(Mass Appeal) – There has been a growing concern about the increase in mental health issues for many years now and it has been exacerbated by the pandemic. And while mental health professionals continue to meet with those affected, there have been studies that show simple diet changes can help reduce the risk of mental health challenges and improve our emotional wellbeing. Kirsten McEvoy, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer with MiraVista in Holyoke, is here to share an easy item you can make that’s tasty and helpful to our mental health.

Smoothie for brain health

INGREDIENTS: Almond milk, walnuts, avocado, banana, mango, spinach/ kale, greek yogurt, water ice

**For those with nut allergy, flax seed or hemp seed are great substitution that are relatively rich in the same healthy fats, vit E and amino acid ( proteins) as well as low fat dairy/ milk or milk alternatives.

**For those with dairy allergy coconut based yogurt/ milk can be substituted or these items can be omitted completely for a dairy free/ vegan / vegetarian friendly recipe

DIRECTIONS: Add ingredients and blend

Add ice after fully blended

Brain healthy smoothie

Avocado healthy omega 3 fats a monounsaturated fat helps promote good blood flow and lower blood pressure, contributes nearly 20 vitamins/ minerals. the healthy fat in avocados helps the body better absorb fat-soluble nutrients, like vitamins A, D, E and K.
Greek yogurt – contains higher protein, B1, B2, B12 and beneficial healthy bacteria, Good bacteria known as probiotics has been shown to help brain function in managing emotional and psychical stress through the gut brain axis
Spinach/ kale or dark leafy greens- Vit K acts as an antioxidants to stop age associated decline, keeping brain mentally sharp, high amounts of folate , fe+ and vit A/ C
Banana, has 37 gm of Mag which helps the brains neurotransmitters and helps your body excrete ammonia which is a byproduct of protein metabolism and can weaken concentration if built up in the body, it also has a good sources of K and natural fruit sugar that our brain uses as energy to think, because of the higher fiber intake it gives your body a longer lasting sustainable energy compared to sucrose “table sugar”. Lastly it contains an 12 mg of both AA tyrosine and tryptophane which is converted to serotonin and dopamine helping to regulate mood and reduces stress and
Mango – known in many countries as ” the king of fruits” high in Vit C helping to absorb iron from the spinach, but also a great sources of B vitamins especially B 6 and vit B 12, and vit E known to help support the brain neuro transmitter pathways. Also a great source of folate ( B9) and copper which is an amazing choice if pregnant to help support growth
Almond milk – low in cholesterol and protein but has a good sources of Ca and Vit D
Walnuts ” brain shaped” – protein and omega 3 , vit K , zinc, selenium, Vit E which helps increase memory and decrease anxiety, you only need a small amount 1 oz to gain the brain boost