Category: Memory

Brain-Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dish

What are you thankful for? Last year, a poll conducted by Harris Interactive reported five in six Americans say they are thankful for the health of their families.

This Thanksgiving, we challenge you to feed your family a healthful side dish your loved ones will enjoy. Not only is this recipe just 140 calories per serving, it’s enhanced with DHA omega-3 to support your family’s brain health.

Zucchini Torte is a recipe created by Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D. and author of Eat Your Way to Happiness.


  • 1 slice whole wheat bread, dried
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup egg substitute (equivalent of two eggs)
  • ½ cup Horizon Organic Fat-Free Milk plus DHA Omega-3
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped, fresh basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into ¼-inch thick rounds
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Break bread into several pieces and blend in blender to make crumbs. Place crumbs in a small bowl. Stir in cheese and set aside. In a medium bowl, whip egg substitute with whisk until frothy. Stir in Horizon Organic Fat-Free Milk plus DHA Omega-3, salt, pepper, basil, and oregano; set aside. In a nonstick skillet, melt butter. Add zucchini and sauté over medium heat until tender, about seven minutes, stirring frequently. Arrange sautéed zucchini in an ungreased 10-inch quiche pan or 9-inch piepan. Sprinkle onion and parsley over zucchini, then pour in egg mixture and sprinkle crumb mixture over the top. Add sliced tomato and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon basil. Bake in preheated oven about 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middles comes out clean. Let stand 5-10 minutes, then slice into four wedges. Makes four servings.

How did it turn out? Share your pictures here.

Importance of DHA for children

DHA is important for children to consume as it supports brain health. Dr. David Perlmutter, M.D., Board-Certified Neurologist, Fellow of the American College of Nutrition and author of “Raise a Smarter Child by Kindergarten,” says DHA supports normal cognitive function.

Recently published research suggests for children (ages 7-9) underperforming in reading, a healthy diet including 600 mg of DHA daily may support improvements in reading and behavior.

Dr. Perlmutter recently spoke about the relationship between DHA and children’s brain health on the Mom To Be Depot, an online resource for new moms. You can listen to the interview online.

Omega-3s vs. omega-6s

Good fats, or, essential fatty acids, cannot be produced by the human body, but the body needs them to help support heart health, lower triglycerides, and support brain health. There are two kinds of essential fatty acids: omega-3 and omega-6, and it’s important to understand the difference and incorporate them into your diet.


These essential fatty acids are important for the body, however the body cannot make these omega-6 fatty acids on its own. Most sources of omega-6 fatty acids are found in food you eat, such as lettuce, nuts, vegetable oils and poultry. Omega-6 fatty acids aid in reducing the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, rheumatoid arthritis, allergies and high blood pressure.


Studies show these essential fatty acids support brain health. There are three major omega-3 fatty acids each with distinct health benefits:

  • Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) is a structural fat, making up approximately 30 percent of the structural fats in the gray matter of the brain and 97 percent of the omega-3s in the brain. Studies have shown DHA plays a role in infant mental development, brain and nervous system development and function, and supporting the mental function of children and adults throughout life.
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) is a long chain omega-3 fatty acid, and is important for human health. However, unlike DHA, EPA is not stored in significant levels in the brain and retina and is not considered a significant structural part of the body.
  • Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA) is an essential fatty acid (EFA), is a shorter-chain omega-3 fatty acid that serves as a source of energy. It is also a precursor for EPA and DHA and is needed for skin health.

Ways to dress up your family meals

DHA is a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid found throughout the body. It is a major structural fat in the brain accounting for up to 97% of the omega-3 fats in the brain. Numerous studies confirm that everyone, from infants to adults, benefit from an adequate supply of DHA. For adults, DHA supports brain health. For kids, DHA is important for ongoing brain health.

In honor of Halloween, below are two ideas to sneak more DHA into family-friendly treats.

Cook with Crisco

Crisco Puritan Canola Oil is made with 20% of the daily value DHA omega-3 per serving. Click here for a cherry almond bar recipe by Crisco.







Top if off

The 15 oz. package of Challenge Spreadable Butter is made by combining butter and canola oil, and contains DHA omega-3 to support brain health. Click here for a strawberry butter recipe by Challenge.

Are you getting enough DHA into your diet?

DHA omega-3 is to our brains as calcium is to our bones. It accounts for 97% of the omega-3 fats in the brain. Yet, most Americans don’t get enough of this nutrient. Cold-water, fatty fish, like salmon, are good dietary sources of DHA. However, if you do not like fish or live a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle, there are many other foods, beverages and supplements that are fortified with a vegetarian and sustainable, algal-based source of DHA, called life’sDHA.

Try incorporating DHA into your diet with products you already love to eat. Milks, including soymilks, juices, breads, cooking oils, yogurts, eggs, even nutrition bars and drink mixes are now being fortified with algal DHA.

View American’s Brain Health Index to see where your state ranks in terms of brain health. Then, use the DHA Diet Calculator to determine whether you are getting enough good fats in your diet.

How much DHA are you getting in your diet? 

The relationship between creative expression and aging

The National Center for Creative Aging distributed a newsletter earlier this month, which highlighted research conducted by the University of Rochester Medical Center supporting the concept that creative thinking keeps the brain healthy.

The study associated creativity with openness, with regards to the measure of cognitive flexibility and the willingness to entertain novel ideas. Researchers have found several benefits of greater openness, such as longevity, lower metabolic risk, higher self-rated health, and stress management. An article titled “Creativity Predicts a Longer Life” published on the Scientific American website, covered the same study and says, “The linchpin seems to be the creativity associated with the personality trait—creative thinking reduces stress and keeps the brain healthy.”

The National Center for Creative Aging provides technical assistance, education, research and advocacy through a variety of programs to ensure that all people have an opportunity to participate in high quality arts engagement programs.

How are you creatively thinking? 

Fall recipe: Fettuccine a la Tomato and Basil

Hearty, healthy meals are important to keep the family fueled and energized in the fall.  Try the wholesome recipe below, created by Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D. and author of “Eat Your Way to Happiness.” It’s easy to prepare, and it includes DHA omega-3 in every serving.

Fettuccine à la Tomato and Basil 

Makes 4 servings

96 mg of DHA per serving


Directions for pasta

  • Cook fettuccine in boiling, salted water until al dente; approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

Directions for sauce

  • Meanwhile in a nonstick, medium saucepan, cook garlic and olive oil over medium heat until simmering, about 4 minutes.
  • Add basil and Francesco Rinaldi® ToBe Healthy pasta sauce (Tomato & Basil) and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
  • Drain pasta and place in a large, warmed bowl. Pour sauce over the top and toss. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

What’s your favorite fall recipe?