Eat right
and eat, write!

At HWR events, it’s important to us to have healthy food that will stimulate the mind, rather than send us to an afternoon nap. :)

We’ve worked with a nutritionist to select ingredients to create delicious and nutritious lunches and snacks. But you don’t need to wait for a retreat to boost your brain power!

Check out some sample recipes at the end of the page — and if you make something that fits the HWR spirit, send us a photo or tag us on Instagram! @helsinkiwritingretreat

 

Ingredients for cognitive enhancement

Walnuts

Health benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids

  • boosts brain health, as they form a large part of brain cells

  • essential for learning and memory

  • anti-inflammatory

  • helps to stabilize mood

  • important for heart health as well

  • do not get stored as a fat in the body

Walnuts contain one of the highest amounts of omega 3 of any nut!

  • powerhouse Omega 3 nutrition

  • contain Vitamin E with antioxidant and protective properties towards brain cells

  • contain Folate (Vitamin B9) and Melatonin which are essential for brain health, providing memory support and aiding with thought processing

  • contain high amounts of Vitamin B6, Copper and Manganese (important minerals)


Almonds

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  • lots of fibre to reduce cravings and stabilize blood sugar

  • high amount of protein to deliver energy as well as providing satiation

  • Vitamin E; its antioxidant effects help protect brain cells

  • high Magnesium content; helps fight fatigue and calm the mind, has relaxing properties to reduce stress levels



Chia seeds

  • fantastic ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids (more of those brain boosting Omega 3s!)

  • loaded with antioxidants

  • almost all of the carbohydrates present are from fibre (satiating and helping with digestion)

  • contain protein (balancing blood sugar levels)



Coconut (oil and shredded)

  • contain medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) which are easier and faster to digest than other types of fats

  • not stored as fat

  • deliver fast-acting energy (function as a carbohydrate although they do not affect blood sugar)

  • improve memory and brain function, providing efficient fuel for brain cells

  • improve energy and endurance, increasing metabolism

  • reduces inflammation, great for heart health

Raspberries and blueberries

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  • contain antioxidants

  • lots of vitamins and minerals (including Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E and the minerals Magnesium, Manganese, Calcium, Potassium, Iron and Copper)

  • contain lots of fibre

  • high nutrition fruit, adding delicious taste and keeping blood sugar levels stable

  • supportive of heart health

  • deliver energy and vitality to keep those concentration levels high and on point

Cacao

  • one of the highest concentrations of Magnesium found in a food source!

  • elevates mood due to flavanol content (plant-based substances that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties)

  • rich in polyphenols (naturally occurring antioxidants)

  • 40x the antioxidants of blueberries!

  • helps improve blood flow in the brain (hence the cognitive enhancement benefits)

  • high amounts of necessary minerals

  • produces endorphins (“feel good” chemicals)

Hemp seeds

  • extremely nutritious superfood that contains high amounts of plant-based Omega 3 fatty acids (with a favourable Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio — we want to concentrate on getting enough Omega 3 fats in our diet, and not too many Omega 6 fatty acids)

  • high in Magnesium, Vitamin E (another brain health boosting antioxidant) and phosphorous

  • high in plant-based protein (10 grams per serving!)

  • high in Iron and zinc (important for energy and immunity)

  • all of these properties combined contribute to optimal cognitive function



Dates

  • high in antioxidants as well as important minerals and vitamins

  • high in fibre (which balances out the sugar content)

  • may improve brain function! They can lower inflammatory markers in the brain as well as lowering plaque formation (due to antioxidant content)

  • contribute to better learning ability and memory and less anxiety related behaviours

  • healthier substitute for sugar, making it a great sweetener alternative (to be used in moderation)



Health benefits of Folate (Vitamin B9)

and why it’s especially important for optimum brain functioning:

  • clinically proven for healthy mood, memory and other cognitive functions as well as behaviour
  • essential for the brain to make key neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine
  • promotes the brain’s healthy production of mMlatonin (our major sleep hormone and potent antioxidant)
  • a very important vitamin for pregnant women to prevent birth defects
  • useful to alleviate depression and anxiety

Avocados

  • contain Vitamin K and Folate, which help to improve memory and concentration

  • a monounsaturated fat, meaning that they are of the good kind!

  • contain the highest protein content and lowest sugar content of any fruit

  • have high amounts of Vitamin C and B vitamins as well as mineral content

  • much antioxidant activity


Collard Greens

  • high amounts of vitamins K and A

  • contain Vitamin C and Folate which contribute to cognitive enhancement properties

  • anti-cancer properties and blood cholesterol level lowering effects

  • antioxidant benefits through a vast array of phytonutrients

  • anti-inflammatory benefits

  • high amount of fibre accounts for digestive support and improvement


Oats

  • full of antioxidants

  • contain lots of fibre

  • have positive effects on cholesterol levels

  • gluten free

  • contain high amounts of important vitamins and minerals such as Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorous, Copper, Zinc, Iron and Vitamin B1


Cinnamon

  • especially useful for blood sugar regulation to fight those energy slumps in between meals


Sunflower seeds

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  • great source of Vitamin E which is great for skin health and has anti-aging properties

  • good source of Manganese which is great for relaxation and concentration

  • good source of Selenium, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Vitamin B3, B6 and B9

  • healthy fats present will prevent blood sugar crashes from happening


Pumpkin seeds

  • another nutritious seed, one of the best sources of natural Magnesium (that important relaxation mineral) and Zinc (which is great for immunity amongst other benefits)

  • full of healthy fats which will keep one satiated and work against combatting blood sugar crashes

  • contain antioxidants (Vitamin E for example) which calm down inflammation


Sample recipes