• Roxie Daggett

Blackberry Peach Brain Power Smoothie with Ginger & Walnuts {Dairy Free Option}

Updated: May 5

Inspired by a summer fruit favorite-- blackberry peach crisp-- this naturally sugar-free smoothie is loaded with memory boosting berries, nuts and spices. It only takes a few minutes to throw together and will fuel your brain cells for hours!



Brain Boosting Ingredients

This tasty breakfast smoothie is rich in several foods and spices that have been shown to improve memory and brain function. Not only that, but it's easy on your blood sugar (ahem... energy, mood, hormones) with plenty of protein and healthy fats that help slow the absorption of carbs so you can get all the benefits of these superfoods:


  • Berries: contain flavonoids (a colorful pigment) that have been shown to improve memory

  • Walnuts: linked to improved cognitive performance and full of brain-loving healthy fats

  • Ginger: shown to offer brain cell protection and memory enhancement along with improved circulation, digestion and reduced inflammation

  • Cinnamon: studies show it may delay or reverse cognitive impairment and improve motor function

  • Celery & Parsley: both contain a flavonoid called apeginin, shown to improve brain cell formation; also rich in the flavonoid luteolin which acts as a natural antihistamine


Why Two Protein Sources?

You'll notice that I like to add both collagen and a protein powder (whey or pea protein) to my smoothies. Whey (derived from cow's or goat's milk) and pea protein (derived from peas) contain all 9 essential amino acids (proteins) which are necessary for neurotransmitter formation (in addition to maintaining strong muscles and good immunity) which equals happy brain cells, better moods and clearer thinking!


Collagen is high in some non-essential amino acids including glycine and proline which contribute to healthy joints, skin, hair and nails. We make less collagen as we age so getting more from broths, beef, chicken, fish, eggs, beans and dairy products can be helpful. Supplemental collagen (derived from bovine hide) is another great option. Additionally, studies are showing potential functions of collagen on brain repair as well as possible neuroprotection from diseases like Alzheimer's.


Let's dig in!


Blackberry Peach Brain Power Smoothie with Ginger & Walnuts {Dairy Free Option}


Prep: 5-10 minutes Blend: 1 minute Total: 11-16 minutes Serves: 1


Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup frozen blackberries

  • 1/4 cup frozen peaches + 1-2 chopped peach slices set aside

  • 1/4 cup walnuts + 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts set aside

  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger chunk, peeled

  • 1/4 tsp. of ground cinnamon

  • 1 celery stalk

  • 4-6 sprigs of fresh parsley, Italian or curly

  • 1 cup of coconut milk, almond milk, oat milk or plain yogurt (if you tolerate dairy); you can also do a combo of any of these-- I like half yogurt and half coconut milk!

  • pinch of sea salt

  • 1 scoop of collagen; I like Vital Proteins or Great Lakes

  • 1 scoop of protein powder; I like BioChem Whey (dairy option) or Jarrow Pea Protein (dairy free option)


Optional Extras:

  • 1-2 teaspoons of raw honey or 1/2 banana (frozen is best) if you prefer a sweeter flavor

  • 1/4 cup cooked and cooled oatmeal (for extra fiber and carb cycling-- if working out, depleted or extra hungry)

  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds stirred in after blending


Instructions:

  1. Throw all ingredients, except chopped walnuts, peaches and chias (if using) in a blender. Blend until creamy. Adjust flavors as desired. Add more coconut milk, almond milk, or oat milk (or regular milk or water) if you want it thinner and more frozen fruit if you like it creamier.

  2. Stir in chias (if using). Top with chopped walnuts and peaches. Enjoy!


References:

  1. D'Or Institute for Research and Education. (2015). Plant compound found in spices, herbs increases brain connections: Flavonoid apigenin has potential to treat diseases like schizophrenia, depression, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151210144912.htm

  2. Gladstone Institutes. (2008, December 10). Collagen May Help Protect Brain Against Alzheimer's Disease.ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 1, 2020 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081210150713.htm

  3. Merzenich, M. (2019). 5 Proven Brain Benefits of Cinnamon. Retrieved from https://www.brainhq.com/blog/5-proven-brain-benefits-of-cinnamon

  4. Poulose, S.M., Miller, M.G., Shukitt-Hale, B., Role of Walnuts in Maintaining Brain Health with Age, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 144, Issue 4, April 2014, Pages 561S -566S, https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.113.184838

  5. Saenghong, N., Wattanathorn, J., Muchimapura, S., Tongun, T., Piyavhatkul, N., Banchonglikitkul, C., & Kajsongkram, T. (2012). Zingiber officinale Improves Cognitive Function of the Middle-Aged Healthy Women. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: eCAM, 2012, 383062. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/383062

  6. Subash, S., Essa, M. M., Al-Adawi, S., Memon, M. A., Manivasagam, T., & Akbar, M. (2014). Neuroprotective effects of berry fruits on neurodegenerative diseases. Neural Regeneration Research, 9(16), 1557–1566. https://doi.org/10.4103/1673-5374.139483

  7. Ucar, B., & Humpel, C. (2018). Collagen for brain repair: therapeutic perspectives.Neural regeneration research,13(4), 595–598. https://doi.org/10.4103/1673-5374.230273


About the Author

Roxie Daggett is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) with a virtual practice in Sedona, Arizona. Her passions include studying nutritional research pertaining to memory, brain health, genes and longevity. When she is not geeking out on nutrition she enjoys messing around in the kitchen with old world recipes, reading and hearing stories from elders and farmers about traditional food sourcing, and wandering around the Red Rocks with her heroic husband and Staffordshire bull terrier.

Learn more on her About page and stay in touch by grabbing your FREE BRAIN HEALTH

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