The old saying goes…….”We are what we eat”. This means that to remain healthy and fit and active we must eat Healthy!
All of us could use a brain boost from time to time.u00c2u00a0 Whether we are in a job that requires us to use our minds for hours on end or we just want to remember important dates and appointments, most of us wish there were things we could do to improve mental function.u00c2u00a0 Fortunately, there are some foods out there that help to improve our overall mental functions.u00c2u00a0 Let’s take a quick look at some of these brain food.
But do they really work? There’s no denying that as we age chronologically, our body ages right along with us. The good news is that youu00c2u00a0canu00c2u00a0increase your chances of maintaining a healthy brain — if you add «smart» foods and beverages to your diet.
Need a Mental Boost – Try these Brain Foods
Chocolate, and specifically dark chocolate, has numerous health benefits if consumed in moderation.u00c2u00a0 The cacoa beans are enriched with flavanoids and antioxidants and 50 grams of dark chocolate can be as good for the heart as a glass of red wine.
In addition, chocolate is known to improve mental health.u00c2u00a0 Eating dark chocolate can release neurotransmitters to the brain and that can help with the production of endorphins and serotonin.
Acai berries come from South America and are a unique fruit that has protein and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.u00c2u00a0 Also, it is known that purple berries have high levels of vitamins and antioxidants.
One of the healthiest foods in the world to eat are blueberries.u00c2u00a0 Not only do they have more antioxidants than any other fruit, but they have been linked to improved coordination, vision, and cognitive function.
Matcha is among the rarest and purest teas in the world. The tea is grown in shady conditions and is rich in both nutrients and chlorophyll.
The tea also is said to have a calming effect due to high concentrations of the amino acid L-Theanine.u00c2u00a0 In addition, it has greater amounts of catechins, vitamins C and A, antioxidants, and even Flouride than normal tea.
By eating these and other brain foods, you are taking a positive step towards improved mental function.u00c2u00a0 As always, talk to your doctor about any change in diet plans, especially if you are on any medications.
From the above ingredients I have incorporated dark chocolate in some desserts, together with another favourite ingredient»: u00c2u00a0Petimezi or Epsima, as it is called in the Cypriot dialect, which is «grape molasses». u00c2u00a0Instead of Petimezi, you can also use Haroupomelo «carob molasses», which is even better, as in the old days it was used as a substitute to chocolate but unfortunately I did not have any at the time of preparing the recipes.
I made this recipe early this month based on a previous recipe I had made. u00c2u00a0I don’t like making the same recipe over and over again but I try to incorporate ingredients I have at home.
Soft Petimezi, Dark Chocolate Chips, Almonds and Orange Cookies,recipe by Ivyu00c2u00a0
Preparation time: about 45 minutes
Baking time: u00c2u00a010 minutes
Makes: u00c2u00a0about 40 depending on the size
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons fresh gratedu00c2u00a0ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
115 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/3 cup u00c2u00a0petimezi
1 large egg
1 tbsp orange zest
¾ cup roasted almonds skin on
1 cup dark chocolate chip cookies
1 – 2 tbsp flour (optional, if necessary)
Roast almonds for ten minutes and when they cool break them into small pieces using the food processor.
Line two large baking trays with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift u00c2u00a0together flour, spices, baking soda, and salt. Mix in orange zestu00c2u00a0and set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until smooth.u00c2u00a0 Add in petimezi and egg and beat for about 5 minutes on high.
Lower mixer speed and add the flour ingredients;. u00c2u00a0Mix just until the dough forms. u00c2u00a0u00c2u00a0It should be very sticky.
Refrigerate for half an hour.
Add the almonds and chocolate chips and mix.u00c2u00a0 (If the dough is still too sticky add 1 – 2 tbsp flour).
Form into 2 – 3 cords about 1 ½ inch diameter .u00c2u00a0 Wrap each one in cling film, place them on a tray and refrigerate for another half an hour.
Open the cling film and using a sharp knife cut them into small pieces and u00c2u00a0place them on your prepared baking tin.u00c2u00a0 When done, form each piece into a round ball, which slightly flatten. u00c2u00a0Leave 3 cm (about an inch) space between them as they will flatten and expand.
Place both tins in a preheated oven to 170 degrees fan forced and bake for aboutu00c2u00a0 10 minutes u00c2u00a0depending on your oven u00c2u00a0until firm and edges just begin to darken.u00c2u00a0 They will be soft on top but they will harden as they cool.u00c2u00a0 If you make bigger cookies, increase time upto 18 minutes, depending on size.
Cool completely and store in air tight containers.
This cake was made on the same day, using almost the same ingredients.
Chocolate Petimezi Ginger cake, recipe by Ivy
115 grams unsalted butter, softened, plus more to grease the pan
1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup petimezi
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
¼ cup orange or mandarin juice
2 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground mixed spices
Preheat oven to 170 degrees fan forced. Butter a loaf pan and dust with cocoa powder.u00c2u00a0 Tap out excess cocoa and set aside.
Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon on a piece of parchment paper.
Put butter, petimezi, brown sugar, and 1/4 juice in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until butter has melted. Transfer mixture to your mixer bowl and let it cool.
Add eggs, milk, and grated ginger to the mixer bowl and whisk on high to combine.u00c2u00a0 Lower speed to low and add the flour mixture until just combined.
Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake cake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 – 40 minutes, depending on your oven. Let cake cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
Don’t forget to leave a comment inu00c2u00a0au00c2u00a0previous postu00c2u00a0if you would like to enter for Two Giveaways. u00c2u00a0One is a copy of both volumes of My Cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste! u00c2u00a0and the other giveaway is a Software for My Memories Suite.