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Foods Your Body Loves

February 12, 2015

Simply said, these foods and your body are a love match made in nutritional heaven. Tell your body Happy Valentines day any day of the year, with one of these simple whole foods worked into your diet.

Brazil Nuts
The mood-boosting properties of these delicious nuts are attributable to their rich selenium content. Selenium is a trace mineral and antioxidant essential for combating depression. With about 100 micrograms of selenium per nut, Brazil nuts are the richest known source. Low selenium levels in the body can lead to irritability, depression, and fatigue. Required for the synthesis and metabolism of thyroid hormones, selenium actively increases thyroid hormone T3 (Triiodothyronine) by kickstarting the conversion of T4 (Thyroxine), boosting metabolism and mood, and helping to alleviate symptoms of thyroid disease. It will make you feel good in other ways too, as it’s known to boost libido and elevate energy levels.

Brazil nuts are rich in vitamin B, which can help stabilize blood-sugar levels by converting blood sugar to energy, and in thiamin, which helps prevent feelings of depression and fatigue. Thiamin is essential to the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which boosts mood and improves memory.

The antioxidant vitamin E in Brazil nuts contributes to heart health, while the monounsaturated (healthy) fat content increases satiety, keeping you feeling fuller longer.

Don’t be fooled; buckwheat is actually not wheat, but a seed in the rhubarb family. Containing eight essential amino acids, including high amounts of tryptophan, buckwheat is a good source of protein. Tryptophan is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Having an adequate amount of tryptophan in the diet can be important to help enhance mood and mental clarity.

Buckwheat is also high in vitamins E and B, calcium, and manganese. Since buckwheat is gluten free, it is considerably more alkaline forming than gluten, containing grains that help to restore balance to the body’s pH level. It is also a slow-release carbohydrate. Combined with a simple carbohydrate, buckwheat becomes one of the best endurance fuels available. Raw buckwheat can also be substituted for seeds in recipes to reduce fat content.

Pumpkin Seeds
Sometimes known as pepitas, these goodies are rich in B vitamins, vitamin E, zinc, and essential fatty acids, including oleic acid, omega-6, and the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant omega-3. Also rich in iron, a nutrient some people don’t get enough of, especially those who do not consume red meat. Rich in phytostesterols, these seeds help support prostate health in men due to their high magnesium and zinc properties. As men age, their levels of zinc tend to decline, which can lead to testosterone deficiency, erectile dysfunction, and enlargement of the prostate. Zinc can help reduce prostate inflammation and is essential in building seminal fluid and increasing sperm count. Pumpkin seeds have also been praised for their cholesterol-lowering properties.

Sunflower Sprouts
Sunflower sprouts are micro greens sprouted from sunflower seeds and harvested in the beginning stages of their growth. This is when the plants are the most nutrient dense, and enzyme rich. These crisp, fresh-tasting sprouts are rich in protein, vitamins (including B and D), and phytonutrients, which help protect against disease. When sprouting, the nutritional profile of sunflower sprouts can increase from 100 to 600 percent, making sprouts superior to any other leafy (macro) green. They’re higher in chlorophyll than any macro green, increasing the number of red blood cells that deliver oxygen to your cells. They also have amazing detoxification properties. They are extremely alkalizing, with several healing properties,  including blood purification, cancer prevention, improved circulation, and immune system strengthening. Eat these raw and as close to harvest as soon as possible for maximum nutritional benefit.

Shiitake Mushrooms
Rich in minerals, vitamins, polyphenols, and sterols that keep our immune system healthy and strong, shiitakes are one of the few foods that contain vitamin D. They are rich in beta glucans, (lentinan in particular), those polysaccharides that are among the strongest immune-boosting compounds around. They have strong anti-tumor properties, activate the immune system, and regulate disease-fighting white blood cells so that they’re ready to attack whatever comes their way. In addition to their pathogen-fighting power, shiitake mushrooms are beneficial in preventing cardiovascular disease. They help prevent white blood cells from building up and sticking to blood vessels in an inflamed environment, narrowing blood flow. Shiitakes also lower cholesterol.

Raw Honey
Although honey is higher on the glycemic index, raw honey (not to be confused with the processed honey found in most grocery stores) is loaded with nutrients. Raw honey is nutritionally superior to all other forms of honey, as it contains loads of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, and over 5,000 live enzymes. Raw honey is thick, cloudy in color, with a wax-like consistency. Raw honey has anti-microbial properties and is rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, and enzymes. Raw honey is one of nature’s great promoters of general health. It’s not surprising that honey in its raw form acts as a powerful immune booster in the body. It can help you fight off illness and disease and can give your digestive system a real kickstart.

Coconut is one of the most perfect foods. The fleshy meat is loaded with protein, fiber, and figure-friendly, energy-boosting fats, which are fantastic for your waistline. They help keep you fuller longer and your blood sugar in check, thereby keeping energy levels stable and going strong. Young coconuts contain a soft, gel-like meat, whereas the meat of mature coconuts is hard and fibrous. Health benefits tend to be greater in the young coconuts. The water inside is loaded with energy-boosting, hydrating electrolytes. Coconut water is nature’s best sports drink. It’s an exceptional source of electrolytes, similar to our own blood plasma, which makes for immediate hydration and nutrient absorption. In other words, every single part of the coconut provides energy benefits.

Egg yolks are one of the richest sources of Phosphatidylcholine, which is a precursor to acetylcholine production. For optimal mental function, one to two eggs per day can boost memory. The choline found in eggs can also reduce muscle inflammation, which causes age-related memory decline. Eggs are essential for women and women who are expecting. New research suggests that consuming eggs during pregnancy and feeding them to babies (when permitted) can enhance a child’s memory throughout life. Why? Eggs have high levels of choline, which theoretically optimizes the birth and death rate of nerve cells in the hippocampus. But eggs have more to recommend them than phosphatidylcholine. They also have high levels of tryptophan, which promotes the synthesis of serotonin and results in better long-term memory — as well as long-term happiness.

Compared to other types of legumes, lentils are relatively easy and quick to prepare. They are loaded with iron, protein, folate, fiber, and other vitamins and minerals. Lentils are rich source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. About a quarter of the fiber in lentils is soluble, which aids in lowering cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease, and keeping your digestive system healthy. Your body would absorb the energy slowly from the lentils due to the fiber content. Lentils contain more of the B vitamin folate than any other unfortified food. Lentils also deliver an impressive amount of blood-fortifying iron.

Sardines are rich in minerals and vitamins. Sardines are high in phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, and selenium, as well as a full complement of B vitamins.  Sardines are a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are the most important nutrients for your brain and for alleviating depression. In addition to their omega-3 benefits, sardines are rich in memory-boosting choline! They aid in the prevention of heart disease, prevent blood clots, reduce risk of age-related macular degeneration, have anti-cancer properties, strengthen bones, and support a healthy immune system, healthy skin, and insulin resistance. Since they are low on the food chain, sardines are very low in contaminants, such as mercury, as compared with other fish commonly eaten by humans.

Beets are rich in anthocyanin, a phytochemical antioxidant that gives veggies, berries, and other fruits their shade of red, blue, and purple. But anthocyanin protects the brain from oxidative damage and age-related memory decline. Studies show that it actually reverses age-related memory loss, and helps boost cognitive function as well. Beets are also an excellent source of folate, which is good for lots of things, like your brain. Low folate levels have been linked to cognitive decline and dementia in the elderly. Beets also “shine” in nitrates. Red beet juice has a lot of nitrates, which act as vasodilators, thereby increasing blood flow to the brain. The more oxygen-rich blood the brain gets, the better it is at processing information and fighting memory loss.

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