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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 January 21, 2020

                    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

                    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                      Why You Need a Vision

                      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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                      How to Create Your Life Vision

                      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                      What Do You Want?

                      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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                      Some tips to guide you:

                      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                      • Give yourself permission to dream.
                      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                      Some questions to start your exploration:

                      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                      • What qualities would you like to develop?
                      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                      • What would you most like to accomplish?
                      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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                      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                      A few prompts to get you started:

                      • What will you have accomplished already?
                      • How will you feel about yourself?
                      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                      • What does your ideal day look like?
                      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                      • What would you be doing?
                      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                      • How are you dressed?
                      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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                      Plan Backwards

                      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                      • What important actions would you have had to take?
                      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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