Boost Your Brain Health

These quesadillas are packed with brain booster foods and are delicious, too!

These quesadillas are packed with brain booster foods and are delicious, too!

Did you know what you eat and drink can keep your brain healthy? Here’s a list of brain booster foods to help keep you sharp and reduce your long term risk of dementia.

Fabulous Fats

  • Include fish at least twice a week, especially fatty fish like salmon, herring, and sardines.
  • Use oils like extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, and peanut oil instead of butter, margarine, or shortening.
  • Snack on nuts like almonds, walnuts, and peanuts and seeds like sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
  • Add avocados to your salads and smoothies.

Powerhouse Produce

  • Vegetables and fruits are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Berries like blueberries and blackberries and leafy greens like spinach and kale are especially good for boosting memory.
  • Vegetarian meals can be delicious; consider replacing red meat with plant-based protein like beans or tofu at least once a week. Get recipe inspirations from

Spices not Salt

  • Remove the salt shaker from the table and rev up your recipes with spices and herbs, especially turmeric, curry powder, black pepper, cinnamon, oregano, basil, rosemary, parsley, and ginger.

Beverage Bounty

  • Sip on coffee, black tea, and green tea without lots of added sugar.
  • If you drink alcohol, red wine may be the best choice for your brain. But be sure to limit your intake to no more than 1 drink a day for women and 2 drinks a day for men.

Kale, Avocado, and Radish Quesadillas

These quesadillas are packed with brain booster foods and are delicious, too!. If you’ve never used kale or radishes in this way, keep an open mind and be adventurous!

Serves 4

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 bunch cilantro, stems removed, leaves chopped (if you dislike cilantro, use Italian parsley)
  • 1 bunch small-medium radishes, thinly cut like matchsticks
  • 6 ounces grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 large lime
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Mexican spice blend: 1 teaspoon each chili powder, dried oregano leaves, dried cumin and ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Salsa of your choice, optional

  1. Wash and dry the kale, cilantro, and radishes.
  2. Strip the kale leaves from the stems and discard the stems. Chop the kale leaves.
  3. Place the cut radishes in a bowl of cold water.
  4. Grate the rind from the lime and reserve. Cut the lime in half. Toss the diced avocado with the juice of 1/2 lime and season with salt and pepper.
  5. In a small bowl combine the sour cream with the juice of the remaining lime half; season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. In a large non-stick pan, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil on medium until hot. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the chopped kale, 2 teaspoons of the Mexican spice blend, and ¼ cup water. Cook uncovered for 2 to 4 minutes until the water is absorbed and the kale is tender and wilted (stir often). Add the grated lime zest and stir well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl and wipe out the pan.
  7. Lay 4 tortillas on a clean work surface. Divide the cheese and cooked kale between the 4 tortillas; top with the remaining 4 tortillas. In the same pan used to cook the kale, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add 2 quesadillas and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until the tortillas are crispy and the cheese has melted. Plate each quesadilla and set aside. Heat another teaspoon of olive oil in the pan and repeat with the remaining 2 quesadillas. Plate them.
  8. In the same pan used to cook the quesadillas, add the 4 eggs and cook each until they reach your desired degree of doneness. You can cook them sunny side up or flip them, whichever you prefer. (I like to cover the pan briefly as it seems to cook the eggs a little faster). While the eggs are cooking, drain the radishes and blot dry.
  9. Top each quesadilla with a cooked egg; season lightly with salt and pepper. Top with the avocado, radishes sticks, sour cream mixture and additional sprinkling of the spice blend. You can also serve with your favorite salsa if you prefer.

Sharon Lehrman, MPH, RD, LD, is a registered dietitian with a private practice and corporate wellness business in Minneapolis, Minnesota. You can read health-related articles, subscribe to her free monthly nutrition newsletter, or contact her at

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