A list of my favorite foods that I consume every day. Alongside are the benefits for both body and mind. The consistent presence of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants represented in these foods (and those like them) truly can change your physical and mental health.
Avocados contain an important antioxidant, Vitamin E. Vitamin E helps the body’s immune, skin and eye health. In studies researchers have found that people who consume moderate amounts of Vitamin E- from food sources, not supplements- lowered their risk of Alzheimer’s Diseases by 67%.
They also contain an amazing amount of potassium (more than a banana!). Having a higher potassium intake is linked to lower blood pressure.
The healthy fats in avocados are high in monounsaturated oleic acid; “heart healthy” fatty acids. They are indeed a fatty food (67% fat) but this is the type you want for a healthy heart and body. This type of fat and their abundance of fiber (metabolic health) will help you to feel satiated.
Additionally, avocados help the body to absorb more nutrients. Some nutrients, including vitamins A, D, E, K and antioxidants like carotenoids, are fat soluble, meaning they need to be combined with fat in order to be utilized. For instance, one study showed that adding avocado to salad or veggies can increase antioxidant absorption by 2.6-15 fold. Don’t let those veggies go to waste! Adding in a healthy fat like avocado can help you absorb the nutrients from all the healthy foods you’ve prepared.
One of the best habits I’ve adapted over the past six months is to wake up and drink warmed water with lemon. It is a natural detoxifier and aides in getting the digestive tract moving for the day. Lemons are also a lovely source of Vitamin C, a great immune health supporter. Lemons also help the body to balance its pH levels. Allowing your body to become more alkaline.
These lovely gems are filled with Vitamin A (in the form of beta carotene) containing on average 400% of your daily need per one spud. Vitamin A’s primary support to the body is in our vision. Vitamin A creates pigments that are needed to help keep the retina healthy. It also helps support the growth and development of the cornea and other membranes in the eye. Although Vitamin A most readily aides the eyes and vision it also plays a role in the development of bones; including teeth. Additionally, it acts as a barrier between the skin and the body to help prevent infection, thus supporting our immune systems.
Sweet potatoes also are an excellent source of Vitamin C (immune health), manganese (aides in the connective process between systems; i.e. brain health), copper (immune health), pantothenic acid (mental health), and vitamin B6 (heart health).
They also are rich in potassium (more than a banana), dietary fiber, niacin (lowers cholesterol), vitamin B1 and B2 (brain function), and phosphorous (bone health).
Hurray! Yet another reason to enjoy (in moderation) a morning cup of coffee. According to a Nurses’ Health Study research, women who drank two to three cups of coffee a day were 15% less likely to suffer from depression. The ingredient at play in giving our bodies and minds a happy boost is caffeine. Caffeine increases dopamine and serotonin transmission within just 30 minutes.
Simply the act of chewing this cruciferous veggies stimulates the release of the mood boosting chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. These two chemicals help you to feel more relaxed, calm, and happy. They can also be attributed to mood boosting through the abundance of selenium and magnesium. Both minerals allow the muscles and brain to relax. They are also filled with Vitamin C and plant compounds called carotenoids, which are both powerful brain protectors.
Leafy greens and cruciferous veggies are full of antioxidants as well, and these particular forms found in these types of veggies are noted to be especially effective. In fact, a Harvard Medical School study of more than 13,000 women found that those who ate the most lowered their brain age by one to two years.
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