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Brainfood: Mexican rainbow salad in a jar

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.


half an avocado, chopped and drizzled with lemon
1/3 cup cooked black beans
1/3 cup sweet corn
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup carrot, ribboned
1 handful baby spinach mixed with chopped coriander
1 small handful of smashed unflavoured tortilla chips
1 16oz mason jar/other large jar

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoon lime juice


1) Put the dressing ingredients in a bowl together and whisk to combine then put aside.
2) Wash, chop and prepare all other ingredients.
3) Layer items in your jar so that the dry and wet ingredients stay separated until you eat. Layer 1: dressing; layer 2: black beans; layer 3: corn; layer 4: avocado; layer 5: tomato; layer 6: carrot; layer 7: spinach and coriander; layer 8: tortilla chips.
3) Keep your salad jar upright until you are ready to serve, then turn the jar upside down on a plate, tapping the bottom to remove all the ingredients. Toss and eat.

Brain-boosting benefits

Black beans Legumes are a great source of protein, fibre, carbohydrates, and micronutrients, including B vitamins and folate, said to play a critical role in the production of a range of brain chemicals.
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.
Tomato These contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene which may be a great brain-booster – studies find individuals with mild cognitive impairment have lower levels lycopene in their blood.

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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