Elevate Your Mind with Nutritional Superpower

Elevate Your Mind with Nutritional Superpower

Elevate Your Mind with Nutritional Superpower 

by Valerie Spohr, CNP, nutrinimble 

Did you know that to foster a healthy mind, we need to nourish our brain with the right kind of foods? Recent research has unveiled a crucial link between the gut-brain axis and overall brain health, underscoring the vital role of a balanced, nutrient-rich diet. The gut-brain axis acts as a two-way communication pathway between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain. This complex connection allows the gut to send signals to the brain, affecting consciousness and emotional reactions. These signals are essential in regulating mood, cognitive function, and even influencing our response to stress. 

What's truly remarkable is the relationship between the foods we choose to consume, our gut microbiome and the signals of the gut-brain axis. A diet abundant in a diverse array of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, quality proteins, and probiotic-rich foods nurtures a resilient gut microbiome, creating an environment conducive to the optimal functioning of the gut-brain axis. Conversely, a diet saturated with processed foods, sugars, and unhealthy fats can disrupt this delicate balance, potentially leading to miscommunication along the connection between our gut and brain. 

In addition to maintaining a balanced diet and nurturing our gut microbiome, we can also go a step further and supercharge our brain with specific brain-boosting foods: 

Lion's Mane Mushroom: Renowned for its potential to stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF) production, lion's mane mushroom is believed to support cognitive function and promote brain cell regeneration. 

Rosemary: This aromatic herb contains compounds that may enhance cognitive performance and memory. Inhaling rosemary's aroma has even been linked to heightened alertness. 

Nuts: Abundant in healthy fats, antioxidants, and essential nutrients, nuts like walnuts, almonds, and cashews bolster brain health by mitigating oxidative stress and inflammation. 

Dark Chocolate: Rich in flavonoids and antioxidants, dark chocolate boosts blood flow to the brain, resulting in enhanced cognitive function and mood. 

Kale: A nutritional powerhouse, kale contributes to brain health by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, factors associated with cognitive decline. 

Turmeric: Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, wields potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that safeguard the brain against age-related decline. To make it more powerful, always combine turmeric with black pepper. 

Avocado: Laden with healthy fats, avocados furnish the brain with essential nutrients that amplify cognitive function and memory. 

Blueberries: These berries brim with anthocyanin antioxidants, known to enhance memory and cognitive function.

Gotu Kola: A herb believed to enhance cognitive function and alleviate anxiety. 

In essence, our dietary choices not only supply our bodies with essential nutrients but also form the cornerstone of a robust and harmonious microbiome. This, in turn, directly impacts our cognitive well-being and emotional balance. Therefore, making mindful dietary choices 

becomes an imperative step in nurturing this intricate connection and advancing overall brain health. 


Mayer, E. A., Knight, R., Mazmanian, S. K., Cryan, J. F., & Tillisch, K. (2014). Gut microbes and the brain: paradigm shift in neuroscience. Journal of Neuroscience, 34(46), 15490-15496. 

Gómez-Pinilla, F. (2008). Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 9(7), 568-578. 

Mori, K., Inatomi, S., Ouchi, K., Azumi, Y., & Tuchida, T. (2009). Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytotherapy Research, 23(3), 367-372. 

Moss, M., Cook, J., Wesnes, K., & Duckett, P. (2003). Aromas of rosemary and lavender essential oils differentially affect cognition and mood in healthy adults. International Journal of Neuroscience, 113(1), 15-38. 

O'Brien, J., Okereke, O., Devore, E., Rosner, B., Breteler, M., & Grodstein, F. (2014). Long-term intake of nuts in relation to cognitive function in older women. The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, 18(5), 496-502. 

Recipe for Brain-Boosting Hot Chocolate 


2 cups almond milk (or any plant-based milk of your choice) 

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary 

1 tablespoon Lion's Mane mushroom powder 

2 tablespoons raw cocoa powder 

1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips (vegan) 

2 tablespoons maple syrup (adjust to taste) 

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

A pinch of salt


  1. In a saucepan, combine 2 cups of plant-based milk with the fresh rosemary sprigs. 
  2. Heat the mixture over low to medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it's warm but not boiling. This should take about 10-15 minutes to infuse the flavors. 
  3. Remove the rosemary sprigs. 
  4. Add in the raw cocoa powder and lion's mane powder over medium-low heat. Whisk continuously until the cocoa powder is fully dissolved. 
  5. Add 1 tablespoon of dark chocolate chips and continue to stir until they melt into the hot chocolate. 
  6. Stir in 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, adjusting to your preferred level of sweetness. 
  7. Add the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Continue to heat and stir until the hot chocolate is warmed through. Be careful not to let it boil. 
  8. Pour the rosemary and Lion's Mane-infused hot chocolate into your favorite mugs. If desired, top with a dollop of vegan whipped cream and garnish with a fresh rosemary sprig. Enjoy!
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