Brainfood: Salmon and avocado rice paper rolls

Research has found that dietary nutrients are critical to the structure and function of your brain, so eating well could have a profound impact on your mental robustness. Maintaining a healthy diet packed with brain-boosting foods to support you through your day is a must, and this recipe includes a few key ingredients to do just that.


300g skinless salmon fillet
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1 Lebanese cucumber, cut into matchsticks
small red capsicum, cut into matchsticks
2 spring onions, cut into matchsticks
1 handful of chopped cashews and sesame seeds
1 small handful of coriander and mint, chopped
6 x 16cm rice paper rounds

Dipping sauce:
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon chilli sauce


1) Bring a small saucepan of water to boil, add a pinch of salt. Place fillet in the water, ensuring it’s covered with water, and cook for eight or nine minutes (until opaque) with the water just below boiling.
2) Prepare and chop your other ingredients.
3) Flake the salmon fillet into small pieces.
4) Get a large bowl of warm water, then place one piece of rice paper into the water for 10 seconds. Place on a clean surface and allow to soften for a further five seconds.
5) Place a few avocado slices in a thin row down the middle of the circle, then layer a little salmon, cucumber, pepper, nuts, onion and herbs on top.
6) Enclose ingredients, starting by folding in the top and bottom of the circle, and then tightly roll.
7) Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make six rolls.
8) In a bowl, mix the peanut butter and hoisin and chilli sauces together. Serve with dipping sauce.

Brain-boosting benefits

Avocado Avocado is high in omega-3 oils, which play a vital role in maintaining proper neuronal structure and function. Omega-3 appears beneficial for symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress.
Nuts and seeds These are a good source of things like omega 3 fats, amino acid, folate and B vitamins, which are said to play a critical role in the production of a range of brain chemicals.
Salmon Salmon is also packed with omega-3 fatty acids – and studies indicate a diet lacking in these nutrients may cause your brain to age faster and lose some of its memory and thinking abilities.

When it comes to selecting the best ingredients for your health, nutritionist Samantha Dawson from Deakin University promotes a whole-of-diet approach. ‘Let’s consider someone who eats a lot of processed food – consuming one serve of a “superfood” is unlikely to make a noticeable difference to their overall health.’ Instead, she suggests focussing on improving overall diet quality and fibre intake, by regularly eating plenty of fresh plant-based ingredients and cutting down on sugar and processed foods.

There is increasing cultural interest in nutrition and health, and a growing demand for specialists in these fields. Deakin’s nutrition and dietetics courses provide you with the knowledge and skills to work in this incredible field.

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