It always intrigues me that numerous supplements which are marketed to women during their menopause transition, comprise ingredients which mainly have anti-inflammatory effects as well as containing nutrients, such as flavonoids, which help to prevent neuro-degenerative disorders, such as brain changes as we age.
Flavonoid compounds are products extracted from plants and they are found in several parts of the plant. Berries are very high in these flavonoids.
It’s not surprising to find these flavonoid-rich supplements targeted toward midlife women. Afterall, many epidemiological studies have shown that regular flavonoid- rich fruit intake is associated with delayed Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, ischemic diseases, brain-fog and ageing effects (Subash et al, 2014).
Since oxidative stress and inflammation appear to be involved in brain ageing and menopause is the biological gateway into our ageing years and this is the time when inflammatory problems increase, it makes sense to target foods such as berries that help to prevent these changes.
Whilst we all know that eating the whole berry and maintaining the mantra that ‘fresh is best’, there are times when it’s nice to prepare foods that you can freeze or you can share with family and friends.
That’s why I like the simplicity and convenience of muffins.
They are wonderful tucked into lunch-boxes to have with an apple at afternoon tea-time. They also freeze well so you can make them in advance. These muffins are a family favourite and before I discovered almond flour, I used to use a gluten-free flour which I just found at the local supermarket. I hope you can bake them over the Easter break, especially if you have a houseful of friends and/or family. Bon appetit!
Blueberry Banana Muffins (makes 9)
3 overripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ cups almond flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup blueberries
Finely chopped dark chocolate (optional)
- Heat oven to 180C/ 350F
- Whisk together all of the wet ingredients in a bowl.
- Add all the dry ingredients to the same bowl (except for the blueberries and dark chocolate).
- Slowly stir in the blueberries and dark chocolate. Make sure you don’t over stir as the blueberries will split.
- Line a muffin tray with muffin liners (or lightly grease with olive oil) and scoop the mixture in (until they are nearly full).
- Bake for 25 minutes. The muffins should be brown on top, but not burnt, so set the timer!
Panche AN, Diwan AD, Chandra SR. Flavonoids: an overview. J Nutr Sci. 2016 Dec 29;5:e47.
Subash S, Essa MM, Al-Adawi S, Memon MA, Manivasagam T, Akbar M. Neuroprotective effects of berry fruits on neurodegenerative diseases. Neural Regen Res. 2014 Aug 15;9(16):1557-66.