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The happy mood grocery list

This season is challenging for me, dark and getting colder are not any of my favorite things! So anything that I can do to boost my mood, I say sign me up! It turns out that maintaining a healthy diet does more than just improve our physical health. Studies have shown that there is a strong connection between the foods that we eat and our mood.

T’’is the season to eat foods that will also help to boost your mood. Here is how you can do this. “Happy Foods”, as I call them, should be added to your grocery list immediately and become regulars in your kitchen. Here is a list of the few that are my favorites.

Chocolate (you knew this would be number one on my list right?)

A study in the Journal of Pharmacology found that eating a few ounces of dark chocolate per day improved people’s moods. Add to that the combination of the emotional response when eating chocolate – the velvety texture, sweet aroma, and good memories it produces – along with its dash of caffeine and its sugar content, which boosts serotonin levels, and you’ve got one fabulous ‘feel-good food’.

Dark chocolate is best for a few reasons; as you may already know, sugar is a contributing cause of the blues and is typically found in higher content in chocolate as the percentage of cocoa goes down. Cocoa on the other hand is very good for boosting our mood, so the higher the percentage of cocoa the better. The flavonoids found in cocoa and chocolate are full of antioxidants that help to lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain and heart.

Other foods containing flavonoids: cranberries, apples, red wine, peanuts, onions

Flax seeds and Walnuts
A study conducted by researchers at Harvard University and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) found in flax seeds and walnuts,  alleviates symptoms of depression.

Flax seeds and walnuts contain some of the best sources for omega-3 fatty acids and walnuts have the bonus ingredient uridine, which in combination with each other, help improve communication between the neurons in your brain. This is the same action that some antidepressant drugs perform – just in an edible delicious  natural way!
Other foods containing ALA: soybeans, flackers, hemp seeds, chia seeds

Avocado
Soft, nourishing, and rich, this fruit is surprisingly rich in good fats, protein and fiber. While quite heavy in texture, it is gentle on your stomach, heart healthy, calming to your system, soothing to your skin and joints and creamy delicious. Avocados help to build strength and a healthy immune system.

Avocados contain a wide variety of good healthy fats that can help to increase serotonin levels in the brain. 3 types of phytosterols are also packed into its nutrition profile, contributing to its natural ability to control inflammation. Enjoy with a dab of lime, pinch of salt and cilantro.

Other foods containing healthy fats: olive oil, nuts, and most cold water fishes

Seaweed: Rich in minerals, vitamins, and easily digestible protein, seaweed is almost a perfect food. I love it raw (after I soak it) on my salads or sautéed with garlic and sesame oil. Seaweeds can help keep your thyroid running smoothly and efficiently which is very important for maintain good energy levels and a balanced mood. This nutrient dense food is ideal for nourishing the entire body with a plethora of essential vitamin and minerals that offer the perfect nutrition to help you be energized and feel balanced. If you are frightened by the thought of trying seaweed start with a seaweed salad at any Japanese  store or restaurant. They have mastered the dressing so that the real raw taste is masked in a delicious form that you may enjoy.

Spinach
A study in the Journal of Nutrition showed that people who consumed the lowest levels of folate were 67 percent more likely to suffer from depression than those who took in the most. Popeye was right on with this one. Spinach is rich in folate, another nutrient that helps to boost serotonin levels in the brain. That’s incentive enough to stock up on this nutrient food.
Other foods containing high levels of folate: asparagus, broccoli, and beans

Bananas

A report from researchers at Oxford University found that women recovering from depression who were deficient in tryptophan had a higher chance of regressing back to depressive states. So if you’re feeling a bit down, grab a banana….Bananas contain the amino acid tryptophan plus vitamin B6, magnesium and potassium which, working together to help the body produce serotonin.

So make eating healthy, eating for energy and a balanced mood a priority today. Start with one or two of these items and enjoy them, experiment with them and most importantly watch the evidence ;  a happy , clear, strong mind and good health.

And the best part, we do not really have to compromise, I mean chocolate is on the list right? Sweet!!!

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Inspired by Kale

 

Kale in my garden

Step aside spinach there is a new green in town! I am speaking about my favorite all time green, my garden growing friend and super healthy crunchy leafy green – the incredible fabulous amazing kale! Kale and its incredible health benefits have actually been around for a long time. Quietly, yes, but believe it or not there was kale before there was kale chips! I have been eating this funky looking vegetable for years and as with many good things, it is hard to keep them under the radar for too long. Eventually their amazing qualities shine bright and this year, it’s kale’s turn to be in the spotlight.

I just had my favorite kale salad, freshly picked from the garden, and I feel super energized with fabulous green power!

So here are the  many reasons I love Kale and you should too!

1. kale is a member of the Brassica family of vegetables, (also include are broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts) that have gained quite the reputation as potential cancer-fighting foods. Kale is packed with the organosulfur compounds that may actually help the liver neutralize potentially cancerous substances.

2. Kale is full of beta-carotene, an important nutrient for good vision also the prevention of cataracts.

3. Kale is also an excellent source of vitamin C, just one cup will give you 88% of your RDA of vitamin C which is great for your immune system and helpful for protection against viruses like the common cold as well as the flu.

4. Kale is rich in minerals, such as iron, manganese, calcium and potassium. Potassium is excellent to help reduce blood pressure. Calcium is needed for optimal bone integrity.

5. A cup of kale provides 10.4% of the daily value for fiber, which has been shown to reduce high cholesterol levels. Fiber can also help out by keeping blood sugar levels under control, so kale is an excellent vegetable for people with diabetes.

Need I say more?

Recipes:

Really easy- if you are super busy, just buy your favorite pesto (made with olive oil of course) or make your own and take the leaves off of the kale stem, compost the stem and puree the leaves with the pesto. Now you have this enriched delicious guilt free pesto..yum. Try it on your favorite cracker or a flacker, it is really divine….

Easy and cooked- sauté kale 1-2 cups (take the leafy part of the stem and toss the stem. The leafy part is the sweetest and most tender) with fresh garlic (1-2 cloves) and a little water (or extra virgin olive oil) then sprinkle with lemon juice, sea salt and/or olive oil before serving.

Easy and raw- Again take the leaves of the kale (2 cups is perfect) and place in a bowl. Add a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, a tsp of sea salt and 2 tbsp of lemon juice then using your hands crunch up the leaves so they get soft (the salt helps to breakdown the cell walls of the kale which makes it softer and sweeter and more delicious). May add 1 cup of mushrooms and/or red onions, walnuts to get some omega-3 fatty acids and then let it marinate a little, maybe an hour then enjoy.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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