We’ve all had it happen. We eat something we didn’t know we shouldn’t have (or maybe we did know …), and brain fog sets it. Suddenly, it’s more difficult to follow along with or think through ideas. Basic tasks seem daunting; all we want to do is crash on the couch.
How do you bounce back from these bad food choices? In general, what should you eat when you want to be sharp and on your toes?
When thinking brain foods, think antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory, healthy fats, and probiotics. Why?
- Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals that can harm the brain.
- Healthy fats feed the brain with long-term, consistent energy, which helps when our brains are under metabolic stress and don’t have the same energy to reach high-processing states.
- Probiotics create a healthy gut environment, which greatly reduces inflammation itself, and provides more nutrients to the body.
One of my favorite recipes to fill all of these needs is beet hummus. I encourage you to try this even if you are usually turned off by beets’ earthy flavor. The slight sweetness and tang of apple cider vinegar works to neutralize that in this combination.
To make beet hummus, boil beets until they are soft, then peel off the skin. Cut into smaller chunks and allow to cool slightly. Combine in a food processor or blender with olive oil, single garlic clove, apple cider vinegar, walnuts, and lemon juice. If you want a little extra boost, throw in some fresh rosemary as well. Blend ingredients until smooth. Add salt or more apple cider vinegar to preference.
Why is this recipe so fantastic for the brain? Beets are anti-inflammatory, antioxidant rich, and full of nutrients. Walnuts provide a source of protein, healthy fat, and antioxidants. Olive oil, when extra virgin, is also wonderful healthy fat to feed the brain. Apple cider vinegar adds a great dose of probiotics for a happy gut. Lemon juice, rosemary, and garlic are also chock full of antioxidants to protect the brain, plus lemon helps to give the mind and body a little energy boost. If these benefits aren’t enough, the bright, beautiful color is hard to turn away from.
So go ahead and grab some celery, broccoli or cucumbers, and dip them in this beet hummus for a quick and awesome snack before or after a workout, or just when you are on-the-go. This also works as a tasty salad dressing on some fresh leafy greens or can be paired with salmon for a main course.
What’s even more awesome? All of the things you’ll dip in beet hummus are also brain foods in and of themselves. So welcome to a food that tastes good and feels even better!