It’s that time of year again! With the school year starting back up, life can start to feel really busy and perhaps a bit stressful. Parents and students alike experience feelings of increased stress around this time each year. Fortunately, there are easy ways to offset and avoid the back-to-school blues and stress. Exercising daily, taking time to relax, or talking with a friend or counselor are tried-and-true ways to keep calm and centered. However, there’s another technique for combating stress and fatigue that is extremely under-utilized but just as (if not more) effective -our food.
Most people don’t realize the direct effect that food has on our brains. Research is now indicating that what we eat not only affects our physical health, but also our cognitive, emotional, and psychological health – and to a large degree. If you have ever felt tired, sluggish, and unfocused after a big meal, you know exactly what I’m talking about. By choosing the right foods at the right times, you can:
- Improve your mood
- Increase energy levels
- Boost your ability to concentrate
- Experience more mental clarity
- Improve long- and short-term memory
- Prevent cognitive decline
- Calm your nervous system
- Improve your quality of sleep
This is super exciting news, because unlike many other health-boosting interventions and techniques, eating food is already part of your daily routine. No expensive procedures, products, or equipment necessary – just simple, wholesome foods.
The following foods are especially helpful for lowering stress levels, improving memory and ability to concentrate, and increasing energy – all aspects for healthy and happy parents and students!
- Almonds (Raw)
- Brazil Nuts
- Brussel Sprouts
- Chamomile Tea
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Chia Seeds
- Chile Peppers
- Coconut Milk
- Coconut Oil
- Dark Chocolate (At least 65-70% cacao)
- Dark Leafy Greens
- Eggs (Organic & Soy-Free)
- E3 Live
- Flax Seeds (Freshly Ground)
- Grass-Fed Organic Beef
- Green Tea (Unsweetened)
- Hemp Seeds
- Lemons & Limes
- Mint Tea
- Olives & Olive Oil (Extra Virgin)
- Pine Nuts
- Potatoes (Small; Red- or blue-skinned)
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Red Beans
- Shrimp (Wild)
- Sweet Potatoes
- Tuna (Wild)
- Wild Alaskan Salmon
Try this quick & easy recipe for dinner to experience increased energy and brain power the next day!
Wild Alaskan Salmon & Julienne Vegetables en Papillote
This is one of my go-to weeknight meals. From start to finish, it only takes about 25 minutes, and you can easily cut down on time by prepping beforehand – the fish and veggies can be packed into the parchment and stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
The wild Alaskan salmon provides a hefty dose of omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial for overall mental and physical health. Omega-3 consumption has been linked to decreased depression, inflammation, joint pain, cholesterol levels, asthma symptoms, and ADHD symptoms. It also protects your memory and cognitive functions in both the short- and long-term. Diets high in omega-3 have been found to decrease the risk for Alzheimer’s, dementia, and general age-related cognitive decline.
The fresh vegetables and herbs in this dish are bursting with vitamins and minerals to keep your brain sharp and energy levels elevated.The combination of protein from the fish and fiber from the veggies will keep you feeling full and satiated until your next meal.
This dish is super versatile, so feel free to mix and match any veggies or herbs that you may have on hand.
- 3 wild Alaskan salmon fillets
- 1 small bunch asparagus
- 1 small zucchini or summer squash
- 2 carrots
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- Fresh herbs (rosemary, tarragon, or dill)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Pink Himalayan salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the oven to 400°F.
- Cut 3 pieces of parchment paper in the shape of a heart, about 20 inches across at the widest part of the heart. Brush liberally with olive oil.
- Place one piece of salmon on half of the heart and brush the top of the fillet with more olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and place two slices of lemon on each fillet.
- Cut the carrots and squash vertically into 1 inch-wide strips
- Divide the carrots, squash, and asparagus evenly among the 3 parchment hearts, scattering them on top of the salmon. Place two herb sprigs on each fillet. Season with salt and pepper.
- To seal each parcel, fold the heart in half and then fold and crease the edges to enclose the salmon and vegetables. Continue folding the paper down over itself until the parcel is completely enclosed.
- Place the parchment parcels on a baking sheet, seam side down, and put in the oven; bake until well puffed, about 15 minutes.
- To serve, place one parchment parcel on each plate and snip the center open with scissors.
- Enjoy with a glass of red wine for improved omega-3 consumption – the plant compounds found in red wine known as polyphenols not only promote increased circulation for improved heart health, but also help your body absorb more of the omega-3s from the fish!