Are you having trouble sleeping? Do you tend to get a sweet tooth at night? Try chewing on some cherries! Dried cherries are not only a good source of sleep-promoting melatonin but they are full of serotonin-boosting carbs. Try eating a handful about 20 minutes before going to bed. Cherries are also a great source of immune-boosting antioxidants and beta-carotene for protecting your cells. Cherries have anti-inflammatory properties which have been shown to help ease rheumatoid arthritis and gout. When it comes to buying dried fruits like cherries, make sure that you are reading the label. You always want to purchase unsulfered dried fruits, especially if you are prone to allergies and asthma. Fresh is always best and fortunately it’s farmer’s market season!
Snow peas have been around for thousands of years and are enjoyed by many! These young pea pods are delicate and sweet in flavor and are loaded with fabulous health benefits. For example, snow peas are an excellent source of B vitamins which help to boost and maintain our energy levels. These vitamins also help build nerve and muscle tissue in our body. Snow peas also contain immune-boosting vitamin C, helping us stay well during cold and flu season. These peas are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin which help promote vision health. They are also a good source of vitamin K for bone health and vitamin A for heart health.
DID YOU KNOW:
- Snow peas are a good source of fiber, which helps to lower cholesterol and promotes healthy digestion.
- You can eat the snow pea whole! In fact, these peas are valued for their pods rather than just the peas inside.
What do asparagus, pumpkin seeds, and yogurt all have in common? They are good sources of zinc, a nutrient that our bodies need in order for us to stay healthy. Zinc is important for helping our blood sugar stay balanced. It’s also responsible for stabilizing our metabolic rate and strengthening our immune system. Studies have shown that zinc is responsible for regulating many genetic activities. It’s also important for helping us maintain a healthy sense of taste and smell.
How do you know if you need more zinc in your diet? If you tend to get sick a lot, feel depressed, and have a lack of an appetite, you may be deficient in zinc. You can also tell if you need zinc by looking at your nails. If your nails have white spots on them, it’s time to eat some “zinc-rich” foods, like the ones mentioned below:
- Swiss chard
- Green peas
- Summer squash
- Pumpkin seeds
- Collard greens
- Sesame seeds
Phytonutrients or “plant nutrients” are important to include in our daily diet. They come in many classes including carotenoids, flavonoids, and sulfides. Phytonutrients are responsible for the way a plant looks, smells, and tastes. When your steamed veggies start to change color (for example, your kale becomes a beautiful deep green), that reaction is centered around the plants phytonutrients. The bitter taste found in some of fruits and vegetables are also a result of these substances. Why do we need to include phytonutrients in our diet? They have been shown to help slow down the aging process, prevent cancers, promote a healthy heart and good blood pressure. They are also loaded with antioxidants to help our immune system stay strong. Try including broccoli, kale, cilantro, blueberries, oranges, tomatoes, or sweet potatoes into your meals this week for a healthy dose of phytonutrients!
Do you suffer from breakouts and acne? Are your lotions and creams just making your complexion more irritated and red? Try eating a diet full of protein (wild-caught fish, chia seeds, beans, goji berries), organic vegetables and fruits (especially ones full of antioxidants, like berries), nuts, and seeds. Also be sure that you are including plenty of “good fats” in your diet from foods like coconuts, olives, and avocados. Stay hydrated with plenty of good quality water during the day and avoid soda, caffeine, and alcohol.
I have always been a huge fan of eating watermelon! Lately, I’ve started juicing watermelon and combining it with other ingredients like cucumbers and strawberries. Yum! Watermelon is not only delicious but it is loaded with healthy nutrients. For example, watermelon is a rich source of immune-boosting vitamin C and hair-healthy vitamin A. It is also a good source of lycopene, a carotenoid that works to promote good cardiovascular health. One cup of fresh watermelon contains more lycopene than that one cup of tomatoes! In addition watermelon’s heart-healthy traits, it’s an excellent source of free-radical fighting antioxidants and B vitamins, perfect for giving your body a nice boost of natural energy. Watermelon also contains potassium and magnesium to help your body circulate your blood properly.
Did you Know:
- Watermelon has a high water content, which makes it so refreshing during the warmer months. This also makes it a great food for promoting a healthy weight because it will fill you up while giving you a big dose of nutrients.
- While you can purchase watermelon year-round, the best time to buy it is during the summer. This is when it will have the most nutrients and taste the sweetest.
You may have heard about tryptophan and it’s ability to help us fall asleep at night. While it is true that tryptophan promotes relaxation, it is also important for helping to elevate our moods and regulate our appetites! It has also been shown to help prevent a deficiency in niacin. Tryptophan is one of the essential amino acids (something that our bodies cannot produce on their own) that our bodies use to synthesize protein. Tryptophan works with many other nutrients that are important for it’s metabolism including vitamin C, B6, magnesium, and folic acid.
How can you tell if you are deficient in tryptophan? You may feel depressed and struggle with staying focued. Other symptoms include weight gain or unexpected weight loss, overeating, the craving of carbohydrates, and insomnia. Be sure you are including tryptophan in your diet by eating the following foods:
- Wild-caught salmon
- Swiss chard
- Collard greens
- Cage-free organic eggs