Food can sharpen your memory, ease a headache, or fight a cold. Go, food!
BEAT THE BLUES
People who suffer from depression often lack B vitamins. There are plenty of mood-lifting foods, though, that can come to the rescue. Avocados, for example, are a rich source of B vitamins, and bananas (packed with magnesium and vitamin B6) can help relieve stress and anxiety. The selenium found in Brazil nuts and the folic acid found in asparagus can also help stabilize your mood. Other 'happy foods' are salmon, sweet potatoes, and chocolate!
Protein (especially from sources that are also high in iron) is great for providing an energy boost. When you're feeling sluggish, just reach for some lean beef, chicken, turkey, clams, shrimp or eggs, and you'll start to feel more alert. Just be sure not to pair that lean protein with foods high in fats, since the two nutrients eaten together can make you feel tired. Green peas and good old-fashioned water are also great fatigue-fighters!
BATTLE COLD SYMPTOMS
Garlic helps combat cold and flu infections. So sprinkle some garlic powder onto your fat-free pizza or add sautéed garlic to your grilled veggies if you feel a cold coming on. You can even microwave garlic until tender, and then spread the softened stuff onto bread in place of butter (Heads up! You will likely become 40 percent less smoochable after you do this.) If eating all that garlic doesn't sound appealing, take garlic supplements instead. Or try these other infection-fighting foods: oranges, oatmeal, and pineapple!
People who suffer from headaches are usually lacking magnesium in their diets. Luckily, increasing levels of the mineral in your body can help fight dull aches and even sharp migraines. Cereal rich in whole grains is a fantastic source of magnesium (a half-cup of our fave, Fiber One, provides 10% of the RDA of the stuff). Leafy green veggies and nuts are also high in the mineral. Many people also use ginger to thwart and prevent migraines. Other headache-stompers include brown rice, orange veggies and cherries!
Are you losing your keys all the time? If you want a sharper memory, munch on an apple or a pear. Turns out these yummy fruits contain a mineral called boron, which improves memory and alertness. Some studies also suggest mashed potatoes and barley can cause almost instantaneous memory boosts. (Pssst... Try Amy's Vegetable Barley soup for a low-cal dose of the stuff!) Wondering what other foods are great for memory improvement? Blueberries, acorn squash, papaya, strawberries and spinach. Yum!
CHEW ON THIS: Saturday, April 14th, is National Pecan Day. Celebrate with a few healthy pecans (they're packed with vitamin E!), but don't get too "nutty" (they're also packed with calories and fat)!
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