The co-authors of Women of Baycrest’s new e-cookbook, MINDfull, send a strong message about maintaining brain health.
“Food can be a powerful force in the battle to save the memories and minds of women and their loved ones everywhere,” Carol Greenwood, senior scientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute and Canada’s leading professor of nutrition and brain health, Daphna Rabinovitch, a food writer and recipe developer, and Joanna Gryfe, a food and media expert, say in their introduction.
MINDfull was spearheaded, by Greenwood, Rabinovitch said in an interview, because she is heavily involved in research into the aging brain, and her specialty is how nutrition is linked to the prevention of cognitive decline.
The book targets women from age 40 and up, she said, “because the choices we make can determine our brain’s health and function much later in life.
“If we are what we eat, then we have to choose what we put on our plates carefully. Rather than thinking of it as limiting our diet, though, we have to think about how exciting food can be,” Rabinovitch said.
Eating for a healthy brain is similar to eating for a healthy heart, she said. “Eat complex carbohydrates, dark leafy vegetables, and bright green vegetables such as spinach and swiss chard. As well, eat fruits, low-fat dairy products and lean protein.”
The recipes promote the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet, and rely primarily on olive oil as a source of fat, and fish, chicken, dairy products and beans as a source of protein. Red meat is consumed, but monthly rather than weekly or daily, she said.
The e-cookbook is available as a $9.99 download from e-book retailers such as iTunes, Amazon and Kobo. Proceeds from the sale support Baycrest programs that promote excellence and innovations in aging and brain health.
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup chopped dried apple or mango
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup apple juice
a cardamom pod, cracked or 1 small cinnamon stick
1 398-ml can pinto or black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 tsp. salt
4 10-in. tortillas
1/4 cup salsa and/or grated cheese optional
In a saucepan, combine apricots, apples, cranberries, apple juice and cardamom; heat over low heat for five minutes. Add beans and bring to boil. Reduce heat, boil gently, uncovered and stirring often, for about 10 minutes or until liquid has almost evaporated. Discard cardamom, add salt.
In a skillet, warm each tortilla over medium heat for 2 minutes, turning once
Place 1/2 cup filling in centre of tortilla. Fold bottom edge over filling. Fold sides over. Roll up from bottom. Slice in half. Serve at room temperature. If desired add salsa and or grated cheese on top and bake for 5 minutes until cheese melts.
Calories 180; protein 6 g; carbs 36 g; fat, total, 2g; fat, saturated, 0.5 g; transfat 0; cholesterol 0; fibre 6 g; sodium 330 mg.
CARMALIZED ONION AND TOMATO PHYLLO TART
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 onions, thinly sliced
4 sheets phyllo pastry
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups shredded Asiago cheese
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1/4 tsp. pepper
Preheat oven to 375. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in large non-stick skillet, set over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often until golden and carmelized, 30 to 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut each sheet of phyllo in half crosswise. Place 1 half on tea towel, keeping the rest covered with a damp towel. Brush sheet with some melted butter; place another sheet on top, a little askew so they are not perfectly aligned. Brush top phyllo with 1 tbsp. mustard. Keeping phyllo slightly askew, repeat layers, alternating brushing with butter and mustard until all the phyllo has been used. Transfer to 14×14-1/2 in. French tart pan with removable bottom. Fold phyllo edges under to fit.
Place onions on prepared tart; sprinkle with cheese. Top with overlapping slices of tomatoes. Sprinkle with garlic, basil and pepper. Drizzle remaining tbsp. oil over top.
Bake in centre of preheated oven until phyllo is golden, 30 to 45 minutes.
Calories 240; protein 6 g; carbs 14 g; fat total 18 g; saturated fat 8 g; transfat 0; cholesterol 35 mg; fibre 2g; sodium 430 mg.