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Brain-Boosting Broccoli Side Dish

Combining three foods with brain-boosting power, this simple and flavorful broccoli side dish supports cognitive health.

As fall and winter approach, we are gravitating towards more cooked meals. This broccoli side dish is full of healthy fats and nutrients to support cognitive health. Pair it with baked salmon and brown rice for the ultimate brain-boosting meal. 

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, “rich in nutrients, including several carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin); vitamins C, E, and K; folate; and minerals. They also are a good fiber source.” (source) According to Harvard Medical School, broccoli may help slow cognitive decline. 

Walnuts are another featured ingredient known for their brain-boosting power. According to a study published by the National Library of Medicine, “walnuts can reduce oxidative stress by decreasing the generation of free radicals and by boosting antioxidant defense, thus resulting in decreased oxidative damage to lipids and proteins.” Walnuts are also a healthy fat, making them a satisfying addition to the recipe. 

This recipe also includes local honey. In addition to adding a sweetness to the dish to balance the savory flavors, research suggests that “honey supplementation can protect from neuroinflammation, reduce oxidative stress, and increase brain-derived neurotrophic factors. On a cognitive level, honey has been shown to improve memory and learning, slow down cognitive decline associated with aging and reduce anxiety.” If you suffer from allergies, choosing a local honey may help your symptoms. 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • ¼ cup white onion, diced 
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon local honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Method

  • In a medium pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, add broccoli and cook for 2-3 minutes, depending on the size of your florets. Broccoli should be bright green with a bit of a crunch still. 
  • Drain broccoli and set aside.
  • In a large sautée pan, heat avocado oil.
  • Add diced onion, minced garlic, and chopped walnuts. Stir for 1-2 minutes, making sure not to burn the onions, garlic, and walnuts.
  • Once onion and garlic are fragrant, add your drained broccoli. Stir well and sautée for several more minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Plate and drizzle with local honey. 

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Taylor Marks
Taylor Marks is a certified holistic health coach and professionally trained chef from The Institute of Culinary Education. Her passions include the latest research in health science, culinary arts, holistic wellness, and guiding others towards feeling their best.

 

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