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9 Superfoods To Fight Inflammation And Boost Your Mood

9 Superfoods To Fight Inflammation And Boost Your Mood

Food plays a crucial role in not only how our bodies function physically, but also has an impact on our mental health as well. It may be tempting to reach for a packaged snack or fast food dinner; however, the negative outcomes far outweigh the positive. Putting a little effort into what goes into your body has good long-term effects that will keep your body healthy and happy.

Here are nine foods that keep your body both physically and mentally on point.

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    1. Yogurt

    Scientific research shows that yogurt can increase the levels of serotonin in your body. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter responsible for boosting your mood and fighting off bouts of depression. Yogurt is also important for improving gut health, which is important since that is where a majority of the serotonin in your body is found. Improving gut health also allows for less inflammation in your body.

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      2. Turkey

      This lean protein is not only a healthier meat option, but it also contains beneficial chemicals like tryptophan and selenium. Tryptophan produces serotonin, while selenium helps reduce inflammation in your body and minimizes depression.

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        3. Asparagus

        This summertime veggie is a particularly rich source of folic acid and therefore a natural mood booster. This green superfood has been linked to lowering mild depression and boosting energy. Folic acid also has been known to help keep inflammation at bay.

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          4. Dark leafy green vegetables

          Spinach, collard greens, chard, and kale are all great providers of magnesium. This is known to have mood-boosting effects by increasing the levels of serotonin in your body. Magnesium is also known to help decrease inflammation that can be the leading cause of chronic illnesses.

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            5. Roasted cherry tomatoes

            Within the bright red skin of tomatoes is phytonutrient lycopene, which helps with combating inflammatory compounds that are linked to depression. Cherry tomatoes are recommended over regular-sized ones because they are smaller in size and therefore you are likely to eat more, and get provided with more effective anti-inflammatory fighting qualities. Why roast them? According to research, cooked tomatoes increase the lycopene your body will take in during consumption.

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              6. Wild salmon

              Omega-3 fats that are commonly found in salmon are known to prevent depression. The human body cannot produce its own omega-3 fats, so it is crucial to get it from outside food sources in order to maintain overall mental and physical health. These fats also help to minimize low-level inflammation throughout the body and brain.

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                7. Dark chocolate

                Research has proven that dark chocolate (in small doses) can act as an excellent mood booster, as well as improving brain cognition by increasing blood flow to the brain with the flavonols found in this sweet treat. Dark cocoa has been also known to help decrease the stress hormone cortisol, as well as help cut down pro-inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein. 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate 70 percent or higher is the recommended daily amount.

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                  8. Green tea

                  This healthy beverage has been utilized around the world for centuries because of its many healing properties. It is also a great drink to start the morning with or have for a midday energy boost. Green tea has a compound called theanine, which is an amino acid that helps reduce stress and relax muscles. The catechin polyphenols in this tea help with monitoring inflammation throughout the body. It also has the added benefit of increasing your metabolism and increasing your overall energy.

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                    9. Chickpeas

                    Known for its healing properties like tryptophan, folate, and vitamin B6 that help boost your mood and fight inflammation throughout your body. Chickpeas are also known for having the trace mineral manganese that helps with energy production, regulating your metabolism, and providing an antioxidant defense.

                    Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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                    Last Updated on September 18, 2020

                    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                    Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

                    Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

                    1. Exercise Daily

                    It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

                    If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

                    Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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                    If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

                    2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

                    Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

                    One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

                    This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

                    3. Acknowledge Your Limits

                    Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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                    Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

                    Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

                    4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

                    Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

                    The basic nutritional advice includes:

                    • Eat unprocessed foods
                    • Eat more veggies
                    • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
                    • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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                    Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

                      5. Watch Out for Travel

                      Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

                      This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

                      If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

                      6. Start Slow

                      Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

                      If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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                      7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

                      Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

                      My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

                      If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

                      I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

                      Final Thoughts

                      Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

                      Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

                      More Tips on Getting in Shape

                      Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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