Diane May Nutrition Blog

How You Live Can Effect Your Brain

August 9th, 2019

If there was something you could do that was free and easy to protect your brain, would you do it? Studies are showing that having a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of developing dementia, even if you have a genentic risk.  This is early research, but I believe how we live our daily life impacts our quality and longevity. A recent study in JAMA followed people over the age of 60 without dementia and they found that a favorable lifestyle had a positive impact on reducing the risk of cognitive decline.  Although this was an observational study, it is worth considering the benefits of changing your habits if you are doing harmful behaviors. So, how do we reduce these risks?

  • Don’t smoke, ever.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption. Men should have no more than one alcoholic beverage and women should have no more than one alcoholic beverage a day.
  • Make sure you move your body every day for at least 30 minutes. Dance, swim, play tennis, run…just do something.
  • If you have a sedentary job, make sure you get up once an hour and shake it out-stand, stretch.
  • Stay well hydrated. Goal of 48-64 ounces of water a day. Remove all beverages with calories and avoid artificial sweeteners.
  • Use sunscreen and make sure you see a dermatologist once a year for a skin check.
  • Eat 5-13 servings of vegetables and fruits a day-take advantage of the beautiful farmers markets in your area. Eat seasonally and locally.
  • Make all your grains whole and complex such as brown rice, quinoa, bulgar, teff.
  • Eat fatty fish at least 2x/week such as salmon, arctic char, mackerel, herring and tuna.
  • Reduce consumption of red meat.
  • Added sugar in moderation.

You don’t have to make radical changes all at once. Lifestyle change takes time, but your brain with thank you!


Greek Grilled Salmon Kebabs with Tzatziki & Green Beans

From: Diabetic Living Magazine, Fall 2019

This easy grilled salmon recipe is sure to help you win your next backyard BBQ. Lemon, garlic and herbs make a simple, flavorful marinade for the healthy fish souvlaki (souvlakia is the Greek word for kebabs), and the yogurt-based tzatziki sauce is one of the traditional pleasures of Mediterranean cuisine. A side of Greek-style green beans completes this healthy dinner recipe that’s as suited to entertaining as it is to family meals.

Ingredients 4 servings


  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 5 tablespoons minced garlic, divided (about 10 cloves)
  • 5 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 4 tsp. dried
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper, divided
  • 1 (1 pound) skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1½ cups low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 English cucumber, grated ( ¾ cup)
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, divided
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced ( ¾ cup)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 1 pound thin green beans (French-style/haricots verts), trimmed


  • Prep  20 m
  • Ready In 1 h
  1. Combine lemon juice, 2 Tbsp. garlic, 4 Tbsp. parsley, oregano, 1 Tbsp. oil, and ¼ tsp. each salt and pepper in a large shallow dish. Add salmon; toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine yogurt and cucumber in a medium bowl. Stir in 2 Tbsp. dill, 1 Tbsp. garlic, and ¼ tsp. salt. Refrigerate the tzatziki until ready to serve.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 Tbsp. garlic; cook for 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and the remaining 2 Tbsp. dill, ½ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add green beans; stir to coat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the beans are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside, covered.
  4. Preheat grill to medium-high.
  5. Remove the salmon from the marinade; scrape off any excess marinade. Carefully thread the fish onto 4 metal or wooden skewers.
  6. Oil the grill grates (see Tip). Grill the skewers until seared on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Use potholders or oven mitts to turn the skewers over. Continue grilling, turning the skewers as needed, until the salmon is opaque in the center, 5 to 7 minutes total.
  7. Transfer the green beans to a serving platter and sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbsp. parsley. Serve with the salmon and the tzatziki.
  • Tip: Clean grill grates well before grilling to prevent fish from sticking. To oil grill grates, soak a paper towel with vegetable oil, hold it with tongs, and rub it over the grates. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.)
  • Equipment: 4 metal or wooden skewers
  • To make ahead: Refrigerate tzatziki (Step 2) for up to 2 days.


Nutrition information


  • Serving size: 1 skewer + ½ cup tzatziki + 1¼ cups green beans
  • Per serving: 367 calories; 13 g fat(3 g sat); 5 g fiber; 27 g carbohydrates; 36 g protein; 85 mcg folate; 62 mg cholesterol; 13 g sugars; 2,425 IU vitamin A; 61 mg vitamin C; 262 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 693 mg sodium; 1,043 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (102% daily value), Vitamin A (48% dv), Calcium (26% dv), Folate (21% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Peach Cobbler

From: EatingWell.com, July 2018

A fruit cobbler is an old-fashioned, crowd-pleasing dessert that showcases summer’s sweetest produce. Use fresh peaches when they are in season. The rest of the year, you can use frozen peaches for a quick and easy homemade dessert.

Ingredients 8 servings


  • Filling
  • 1¼ pounds fresh peaches (3-4 large), peeled, if desired, and thinly sliced, or 4 cups sliced frozen peaches, thawed
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Topping
  • 1 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • Prep 20 m
  • Ready In 1 h 20 m
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. To prepare filling: Combine peaches, ¼ cup sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, lemon juice and a pinch of salt in a large bowl; toss to coat. Transfer to a 9-inch shallow glass or ceramic baking dish.
  3. To prepare topping: Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl until well blended. Whisk egg, buttermilk, oil and 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to blend.
  4. Stir the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and set aside.
  5. Evenly spoon the batter over top of the peach mixture. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the topping. Place the baking dish on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake until the peaches are bubbly, the topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the topping comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool for about 20 minutes before serving.


Nutrition information


  • Serving size: ⅛ of cobbler
  • Per serving: 233 calories; 9 g fat(1 g sat); 3 g fiber; 37 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; 9 mcg folate; 25 mg cholesterol; 18 g sugars; 11 g added sugars; 307 IU vitamin A; 6 mg vitamin C; 79 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 249 mg sodium; 209 mg potassium
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 2½
  • Exchanges: 1½ fat, 1 other carbohydrate, 1 starch, ½ fruit