Healthy Food Combinations

Need an Energy Boost, Lose a Few Pounds, or Increase Mental Clarity?

We all know that certain foods when combined together will give us an energy boost in the afternoon when we need to get through the day, or help us lose a few pounds (or more) to fit into that new dress or pants for a special party; however, these foods change (it seems) from year to year.

I read so many of these “superfoods” that it makes me dizzy just reading so much and then I forget what I should eat and when. Sometimes I think I should just carry a notepad with me to keep track of everything.

However, I did read an article in the recent issue of All You, that is simple to remember, only combines 2 foods and you only need to remember the combinations that you need.

Try a Meatless Monday dinner with this black bean and red pepper dish - cornbread salad. Courtesy of Ezrapoundcake.com

Good for the Waistline

Whole-grain toast with cinnamon. Think of your childhood cinnamon toast (one of my absolute faves too), but without all the sugar. Since whole-grain bread doesn’t make your blood sugar spike and make you hungry again so soon, this is a good breakfast treat. Butter your toast and sprinkle with a little cinnamon, which is also known to help keep you alert and focused.

Boost Immune System

Black beans and bell peppers. Black beans are full of iron that helps increase your immune system; however, the plant-based protein is harder to absorb unless you add vitamin C. Red bell peppers are an excellent source of Vitamin C. So combine these two plants together whether you’re making a salad, salsa, chili or mixing them with rice. (These 2 are a staple in my cupboards and frig!)

Increase Mental Clarity

Blueberries and strawberries. Truly brain food in these fruits. Increase memory, mental clarity and may even reduce feelings of depression. Opt for a 1/2 cup each of blueberries and strawberries every day. Blueberry juice is also another way to boost your memory (ensure you are drinking 100% and not mostly high fructose corn syrup).

 

 

4 Mood Foods that May Surprise You

Your mood is dependent on the foods you eat. Add these 4 mood and energy food boosters to your daily diet instead of caffeine or sugary energy drinks. Eggs, seeds, nuts and fruit are just a few foods that will help your mood.

Have you been feeling a little “off” lately? Or maybe you’re feeling more like the weather – hot one day, frigid the next?

The common link in these foods seems to be certain vitamin combinations as well tryptophan (you know, like in turkey). Try incorporating these foods into your diet to get the energy you need, according to Care2.com.

Bananas – One my favorite fruits, bananas. I eat one a day, instead of an apple since it’s packed full of potassium, iron, protein and vitamins A, C (surprise),  B6 and a good source of carbohydrates (I never knew!) I often have problems with circulation – like muscle spasms in my legs and feet – and bananas help curb those untimely muscle aches.

These yellow tree fruits are a great energy boost as well, so eat one at breakfast or use in your yogurt smoothie after lunch, when you start feeling the afternoon slump. Need an extra boost to get through the night shift? Pack a couple bananas. We are fortunate enough to have bananas available all year long in the US.

Got a few bananas looking a little brown? Mash them up and use in muffins, pancakes, waffles or banana bread too. Dr. Oz has a yummy tasting energy smoothie that uses bananas too.

Eggs are great energy boosters.

Eggs – Really, eggs? Yes, eggs are chocked full of protein, Omega-3s (free range chickens are best), B12 as well as B2, B5 and vitamin D. Another good source for tryptophan and improving your mood.

Hard boil a few eggs to pack in your lunch for the week or use as a snack mid-day. The lean protein in eggs helps convert tryptophan into the mood-enhancing serotonin, which may give you that extra energy without reaching for a candy bar or another cup of coffee. Eggs are also good for improving your memory (I have short-term memory problems, so I try to eat eggs a few times a week) and depression. (Wow!)

Look for free-range eggs in the grocery or buy from a local farmer or the farm house with the “Eggs for Sale” sign. These eggs will more likely have the most Omega-3s that you’ll need to boost your mood. If you can’t stomach an entire hard-boiled egg, cut it up and make egg-salad sandwiches or add to a salad. Fried egg sandwiches with mustard are another favorite of mine. Be creative!

Sunflower seeds – A handful of sunflower seeds can boost your mood because it has mood-enhancing magnesium. According to Care2.com, a lack of magnesium can be responsible for “feelings of fatigue, nervousness, and anxiety (since it triggers an increase in adrenaline).” In addition to magnesium, sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin B9 (folate or folic acid) that may help alleviate irritability, insomnia, and depression symptoms. (Note: a deficiency in folate may result in these feelings.) Sunflower seeds also contain the mood booster, tryptophan.

Sunflower seeds give an energy boost when you need it, but it doesn’t make up for your daily rest. Be sure to get a good 7 hours of rest each day in addition to a healthy diet that includes good protein and vitamins. Sunflower seeds help with your daily recommended amount of vitamins and minerals.

Walnuts – Go nutty with walnuts! These nut meats contain all the best mood and energy boosters including vitamin B6, folate, protein, Omega-3s and tryptophan! Seems that a handful of walnuts are good for improving your mood and alleviate negative feelings.

Whether you like cracking your own walnuts or prefer to buy them shelled, you’ll get the same benefits of getting the recommended dose of Omega-3 oil in less than an ounce of walnuts, which is about 7 shelled walnuts.

Grab a bag of trail mix or make your own for your next road trip, business meeting (those things usually put me to sleep within the first hour), add to brownies, waffles, muffins, top cereals and mix in yogurt. (Beware of nut allergies)