A soon-to-be-released cookbook offers the latest information on research-backed foods to prevent Alzheimer's and dementia, along with delectable recipes such as Kale, Blueberry, and Pomegranate Salad (below).
If there’s anything that gets baby boomers’ attention, it’s news about how to avoid Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Because numerous studies highlight the potential brain benefits of certain foods, I was excited to receive a preview copy of an upcoming book, The Alzheimer’s Prevention Cookbook: Recipes to Boost Brain Health (Ten Speed Press, 2012).
Grabby title, right? It’s due out next November, and it’s a cooperative effort by Marwan Sabbagh, MD, a geriatric neurologist and research director at the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium and Banner Sun Health Research Institute, with chef Beau MacMillan of the Sanctuary resort and Elements restaurant in Paradise Valley, Arizona. (I’ve had memorable meals at Elements; this guy knows his stuff.)
Dr. Sabbagh combines his knowledge of research-backed brain foods with Chef MacMillan’s delicious recipes featuring foods rich in B vitamins, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories like omega-3 fats. (Yes, the Mediterranean diet wins again.)
Ingredients and techniques are straightforward and doable: everyday fruits and vegetables like blueberries ad leafy greens, fish, cinnamon, turmeric, cloves and more, “captured in simple recipes that bring disease-prevention science right to your table.”
Healthy food that tastes great and helps protect your body’s most vital organ: That’s good news.
Ten Speed gave me permission to reprint the following recipe from the book (which includes lots of beautiful photography, too). Let me know what you think.
Kale, Blueberry, and Pomegranate Salad
Serves 4. This salad is rich in brain-boosting foods: kale is an excellent source of flavonoids and vitamin C, blueberries are high in antioxidants, and pomegranates provide a great source of resveratrol.
1 large bunch dark kale, stemmed and chopped
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Soy-Sesame Vinaigrette (makes about 1 3/4 cups)
2 tablespoons peeled, chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup peanut oil
1 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup mirin
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup natural cane sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
2 tablespoons water
1. Make the vinaigrette: Combine ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, sesame oil, and peanut oil in a blender and puree until creamy. Pour into a medium pan and cook, stirring, over low heat until aromatic, about 6 minutes. Add vinegar, mirin, soy sauce, and sugar. In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch or arrowroot and water; stir into pan. Bring to a gentle boil to thicken, stirring to dissolve sugar, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Cover and refrigerate up to 1 week.
2. Combine kale, blueberries, carrots, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and mint in a large bowl and toss well. Drizzle with vinaigrette to taste (start with 1/3 cup) and toss again. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve right away.
Recipe reprinted with permission (one-time use) from The Alzheimer’s Prevention Cookbook: Recipes to Boost Brain Health by Dr. Marwan Sabbagh and Beau MacMillan, copyright © 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group.
Photo credit: Caren Alpert