A recent study from New Zealand has found that blackcurrants may improve mental performance and boost mood. The study was small–with just 28 participants–but the results statistically significant. Comparing 2 types of blackcurrant juice and a matched placebo drink, the researchers saw improved attention and mood and decreased fatigue in the two blackcurrant groups but not in the placebo group.
To learn more about the study, you can read this in-depth article. In the meantime, we’ve put together a brain healthy pancake recipe featuring dried blackcurrants. It also includes walnuts, oatmeal, and eggs.
Walnuts have a significantly high concentration of DHA, a type of Omega-3 fatty acid. Among other things, DHA has been shown to protect brain health in newborns, improve cognitive performance in adults, and prevent or ameliorate age-related cognitive decline. Just a quarter cup of walnuts provides nearly 100% of the recommended daily intake of DHA.
Oats are rich in selenium, an antioxidant that has been shown to have protective effects in a variety of brain disorders and age-related cognitive problems. They also supply a sustained energy source to the brain, which may help people learn better. A study of school children showed that those who ate oatmeal before school performed significantly better on spatial memory and auditory learning tasks than those who ate a sugar cereal.
Eggs are rich in choline, a nutrient that has been associated with long-term memory development. Choline is also a key ingredient in the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh), which is necessary for healthy neurotransmission. Studies have shown that choline intake promotes recovery from learning memory disorders in the aging brain, and may even improve psychic function in those with senile dementia or Alzheimer’s. Egg yolks are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, yielding additional brain benefits at a relatively low caloric cost.
If you can’t find dried blackcurrants in your local market, you can try buying them online.
For more information on brain healthy foods and recipes, check out this great resource.
RECIPE FOR BRAIN HEALTH: Oatmeal Blackcurrant Pancakes
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups quick-cooking oats
- 1/2 cup dried blackcurrants
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped finely
- 2 teaspoons coconut sugar (can substitute brown sugar)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Butter, oil, or cooking spray
- Whisk eggs and milk together in a bowl.
- Add oatmeal, blackcurrants, walnuts, sugar, and vanilla and mix well.
- Heat a saute pan or griddle over medium high heat. Add butter, oil, or cooking spray. Pour or spoon batter into the pan and
- Serve immediately with syrup, jam, or yogurt.