Notes on Nutrition: Boost brain health through diet


June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. During this time there are many things you can do as an individual and in your community to promote brain health and increase awareness of Alzheimer’s research including prevention and treatment. Your Hy-Vee registered dietitian and the Alzheimer’s Association want you to know what you can do and what you need to know about nutritional strategies around brain health.

Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms eventually grow severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. Dementia is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia. Nationwide, nearly 7 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease. In Iowa there are 62,000 people living with the disease. On top of that, there are 11 million people in the United States caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.

With so much at stake and so many lives affected, it makes sense to do everything we can to boost brain health. Studies have shown that early identification of those with poor diet quality and interventions such as the MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) eating pattern can decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

The MIND style of eating employs elements of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets and is rich in nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and other antioxidants. The eating pattern is high in plant-based nutrients and includes the recommendation to have at least one portion of fish each week. Fish can be an important source of brain-health-promoting omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids perform many other essential functions in the body including supporting a healthy heart. They also work to lower cholesterol, specifically triglyceride levels. You can register for the Hy-Vee Healthy You Omega-3 Index Screening Tour thanks to our generous sponsors at Nordic Naturals and GOED. Contact your local Hy-Vee registered dietitian for more information or schedule your appointment today by registering here.

You also can get involved with the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s in your community by starting a team, fundraising and getting your company involved. Every dollar raised benefits those affected by Alzheimer’s disease in your community by providing local care and support programs and advancing toward treatment, prevention and, ultimately, a cure. Learn more at Alzheimer’s Association Walk.

Julie Gallagher is a registered dietitian at Hy-Vee.

Mediterranean-Crusted Halibut. (Hy-Vee)

Mediterranean-Crusted Halibut. (Hy-Vee)


Mediterranean-Crusted Halibut

Serves 4


2 small zucchini and/or summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch slices

4 ounces asparagus spears, cut into 2-inch lengths

1/4 cup olive oil, divided

salt, to taste

ground black pepper, to taste

2 teaspoons fresh parsley and/or basil, plus additional for garnish

4 (5-to-6-ounces each) fresh or frozen skinless halibut fillets

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/4 cup crumbled Mediterranean herb feta cheese

Lemon wedges, for serving


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Add zucchini and/or summer squash and asparagus to pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with herbs.

Rinse fish; pat dry. Place in pan with vegetables. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Combine breadcrumbs, cheese and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Sprinkle mixture on fish; press lightly into fish.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until fish easily flakes with a fork (140 degrees). If desired, sprinkle with additional herbs. Serve with lemon wedges.

Source: Mediterranean-Crusted Halibut | Hy-Vee


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