Smoothies for brain health from a psychiatrist-nutritionist
Ramsey, author Eat to beat depression and anxiety, is a leading expert on foods that optimize mental health, and his favorite smoothie is loaded with them.
Kefir, a fermented milk product, gives the mixture a hearty dose of benefits Lactobacilli bacteria is a genus that contains strains studied for their antidepressant effect1. “When you eat more fermented foods, you get more diversity in your microbiome,” Ramsey tells mindbodygreen. This diversity has positive effects on inflammation and brain health thanks to the connection between the gut and the brain.
Ramsey combines tangy kefir with sweet blueberries. These little balls are packed with phytonutrients that can also shift the microbiome in a positive direction2. You can replace them with other high-fiber berries like raspberries and blackberries if you like, and feel free to use frozen; they will still have the same nutritional value and potentially save on your food waste. It will also add bananas, which contain potassium and magnesium, which your leg needs to function properly.
Then come the cashews. Ramsey likes to add the protein-packed nut right into her smoothies for a rich, buttery flavor. They also add a subtle sweetness that won’t send your blood sugar spiking (or mood swings as a result), and they’re a rich plant-based source of iron, another brain-healthy mineral.
It complements its uplifting blend with hints of vanilla and mint, giving it a refreshing taste that’s easy to sip anytime you need a boost. “I repeat this smoothie,” Ramsey says, “it’s my favorite easy blend.” Here’s how to create your own reef: