(Recipe) Meatless Monday: Brain-Smart Smoothie

Cherries and berries may not be available at a Farmer’s Market near you, yet, but frozen berries do retain their vitamins and nutrients well. Add healthy grams of fiber with spinach, dark greens and hemp seeds, and you’ll consume more than half of your daily fiber needs in one smoothie recipe, says fitness expert Tana Amen, BSN, RN, author of The Brain Warrior’s Way Cookbook.

Beyond their basic fruity tartness and high levels of vitamin C and K, these super-berries pack in folic acid and minerals like manganese, which are affiliated with brain health. (By many accounts, blackberries are considered one of the most powerful antioxidant foods consumed in the U.S.)

Super Berries May Battle Viral Infections, Ulcers, and “Bad” Cholesterol

The National Institutes of Health is funding research to study the powerful effects of these “super berries.” In one large study, women who ate more than three servings of blueberries and/or strawberries per week had a 34 percent lower heart attack risk than those who ate less than that.

“Brain activity is linked with appropriate nutrition,” says Amen. Even short-term alterations in the quantity and makeup of antioxidants (like berries) can affect your mental cognition, mood and healthy body weight.

Certain supplements may also help you get adequate amount of these cancer-fighting antioxidants.

As an added health wallop, Amen adds hemp seeds for more calcium and iron; and freeze-dried Chinese goji berries with 20 vitamins and minerals.

Shop for your favorite books, supplements and smoothie recipes, and stay tuned for our healthy nutrition tips every Monday. We have so many delicious, quick-and-simple recipes to choose from. What are your favorite smoothie add-ins?