27 Mar MENOPAUSE MENU: Berries and the Brain
Menopause can be tough on the brain – Berries can help
Just like the rest of our body, the brain ages and is exposed to age-related changes. Some of those changes include reduced cognitive ability, focus, and memory. In addition to age, menopause robs the brain of an essential brain-boosting hormone – estrogen! Brain fog, as it’s often called, is the inability to concentrate or focus, or even hold on to thoughts. It is a very common symptom of menopause. Although some cognitive decline is normal, there are many ways we can protect our brains from aging too fast. One such way is by consuming berries.
There is strong evidence that eating berries, specifically blueberries, and blackberries, has beneficial effects on cognition, memory loss, and overall brain function. Both blueberries and blackberries are nutrition powerhouses but blackberries have higher fiber content. Blackberries: 8-10g/cup, blueberries: 3-4g/cup. These deliciously nutritious powerhouses exert their benefits through their polyphenolic and antioxidant compounds. The polyphenols and antioxidants in berries are believed to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain and thereby protect it from damage by harmful free radicals.
BEST WAY TO CONSUME
To get the most nutritional value out of your berries follow these tips:
- Eating the whole berry instead of consuming supplements.
- Frozen or canned berries usually contain more nutrients because they are picked at their ripest time.
- Thaw them in the microwave rather than at room temperature or in the fridge.
- Cooking them increases the antioxidant levels and makes the nutrients more bioavailable. Tomatoes are similar in that when cooked or canned they are more nutritious.
Quick and easy recipe for a super-powered brain smoothie:
- 1 cup of frozen blackberries/blueberries
- 1 banana (you can skip this if you want less sugar but I love the taste and the additional potassium)
- 1 cup of almond milk or other milk (coconut water is also an alternative)
- 1 Tbsp of peanut or almond butter
- 1 serving of collagen powder (my favorite is Vital Proteins unflavored)
- 1 serving of lion’s mane mushroom powder (my favorite is Four Sigmatic)
Berries are a delicious way to help your brain stay strong and healthy. Give it a try!
Stay curious, unafraid, and armed with knowledge!
– Dr. Maria Luque