A warm concentration-boost
As the last week of this block is approaching, ESSB exams are about to start. Rushing to the last tutorials and lectures; trying to manage our time as best as we can. Let’s be honest: we are probably not going to have a proper meal most of the time. Simply because we don’t have enough time to think about what we will eat. With this recipe you’ll be a while in the kitchen, but you can store it for almost a week so you don’t lose time during exam week!
With this cold and rainy weather, none of us want to have a simple salad to stay in shape. Yes, a kapsalon is a quick bite, but not really that healthy. A soup would be ideal for this weather, but those are usually quite basic and not really nutritious. However, this soup will boost not only your health levels, but also take away that winter dip!
This meal is actually based on two main components: sweet potato and lentils, and is accompanied with more healthy foods like carrots and spinach among others. These veggies are high in vitamins and minerals which will help you stay healthy, but will also boost your concentration in this exam week.
Sweet potato and carrots are filled with vitamin A and this helps preventing the retina from damaging. The bright light in all our phones, tablets, laptops is mainly blue light. This is because blue light has the most energy. When this light is not properly filtered it can damage the cells within the retina. Therefore, more energy is needed in these cells to repair or replace them. We might experience this as a loss of focus at the end of the day. Vitamin A helps us produce lutein which filters the blue light, and therefore, helps us prevent retina-cell damage, and helps us concentrate for a longer period.
Furthermore, sweet potatoes have a significant amount of magnesium. Magnesium can help you reduce stress. A little bit of help with stress management in exam week is always welcome, right? Magnesium can also help you to sleep better, since it aids the sleep process by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for getting calm and relax. So, when feeling calm and relaxed you will hopefully sleep better!
Spinach and lentils are some super nutritious food, but they also can boost your concentration when consumed regularly. Both spinach and lentils have high levels of minerals, but specially potassium. Potassium is one of the most important minerals in our nervous system, since it, along with sodium, regulates the impulses and also helps carry oxygen to the brain. So, better levels of potassium mean a healthy brain, and so, better concentration.
Apart from the health benefits, this recipe is rich in spices and is also really easy to make. You can just buy all the ingredients chopped or canned in your regular grocery store. Or just chop, peel and soak everything as I love to do. For vegans or vegetarians, it is a great recipe full of fibre and protein. Also, I prefer to buy organic products, but I know that some ingredients are hard to find organic, so any regular ones will do. I’m sure you will all love it! Enjoy and good luck with studying!
- 500 grams of sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into small pieces
- 400 grams of brown lentils, soaked or canned
- 200 grams of carrots, chopped
- 1 red onion, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped or mashed
- 1500 ml of vegetable broth, preferably low sodium
- 200 grams of spinach
- 2 tsp of ground coriander
- 2 tsp of ground cumin
- 1 tsp of curry powder
- 1 tsp of smoked paprika
- 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp of ground turmeric
- ¼ tsp of ground nutmeg
Herbs for garnishing
For serving it’s lovely to have some freshness to accompany the spices within the soup. And also, a splash of lime or lemon juice is amazing. The following herbs are really suitable to accompany the soup:
- Lime or lemon
- Olive oil
- Dutch oven, or a big pan
- Blender or food processor
- Heat up the Dutch oven or pan to low heat. Make sure the pan is preheated before putting anything in it. When it’s hot, pour in a splash of olive oil, add the chopped onion and stir it a little bit, then add the garlic. After two or three minutes, pour in all the spices and then the main ingredients except the spinach, and give it a little stir. When the broth and everything else is boiling, put the lid on the pan and leave it for an hour on low heath.
- In this hour, you can go back to your studies, but make sure to keep an eye on the pan. You don’t want anything to burn. So, once in a while just give it a little stir. Keep in mind that if you are not using a Dutch oven, it will probably take more than an hour on low heat.
- When it’s done make sure that you take half of the soup out. Mix this in a blender or use a food processor to grind everything well. After doing so, put the half back into the pan and add the spinach and leave it for another half an hour. In this half, an hour you can again go back to your studies, while the soup just gets more and more delicious.
- When it’s done just serve the soup in a small bowl. And make sure you throw some delicious fresh herbs over the soup and a splash of lime. Enjoy.
PS: you can store the soup in the fridge and eat it for a week or just freeze it and then it’ll be good for a month.