How to Blend Neuroscience, Nutrition and Food

By Orsha Magyar

The founding of NeuroTrition came from integrating these three areas, all of which are close to my heart as a neuroscientist, nutritional consultant, and big-time foodie! I was unwilling to let any of these passions go when I founded NeuroTrition 11 years ago. Because the evidence is clear. We know the food we eat affects our brain and mental health. That has implications for everything from our daily moods and men-tal well-being to our performance at work, and how our minds develop and then age (and develop while we age!). So, even though in retrospect it seems obvious that neu-roscience, nutrition and food belonged together, I think it took my rare group of pas-sions to make it clear.

NeuroTrition is fueled by passion and believes that food can be powerful – both to help and to harm. This represents a major paradigm shift in allopathic medicine – one that is forcing it to finally go ‘beyond the Band-Aid.’ We are also driven by, and deeply committed to, being backed by science. Our mission is, and has been from Day 1, to spark and spread a Brain Food Revolution that brings an integrative, inclusive ap-proach to brain and mental health. We want to help everyone make the connection be-tween eating nourishing food for your brain and thinking, feeling, and performing better. So, we created a new paradigm – we call it The NeuroTrition Rx.

The NeuroTrition Rx is our prescription for better brain and mental health and is the result of our 3-step process that starts with brain science research and ends with the food on your plate. First, we draw from our expertise in nutritional neuroscience, and the research on how to nutritionally support optimal brain and mental health. Then we seamlessly pair this knowledge with evidence-based nutrition principles to create our nutritional toolkits. Finally, we create recipes and menus that realize this unique ap-proach in the form of delicious meals, snacks and beverages. Our NeuroTrition Rx brings neuroscience and nutrition to the table. Together. In the name of better brain and mental health for everyone. And my team of neuroscientists, nutritionists and chefs at NeuroTrition use it to create our tailored, personalized consulting services for adults and children, and to deliver the most delicious Science Communication (aka. Sci Comm) you will ever taste.

When we were asked to contribute recipes to The Gut-Immune Connection, it was literally a no-brainer! We jumped at the opportunity to create dishes that would not only tantalize your tastebuds but also provide a hefty side of Sci Comm to teach you about the best evidence-based foods for your brain, gut and immune system.

You will see that the recipes found in The Gut-Immune Connection are all high in fiber, healthy fats (most notably the omega-3 and monounsaturated ones), and polyphenols (antioxidant plant compounds that are anti-inflammatory). Now, rather than keep talking about the NeuroTrition Rx, I want to give you a little taste of it by sharing one of our reci-pes, our Chia & Hemp Seed Parfait with Caramelized Bananas. This is a sneak peek recipe just for you and is not in the Gut-Immune Connection (but gives you a little flavor of our recipe-style). Our parfait boasts brain- and gut-loving hemp and chia seeds, as well as anti-inflammatory (and therefore immune health promoting) plant-based milk and yogurt. We also love prebiotic (special fibers that are the favorite food of your gut microbes) filled bananas for their budget-friendly price point. But they are quite sweet, so we add Ceylon (or “true”) cinnamon to keep your blood sugar nice and balanced. A dash of sea salt, pure vanilla and pure maple syrup for nervous system supporting mi-cro-minerals, and you’ve got one incredible parfait that is sure to become a favorite. I hope you enjoy it, and that it nourishes your belly and your brain.

CHIA & HEMP SEED PARFAIT WITH CARAMELIZED BANANAS
Developed by NeuroTrition Inc.
with Neuro-Chef Darian Pestell, CHN

Yield: 4-6
Prep: 15 minutes
Cooking: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

INGREDIENTS
2 cups plant-based milk*
½ cup chia seeds
½ cup hemp seeds
¼ tsp sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 bananas, sliced ~1cm thick
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp coconut oil
Pinch of Ceylon cinnamon
200ml Coconut yogurt

METHOD

  1. In a large glass bowl, combine milk, chia seeds, hemp seeds, mineral salt, vanilla extract and 1 Tbsp maple syrup. Stir well and allow chia seeds to thicken (about 30 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, melt the coconut oil over low-medium heat in a medium sized frying pan.
  3. Place banana slices in the frying pan and allow them to fry for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add remaining 1 Tbsp maple syrup to pan, then sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon over bananas. Wait 1 minute then flip the banana slices. Allow bananas to cook in the maple syrup for approximately 3-5 minutes, stirring every minute to prevent burning.
  5. Once bananas are lightly browned, set aside to cool.
  6. Once the chia & hemp seeds have thickened (from step 1), portion evenly into 4 bowls (or 4 mason jars if you plan on enjoying later**). Evenly distribute the coconut yogurt and caramelized bananas throughout the 4 bowls then serve.

NOTES
*I prefer using unsweetened oat milk the most these days; however, I also enjoy coco-nut milk or a coconut-almond milk blend.
**This recipe will keep for 4 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

Bananas can be prepped ahead of time and stored in fridge until ready to use.


Orsha Magyar is a neuroscientist certified in holistic nutrition who believes in going beyond the Band-Aid for brain and mental health. As Founder and CEO of NeuroTrition Inc., she and her team of neuroscientists, nutritionists and chefs bring neuroscience and nutrition to the table.


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