Brain Foods and Smooth(ie) Operators

Brain Foods and Smooth(ie) Operators

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Dr. Uma Naidoo is an an award-winning board-certified Psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, professional chef, nutrition specialist, and author of the best-selling book This is Your Brain on Food: An Indispensable Guide to the Surprising Foods that Fight Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, OCD, ADHD and More.

When it comes to brain food on the go, few options rival the ultra-portable yet fresh smoothie. Customizable, easy to make, and easy to eat, here are my go-to recipes for a smoothie that hits the spot:

It’s a 10 (...different fruits and veggies in 1!)

The combination of folate-rich mixed greens, berries rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, almond butter for a healthy dose of vitamin E, avocado for cognition-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, and a dose of hemp seeds to round out the fiber punch, this smoothie is truly a brain-food all-star.

Ingredients: (serves 1)

  • One handful mixed greens (I love spinach and arugula)
  • ½ c assorted berries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 T almond butter (can sub any preferred nut butter or coconut oil)
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 T hemp seeds
  • ¾ to 1 c almond  or other plant-based milk

Directions: Blend at high speed for 30s-1 minute. Pour into a tall glass and enjoy!

Chocolate Protein Smoothie

Feels like a milkshake, but has all the health benefits of a smoothie! This decadent smoothie contains muscle repairing protein, empowers our gut microbiome, and might even benefit libido (check out my book for more on this!).

Ingredients: (serves 1)

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 T walnuts
  • 1 scoop  plant based or other clean  protein powder
  • 1 T ground flaxseed
  • 1 t organic ground instant coffee powder
  • 1 t natural (non-alkalized) cocoa powder
  • 1 T coconut flakes
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • ½ t honey
  • ¼ ripe avocado

Directions: Blend at high speed with ¼ cup ice cubes for 30s-1 minute. Pour into a tall glass and enjoy!

Warm Spiced Smoothie

For a hug in a mug. The antioxidants in this warm and spiced smoothie potentiate stronger memory and cognition while providing a nourishing treat.


  • 1 T chopped walnuts
  • 1 T chopped almonds
  • 1 cup unsweetened plant based milk
  • ½ Anjou or other pear, chopped
  • 1 T almond butter
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1 cardamom pod, crushed or cardamom powder

As a Nutritional Psychiatrist, I know firsthand the importance of finding easy, breezy ways to enjoy fresh and brain-boosting food on the go. Which smoothie will you try first?

Hungry for more?

In my book, This Is Your Brain On Food, I dive deep into cutting-edge research to explain the innumerable ways in which food contributes to mental health. In doing so, I also seek to show you how to establish and maintain a sound diet to best support your psychological and cognitive health. Hungry for more? You can find me online at, and connect with me on Instagram and Twitter, @DrUmaNaidoo, for real-time updates and news in Nutritional Psychiatry.