We are all familiar with the saying “you are what you eat”, meaning that your diet has a huge impact on how you feel. While that saying has been around since the 1800s, it’s only recently that we’ve realised just how big an impact diet has on our cognitive abilities as we age. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, a Mediterranean diet could be the key to reducing your risk of developing dementia.
The brain needs certain nutrients to work optimally, to ensure it can build and repair brain cells, reduce cellular stress and inflammation – all processes that are directly linked to brain aging. Mediterranean diets include a lot of fruits and vegetables, which have high levels of antioxidants, which may help protect against some of the damage to brain cells associated with Alzheimer’s as well as increasing the levels of proteins in the brain that protect against brain cell damage. There is also the belief that this diet can contribute to reducing inflammation. Lower levels of cholesterol, which have been linked to this diet, has in recent research shown to be associated with memory and thinking problems.
A Mediterranean-style diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes and cereals, and low in red meat and sugar. Instead of eating a lot of red meat, this diet opts for more oily fish. The diet also largely cuts out alcohol, sugar and saturated fats. The Mediterranean diet isn’t difficult to follow – it’s delicious and has a wide variety. To get you started, we’ve included a delicious recipe shared by Jane Bisset, the Founder and Head Chef at We Are Food.
Italian Braised Beans With Tomato & Rosemary
“This is an easy, ‘one-pot-wonder’ veggie meal, which is delicious, hearty and filling, while also being super easy and budget-friendly. True to our passion for healthy convenience, this is a freezer-friendly meal that you can make a full batch of and then freeze portions in 500ml tubs for a quick and nourishing meal in minutes.” – Jane Bisset
- ½ cup (100g) dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight
- 1 cup (200g) dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
- ½ cup (95g) dried black beans, soaked overnight
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped roughly
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 800g rosa tomatoes, chopped roughly
- 1-litre water
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 5 sprigs oregano
- sea salt and cracked black pepper
- 150g spinach, chopped
- finely grated parmesan and toasted bread, to serve
- Drain and rinse the beans and chickpeas after soaking overnight.
- Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over high heat then add the onion, garlic and celery and cook for 3–4 minutes while stirring slowly. Allow to caramelise but do not burn.
- Add the tomato, beans, chickpeas, water, rosemary, oregano, salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and reduce heat to low.
- Cook for 40–50 minutes or until beans are tender.
- Add the spinach and stir through until wilted.
- Check your seasoning and adjust, top with parmesan and serve with toasted bread.
Share your experience
If you try Jane Bisset’s Italian Braised Beans With Tomato & Rosemary recipe out at home, take some photos and share them with us. Please tag We Are Food and Livewell on social media so we don’t miss it!
Image from greenleaflivingaustralia