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A Nutritional Psychiatrist's Go-To Smoothie For Brain Health

Emma Loewe
Author:
June 07, 2023
Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director
By Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director
Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us."
smoothie
Image by Vera Lair / Stocksy
June 07, 2023
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While smoothie season never really ends, per se, it's about to kick into high gear. Warmer weather always brings blenders nationwide out of their winter hibernation, raring for new recipes.

Beyond being a quick and easy way to gobble up a lot of nutrients at once, smoothies can be packed with functional ingredients that put us in a good mood. Case in point: This berry mint mashup from nutritional psychiatrist Drew Ramsey, M.D.

Ramsey, the author of Eat To Beat Depression and Anxiety, is a foremost expert on foods that optimize mental health—and his go-to smoothie is packed with them.

Kefir, a fermented dairy product, gives the blend a hearty dose of beneficial Lactobacillus bacteria—a genus that contains strains being studied for their antidepressant effects1. "When you eat more fermented foods, there is more diversity in your microbiome," Ramsey tells mindbodygreen. This diversity has a positive effect on inflammation and brain health, thanks to the gut-brain connection.

Ramsey pairs tangy kefir with sweet blueberries. These little orbs are packed with phytonutrients that can also shift the microbiome in a positive direction2. You can sub them for other high-fiber berries like raspberries and blackberries if you'd like, and feel free to use frozen; they'll still pack the same nutritional punch and potentially save you some food waste. He'll also throw in bananas, which contain the potassium and magnesium that your noggin needs to function properly.

Then come the cashews. Ramsey likes to drop the protein-packed nut straight into his smoothies for a rich, buttery quality. They also add a subtle sweetness that won't lead to a spike in blood sugar (or a resulting dip in mood) and are a rich plant source of iron—another brain-healthy mineral.

He tops off his mood-supporting blend with a dash of vanilla and mint, which give it a refreshing flavor that's easy to sip down any time you could use a mental boost. "I'm on repeat with this smoothie," Ramsey says, "It's my go-to, easy blend." Here's how to make your own riff:

A Psychiatrist's Berry Mint Smoothie for Brain Health

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ¾ cup kefir
  • ½ to 1 banana
  • 2 tablespoons cashews (raw, unsalted)
  • A handful of mint
  • A dash of vanilla
  • Ice cubes

Method:

Add all ingredients to a blender, adding ice cubes until you reach your desired consistency.

The takeaway

Kefir, blueberries, banana, and cashews form the star ingredients of this nutritional psychiatrist's go-to brain-supporting smoothie. Learn more about the foods that Ramsey eats to fuel his body and mind here.

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