For A Brain-Healthy Dessert, Try This Nutritional Psychiatrist's Elevated Berries & Cream

mbg Associate Editor By Jamie Schneider
mbg Associate Editor
Jamie Schneider is the Associate Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and health. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
Strawberry pavlova and whipped cream
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If you're in the mood for a delicious treat that takes minutes to put together (aren't we all?), look no further than board-certified psychiatrist, professional chef, and author of This Is Your Brain on Food Uma Naidoo, M.D.'s elevated take on the traditional berries and cream. As she explains on the mindbodygreen podcast, a few simple tweaks can make any dessert loads healthier (and tastier, it turns out).  

In typical Naidoo fashion, she includes some extra ingredients in her antioxidant-rich recipe—namely, coconut and cacao—to punch up the flavor and add in even more brain-healthy benefits. 

How to make Naidoo's brain-healthy berries and cream. 

Those familiar with Naidoo's list of brain-healthy superstars likely know she's got a thing for cacao: "Cacao nibs, for their crunch and benefits, are one of my favorite desserts," she notes. In addition to dark chocolate's high-antioxidant content (it's chock-full of polyphenols), organic, raw dark chocolate is actually fermented, which means it can support gut health—and the gut-brain connection, while you're at it. Coconut provides healthy saturated fats, which is not only good for supporting brain cell function but also keeps you fuller for longer—despite its simplicity, this dessert fully satisfies. 

Sprinkle them both on antioxidant-rich strawberries (their compound, fisetin, has been shown to stimulate the brain-signaling pathways that enhance long-term memory), and you've got a dessert that packs quite the punch.

Behold, Naidoo's berries and coconut cream: 

  • Handful of fresh strawberries (however many you're feeling in the moment, really)
  • 1 spoonful coconut whipped cream (you can either purchase one at your local grocery store or whip up some coconut cream on your own).
  • Sprinkle of cacao nibs
  • Sprinkle of unsweetened coconut flakes

The construction, she says, is simple: Just coat a plump, fresh strawberry with a dollop of the coconut whip, then sprinkle the cacao nibs and coconut flakes on top. Deliciously simple, but the brain health benefits soar. Plus, it gives you a perfect ratio of sweet, juicy, and satisfying crunch. 


The takeaway. 

Naidoo's favorite treat isn't complicated or technical—you might even have all the ingredients in your kitchen already. So go ahead and make a whole bowl of these brain-healthy berries: "You have fresh fruit's antioxidants, and it's creamy and sweet," she says. Best part? It takes less than five minutes to cobble together.

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