Lately I’ve been reading a lot more about healthy living for brain health. I’m definitely interested on a personal level, but also, I find the mind-diet connection fascinating! What we know about the potential role that healthy eating plays in optimal brain function as you age is, well, mind-blowing!
So is there one food that is the best for brain health?
Research shows that a high quality diet, rich in foods such as vegetables, nuts, pulses, is more important than any one food, but some foods might be better than others for your brain.
Eating lots of vegetables seems especially important for slowing cognitive decline as you age.
So, clearly it’s smart to find ways to enjoy more veggies of all kinds. Some research takes it a step further and suggests that certain veggies might be better than others. For example, higher intake of leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables (e.g. cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli) has been associated with slower cognitive decline in women.
More cauliflower? Count me in!
Cauliflower? Yep, love it! Cauliflower is a super star white vegetable that sometimes takes a back seat to vibrantly coloured vegetables like sweet potatoes and kale; however, it’s packed with good-for-you nutrients, such as vitamin C, B-vitamins and potassium and natural sulfuric compounds that are health protecting.
Put a plate of roasted cauliflower in front of me and I will eat the whole thing. Add it into this lemony, garlicky soup and I’m in foodie heaven. Roasting intensifies the cauliflower’s flavour, there’s a little heat from chili flakes, plus a slight zing from the lemon.
I love it so much that I wanted to share it with you. I know you’ll love it to. But, it’s so good that I ate it all. So instead, I’ll share the recipe. Enjoy!
Lemony Roasted Cauliflower Soup
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
8 cups cauliflower, trimmed and broken into pieces (about one medium head)
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
1 tsp (5mL) freshly ground pepper (or to taste)
½ tsp (2mL) sea salt (or to taste)
1 small lemon, cut into 6 wedges and seeds removed
4 cups (1.25 L) no salt added chicken broth
Pinch hot pepper flakes
For Garnish (optional):
Shredded old cheddar, smoked cheddar or pureed kimchi
1. Preheat oven to 400F. In a large bowl, toss cauliflower and garlic with olive oil, pepper and salt. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Scatter lemon wedges around the cauliflower.
2. Roast until cauliflower is starting to turn golden brown and garlic is slightly softened about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove lemon wedges and discard.
3. Transfer roasted cauliflower and garlic to a large saucepan. Add chicken broth and hot pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Place a lid on the pan, reduce heat and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 15 minutes.
4. Using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth, or working in small batches, puree soup in a blender. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
5. Ladle into soup bowls, garnish with cheese or pureed kimchi (if using).
Per serving (about 1 1/3 cup/325 mL): 155 calories, 9 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 423 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrates, 4 g fibre, 5 g sugars, 9 g protein. Excellent source of folate and vitamin C. Good source of niacin.
*without optional garnish
Download a PDF of this recipe to print.
Fernando Gomez-Pinilla. Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nat Rev Neworsci. 2008 Jul; 9 (7): 588-578.
Kang JH et al. Fruit and vegetable consumption and cognitive decline in aging women. Ann Neurol. 2005 May; 57 (5): 713-20.
Loef M, Walach H. Fruit, vegetables and prevention of cognitive decline or dementia: a systematic review of cohort studies. J Nutr Health Aging. 2012 Jul;16(7):626-30. Review. PubMed PMID: 22836704.