on eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins. Also, these eating patterns limit intake of saturated fat, red meat, processed foods, and sugar.

Best Foods for Brain Health

While a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats is very healthy overall and helps prevent disease, there are some specific foods to focus on for brain health. These foods contain nutrients that are essential for our brains to stay sharp and function well. These foods will help protect your brain from inflammation, aging, and cognitive decline!

1. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens - best foods for brain health - Daisybeet

Leafy greens are full of important nutrients that benefit our brains, including vitamins E and K, lutein, nitrates, and folate. A recent study found that eating 1 serving of leafy greens per day was associated with slower cognitive decline (6). Fill up on all the spinach, kale, collard greens, and arugula!

Here are some leafy green recipes to try:

2. Berries

Berries - best foods for brain health - Daisybeet

Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries…they are all some of the best fruits for brain health! Berries are rich in antioxidants, which combat free radical damage and inflammation in our cells. One review suggests that berries may slow down or reduce the severity of changes in the brain and disease development associated with aging (7). Berries are also low in sugar and high in fiber, making them great for digestion and satiety, too.

Here are some berry recipes to try:

3. Salmon and Fatty Fish

You’ve probably heard that salmon and fatty fish are good for us. They seem to be particularly important for brain health, though. Salmon and fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which our bodies cannot produce themselves. A 2016 study found an association between eating seafood once per week and slower decline in multiple cognitive domains (8).

The same effect may not be true of fish oil supplements. One notable study found no difference in cognitive function between participants taking fish oil supplements and those not taking them (9). I recommend eating sustainable, wild caught seafood at least once a week to ensure you reap the brain health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.

Here are some salmon and fatty fish recipes to try:

4. Walnuts

Vegan and vegetarian friends, you’re in luck! You do not need to consume fish to get brain health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts are a good plant based source of omega-3 fatty acids, but they are a different form than the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. But, one recent study found that our bodies convert the form in walnuts (ALA) to the more beneficial forms of omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA (10). We just might need to eat a little more of the plant based forms to get the benefits!

Here are some walnut recipes to try:

5. Coffee and Tea

Tea latte - best foods for brain health - Daisybeet

Yes, you can continue drinking you morning cup of jo! Coffee and tea both contain caffeine, which might be important for brain health. Caffeine may improve several aspects of brain health, including short-term memory, reaction time, learning, and mood.

One review found that caffeine may be associated with reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia (10). In one of the studies included in review, drinking 3-5 cups a day was even beneficial!

To sum it all up, fill your plate with nourishing vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and even a little caffeine, and your brain will thank you!

Let me know if you love this post by leaving a comment below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

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Sweet Potato Toasts with Mediterranean Salsa (Gluten Free)

This delicious appetizer recipe uses sweet potato toasts in place of bread! They’re topped with rosemary white bean dip and Mediterranean salsa.

Sweet potato toasts with Mediterranean salsa - Daisybeet

I’d never made sweet potato toasts before this recipe. Shocking, right? This food trend has been all over social media for quite some time now! Sweet potato toasts are so easy to make and super versatile. I will definitely be trying them again, and these little appetizers are perfect for entertaining friends and family.

I don’t have many appetizer recipes on the blog, so I decided to share one today! These delicious little bites are full of texture and fresh Mediterranean flavor. You’ll roast some sweet potato slices, then top them with homemade white bean rosemary spread and Mediterranean salsa.

What’s in Mediterranean salsa?

Sweet potato toasts with Mediterranean salsa - Daisybeet

Mediterranean salsa is a loose term, but it refers to the finely chopped ingredients included in the topping on these toasts. I added cucumber, olives, sun dried tomatoes, red onion, parsley, and Portofino Tuna to this recipe.

I love Portofino Tuna for so many reasons! Their tuna is extremely high quality. It is super tender and mild compared to water-packed tuna because it’s packed in extra virgin olive oil. Their albacore tuna is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and an easy way to add protein to a meal or snack. You can buy Portofino Tuna in cans or pouches that you can seamlessly add to any recipe.

How to make sweet potato toasts

  • Slice sweet potatoes lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices.
  • Place sweet potatoes in an even layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Spray with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper. Flip sweet potatoes and repeat.
  • Roast for 25-30 minutes, flipping sweet potatoes once halfway through cooking.
Sweet potato toasts with Mediterranean salsa - Daisybeet

Tips for making sweet potato toasts with Mediterranean salsa

  • Select sweet potatoes of similar shape and size. Keep them on the smaller side to make appetizers, or choose larger ones to make this recipe more of a meal.
  • Don’t drain the can of tuna. Portofino Tuna is packed in extra virgin olive oil, so we want all that delicious flavor + healthy fats to end up in the salsa!
  • Use store-bought hummus as a shortcut. If you don’t have a food processor to make the white bean spread, just use your favorite hummus or white bean dip!
Sweet potato toasts with Mediterranean salsa - Daisybeet

If you love this recipe, you may also like

Let me know if you love this recipe by leaving a comment or rating below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

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Sweet Potato Toasts with Mediterranean Salsa (Gluten Free)

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: makes ~16 sweet potato toasts
  • Category: appetizer

Description

This delicious appetizer recipe uses sweet potato toasts in place of bread! They’re topped with rosemary white bean dip and Mediterranean salsa.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 small sweet potatoes

Rosemary White Bean Spread

  • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary needles, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tahini

Mediterranean Salsa

  • 1 can Portofino Albacore Tuna
  • 1 1/2 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 415 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Wash and scrub sweet potatoes. Slice them lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices, discarding the end pieces or save them for another recipe.
  3. Spray each side of sweet potato slices with cooking spray, salt, and pepper. 
  4. Roast for 25-30 minutes until just starting to brown. Flip once during cooking.
  5. While sweet potatoes are in the oven, prepare the rosemary white bean spread. Combine all spread ingredients in a food processor. Blend until completely smooth.
  6. Make the Mediterranean salsa. Combine all ingredients except salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine, and then add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Once sweet potatoes are done roasting and cool enough to handle, spread each piece with 1-2 tbsp of rosemary white bean spread. Add a spoonful of salsa on top. You may have extra white bean spread or salsa leftover, depending on size of sweet potato toasts.
  8. Serve immediately.


Notes

  • Extra Mediterranean salsa is delicious over a salad!

Keywords: sweet potato toasts, mediterranean salsa, tuna recipe, gluten free, kalamata olives

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Sweet potato toasts with Mediterranean salsa - Daisybeet

Thank you Portofino Tuna for sponsoring this blog post! I’m grateful to partner with brands I love to cook with, and all opinions are my own.

Featured

Pasta Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Tuna

This easy pasta salad is an easy, light and refreshing recipe for warmer weather. The addition of canned tuna in olive oil gives this meal a delicious and filling boost of protein. Make it for dinner tonight and have leftovers tomorrow!

easy pasta salad with vegetables and tuna

I’m all about light, fresh, and filling meals these days. Once the days get warmer, I like to maximize time spent outside and not in front of a hot oven. For me, this means batch cooking, using shortcuts, or making meals large enough for leftovers!

This easy pasta salad is full of fresh summer flavors as well as plenty of nutritious ingredients. Whole wheat pasta, roasted vegetables, fresh basil, and a little parmesan cheese are such a delicious combination. I also added a can of Portofino Tuna in Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Canned tuna is a pantry staple of mine. It’s the perfect, inexpensive ingredient to add to any meal for a boost of high quality protein instantly. Portofino Tuna is wild-caught and hand selected, and the olive oil gives it such a tender texture and mellow flavor. There’s no need to add anything, it tastes delicious straight from the can! They also make tuna in pouches for on-the-go meals. You can find Portofino Tuna at Market Basket, Star Market, Shaws, and more!

easy pasta salad with vegetables and tuna

Main Ingredients + Some Nutrition Notes

  • Whole Wheat Pasta: Whole Wheat Pasta contains more fiber than white pasta, adding bulk to our meals which keeps us fuller for longer. Whole wheat products also retain the nutrients of the grain, including important B vitamins.
  • Portofino Tuna in Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Canned tuna is an inexpensive source of protein and healthy unsaturated fats. This tuna is packed in extra virgin olive oil, which is a staple of the Mediterranean Diet (one of the healthiest diets in the world), which also adds delicious healthy fats to this meal.
  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that give them their beautiful red color. Diets high in antioxidants are anti-inflammatory and can help prevent chronic diseases like heart disease and certain cancers.
  • Zucchini
  • Corn
  • Basil
  • Parmesan Cheese
easy pasta salad with vegetables and tuna

How to make this pasta salad

First, you’ll roast up zucchini and cherry tomatoes to bring out their natural sweetness. Meanwhile, cook whole wheat pasta and corn on the stovetop. Combine vegetables in a large bowl with pasta, corn, chopped fresh basil, salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, and a can of Portofino Tuna. Enjoy warm or cold – it is delicious either way!

If you love this recipe, you may also like

easy pasta salad with vegetables and tuna

Let me know if you love this recipe by leaving a comment or rating below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration.

Print

Easy Pasta Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Tuna

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: main dish

Description

This pasta salad is an easy, light and refreshing recipe for warmer weather. The addition of canned tuna in olive oil gives this meal a delicious and filling boost of protein. Make it for dinner tonight and have leftovers tomorrow!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 can Portofino Solid Albacore Tuna in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced into ¼ inch thick rounds
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 ear corn
  • ½ pound whole wheat pasta (I used fusilli)
  • 1 large handful fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
  • Juice of ½ lemon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 410 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Toss zucchini and tomatoes in 1 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring once halfway through.

  3. While vegetables roast, prepare corn and pasta. Bring 2 pots of water to a boil.

  4. In one pot, add corn and boil for 3-5 minutes until fork tender. Remove from heat and run under cold water to stop cooking. Use a sharp knife to shave off kernels from the cob.

  5. In the other pot, add pasta and cook according to package instructions.

  6. Combine cooked vegetables, corn,  pasta, basil, tuna and parmesan cheese in a mixing bowl. Toss with remaining olive oil and lemon juice, adding salt and pepper to taste.



Notes

  • This recipe is great warm or cold, so it is perfect for leftovers or meal prep

Keywords: pasta salad, tuna, whole wheat pasta

Save this recipe for later to one of your Pinterest boards

easy pasta salad with vegetables and tuna

Thank you Portofino Tuna for sponsoring this blog post! I’m grateful to partner with brands I love to cook with, and all opinions are my own.