Eat This Food Once a Week for a Better Memory and Healthier Brain

Fish and alzheimer's

Having a few more “senior moments” lately? Forgotten where your keys are a few too many times this month? Walk into a room and wonder why you came in? They happen to all of us, and we joke about them with our friends, but for those concerned about getting Alzheimer’s or dementia, these moments are no laughing matter. However, new studies on Alzheimer’s prevention are coming out with some interesting suggestions – one of which is to eat more fish.

UCLA resident radiologist, Dr. Cyrus Raji, lead research that found that people who eat fish regularly have bigger, stronger, healthier brains, which protects against Alzheimer’s and dementia.

How often do you need to eat fish to reap the benefits? Just once a week.

But there’s a catch to ordering the catch of the day: While any kind of fish is beneficial, the benefits tank when the fish is fried. Nix the fish sticks.

Cultures with more fish-heavy diets around the world, like the Japanese, have significantly fewer cases of Alzheimer’s disease. But it’s not just the fish intake, it’s the entire lifestyle. Alzheimer’s has been linked to obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes – which can all be controlled through diet and exercise.

Here’s one of my favorite fish recipes. You’ll be amazed at how delicious salmon is with a hint of vanilla!

Garam Masala-crusted salmon with mint-yogurt sauce

Ingredients: salmon fillets with skin on, 1 whole vanilla bean, extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), garam masala, Greek yogurt, mint, fresh greens, figs (optional).

  1. In a pan, heat EVOO with 1/2″ fresh vanilla bean, infusing the oil over medium heat.
  2. Coat a salmon filet in garam masala liberally, and place it in the pan, flesh-side down, with the oil and vanilla.
  3. Sear the salmon, then flip and finish cooking skin-side down.
  4. Pro-tip: You know the salmon is perfect when it begins oozing out white all over.
  5. Mix a tablespoon of Greek yogurt with fresh torn mint.
  6. Plate the salmon over fresh greens (with quartered figs if they’re in season), and top with a dollop of yogurt sauce.

Summer Superfood: Figs!

Grilled fig rosemary skewers

Figs are practically dropping off their trees by this time in summer – but don’t let the bounty overwhelm you. There are so many ways to use these melt-in-your-mouth fruits to sweeten summer salads, throw on the grill, make jam, or even add an exotic flavor to lemonade!

But first, let’s look at what these summertime superfoods can do for your health.

  • Figs are a rich source of fruit fiber, which not only helps with weight loss, but could also help reduce breast cancer risk.
  • Potassium-rich foods like figs help our bodies balance the salt we eat, helping to prevent or stop hypertension.
  • Figs are also a source of calcium , helping to prevent bone loss.
  • Black Mission figs have poly-phenolic flavonoid anti-oxidants, similar to red wine.
  • Figs contain B-complex vitamins like niacin and folates.
  • Dried figs are more dense with minerals including calcium, copper, potassium, manganese and zinc than fresh figs.

Now, what can you do with figs this summer? I like my figs sweet and simple. 

  • Try tossing fresh figs with olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar, then roasting them in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. Use to top a salad, or as an accompaniment to a cheese plate.
  • Fire up the grill and, using rosemary sprigs as skewers, grill your figs and let them infuse with rosemary flavor! This makes an outstanding dessert, especially when served with vanilla ice cream.
  • Blend fresh, ripe figs with lemon juice, sugar and water for a peach-colored lemonade that is as healthy as it is pretty.