A close up of a plate of food with beans
November 13, 2023
A close up of a plate of food with beans

Brain Healthy Ingredients: Olive Oil, Tomatoes, Turmeric

Serves: 6

Tomatoes are the best source of lycopene available to the average Westerner (though gac, a fruit from southeast Asia, is even better). Lycopene is what makes tomatoes red—and it’s a particularly powerful antioxidant.

Several studies have found a correlation between low levels of lycopene and cognitive impairment and dementia, though whether those low levels cause or result from that impairment is unclear. Studies have also suggested that lycopene can ameliorate diabetes-associated cognitive decline and may play a role in protecting against Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease. We look forward to seeing further research in human populations to sharpen the picture of the role of lycopene in brain health!

You can experiment with different flavors by substituting lime juice for lemon and cilantro for the parsley. Top it off with some crushed, unsalted peanuts for a Thai-inspired twist!


  • 1 cup wheat berries
  • 5 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsps fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsps curry powder
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 spring onion, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place the wheat berries in a large saucepan and add 3 ½ cups water. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes to one hour. Drain and rinse with cool water. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, make the dressing. In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, curry powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  3. In a serving bowl, toss together wheat berries, tomatoes, onion, and parsley.
  4. Pour dressing over salad, toss to coat, and serve immediately.