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10 Guilt-Free Comfort Foods To Warm Your Heart In Winter

10 Guilt-Free Comfort Foods To Warm Your Heart In Winter

Everything has its advantages and disadvantages. Even in nature. Just like summer has lovely, sunny, long days, it also has humidity, sweat-inducing heatwaves, and the temperature rising to an uncomfortable peak. Meanwhile, winter may be gloomy, dark, cold, with short days, yet, festivals, food, and coming home to a warm house are appealing characteristics of the season. If you live with your family, or partner, this season is the best season to snuggle. Snuggling your way to sleep does not only make you feel warm, it also helps to increase bonding.

Talking about bonding, and keeping warm, there is another way to enjoy the chilly days, whether you live with your family, partner, or alone.

Comfort food!

There are some foods that will surely warm your heart in the winter time, and you can eat them guilt-free because these comfort foods are healthy, and suitable for those on diets. Here is a list of guilt-free comfort foods to warm your heart this winter.

1. Sausage and Broccoli Rabe with Polenta

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1)sausage-and-broccoli-rabe-with-polenta

    Winter and spicy food are a great combination. It keeps your body warm for sure. This Italian dish of goodness has a combination of sausages and broccoli. It is cooked in chicken stock, with a dash of dry white wine cooked in thick tomato puree. Perfect Italiano fusion.

    2. Zesty Vegetable Lasagna

    2)vegielasagna

      This recipe has two kinds of cheese, your favorite vegetables, and lots of them too! You can add penne pasta, or no-boil lasagna noodles, and different kinds of herbs. What a perfect weekend dinner for your family, and friends.

      3. Baked Potato Eggs

      fried-eggs_300

        This is a very rich, cheesy meal, that is perfect for a lazy weekend brunch. Not much of a hassle, this comfort food is so tasty that even a person on a diet would gobble it down without feeling guilty.

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        4. Iraqi Lamb and Eggplant Stew with Pitas

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          A hot lamb stew cooked using Middle Eastern techniques, this recipe is a delicious way to end the night. This hearty meal is best served with pita breads. The union of tender and juicy lamb, with ingredients including eggplant, yellow split peas, red chilies, and garam masala is just tantalizing!

          5. Creamy Spinach Casserole

          54eaeb9e4b88b_-_spinach-casserole-de-99545326

            This spinach recipe has cheese, cream, bacon, lemon, and lemon zest, as well as other ingredients. If you are health conscious, avoid the cream. Otherwise, it is a hearty meal that you can eat alone.

            6. Braised Short Ribs with Parsnips

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            braised-short-ribs-

              The rich flavored short ribs in this recipe are braised in red wine, tomatoes, and herbs. The meat needs to be absolutely tender, and the seasoning should be oozing. You can have this dish with rice, mashed potatoes, or even egg noodles.

              7. Chicken Noodle Soup

              Chicken-Noodle-Soup

                Nothing beats chicken noodle soup to keep you warm. The recipe is very easy, and takes a very short time to cook. It is absolutely suitable for those who are on strict diets.

                8. Butternut Squash Enchiladas

                Butternut-Squash-Enchiladas

                  One of my favorites, butternut squash is an ideal healthy vegetable. This recipe may raise eyebrows, but once you make it and taste it for yourself, you won’t believe how amazing it is! This is also a perfect complete meal for a vegetarian.

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                  9. Cranberry-Streusel Corn Muffin

                  cranberry-muffin-cookbook-1109-de

                    This simple cranberry-streusel muffin is a fantastic dessert item which you can serve after meal. Alternatively, you can eat this any time you want and children will thoroughly enjoy it too!

                    10. Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Brownie

                    Peanut-Butter-Cup-Fudge-Brownies

                      This is truly sinful comfort food. The combination of peanut butter, chocolate, and coffee are more than enough to tease your taste buds. Do not forget to try this one at home- you will totally forget the bitter cold outside.

                      These comfort foods will surely make your heart warm. You should at least try one of these recipes, if not more. I hope you have enjoyed this article as much as I have enjoyed writing it for you.

                      Have a warm winter, everyone!

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                      Last Updated on February 21, 2019

                      Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

                      Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

                      Your brain is the most intricate and powerful organ in your entire body. It’s essentially a super-computer with brain power like a Ferrari.

                      If you have a Ferrari, would you put cheap gasoline in it? Of course not. You want to put in high-octane performance fuel to get the most out of your investment.

                      When it comes to the brain, many people are looking for the top foods that will supercharge the brainpower to help focus better, think more clearly and have better brain health.

                      In this article, we’ll look at the top 9 brain foods that will help create supercharge your brain with energy and health:

                      1. Salmon

                      Salmon has long been held as a healthy brain food, but what makes this fish so valuable for your brain health?

                      It’s important to understand that your brain is primarily made up of fat. Roughly 60% of your brain is fat. One of the most important fats that the brain uses as a building block for healthy brain cells is omega-3’s.

                      Omega-3’s are essential for building a healthy brain but one of the most important omega-3’s for your brain is DHA. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) forms nearly two-thirds of the omega-3’s found in your brain.[1]

                      Omega-3’s and DHA in particular help form the protective coating around our neurons. The better quality this coating is, the more efficient and effective our brain cells can work, allowing our brain power to work at full capacity.

                      Studies have shown that being deficient in DHA can affect normal brain development in children, which is why so many infant formulas and children’s supplements are beginning to include DHA.

                      Being deficient in DHA as an adult can cause focus and attention problems, mood swings, irritability, fatigue and poor sleep.

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                      2. Blueberries

                      Blueberries top the list as one of the most beneficial fruits to maximize your brain health and performance.

                      Blueberries have some of the highest content of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, than any other fruit, which helps protect the brain from stress and promote healthy brain aging.

                      Blueberries antioxidant content also help reduce inflammation, which allows the brain to maintain healthy energy levels.

                      Blueberries have begun to receive attention for their connection to brain performance.[2] Studies have demonstrated that eating blueberries on a regular basis can not only improve brain health but also brain performance as well including working memory.[3]

                      Blueberries not only taste great but are low in calories, high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.

                      3. Turmeric

                      Turmeric is a very impressive spice that has well-researched and proven to have tremendous benefits for your brain. Turmeric’s main compound that benefits the brain is called curcumin, which is responsible for turmerics bright yellow appearance.

                      Curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties.[4]

                      Curcumin increases the production and availability of two important neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters involved with happiness, motivation, pleasure, and reward.

                      Curcumin has been well documented to have powerful anti-depressive effects. In one study, it was found to be as effective for depression as popular medications such as SSRI’s like Prozac.[5]

                      Curcumin has also been shown to:

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                      • Increase blood flow to the brain.[6]
                      • Increase BDNF production, a powerful stimulator of neuroplasticity.[7]
                      • Increase DHA availability and synthesis in the brain.[8]
                      • Increase antioxidant levels in the brain to prevent brain aging and inflammation.[9]

                      4. Coffee

                      Coffee is the wonderful elixir of energy that many people cherish every single morning. The biggest reason people drink coffee is to get a dose of caffeine.

                      Caffeine is a natural neurological stimulant that not only gives you energy but also prevents adenosine, a neurotransmitter involved with feeling tired, from binding in the brain.

                      Many people are surprised to find that coffee actually contains a large quantity of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are important for reducing inflammation in the brain and keep your brain energized. The antioxidants in coffee also provide a neuroprotective effect, protecting the brain from stress and damage. [R]

                      Coffee can also:

                      • Improve alertness and concentration.[10]
                      • Help with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.[11]
                      • Reduce your risk of depression.[12]
                      • Improve your memory.
                      • Provide short-term boost in athletic performance.[13]

                      5. Broccoli

                      What was your least favorite food as a kid growing up?

                      Most likely, broccoli was your answer.

                      Broccoli may not have been your top choice, but it might be the top choice for your brain.

                      Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown to promote the proliferation and survival of brain cells by reducing inflammation and boosting production of BDNF. It has also been shown to boost neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells.[14]

                      Broccoli is also loaded with important nutrients Vitamin K and Folate. Vitamin K plays a vital role in protecting brain cells.[15] Folate plays a crucial role in detoxification and reducing inflammation in the brain.

                      6. Bone broth

                      Bone broth wasn’t just created to combine with soups, you can actually drink bone broth by itself.

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                      Drinking bone broth has become one of the biggest trends in the health and wellness industry and for good reason. Bone broth isn’t actually a new thing. Bone broth has been used for centuries as a healing tonic to promote health and longevity.

                      Much of the nutritional benefits and value of bone broth comes from its substantial vitamin and mineral content. Primarily calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

                      Your gut is called your second brain for a reason. Research continually shows that there is a direct and indirect connection between your gut and your brain. Your gut also houses and stores many important brain compounds involved with optimal brain performance. Therefore the health of your gut is vitally important for your brain health and performance.

                      Bone broth has become a go-to tool for helping heal the gut and provide the gut with the vital nutrient and resources it needs to heal and perform optimally.

                      With the vast amounts of nutrients that bone broth contains, it makes the list as a go-to food for your brain health.

                      Look for high quality, organic bone broth for the best results.

                      7. Walnuts

                      Walnuts are one of the top choices of nuts for brain health. Walnuts also look similar to a brain.

                      Amongst the wide variety of nuts available, walnuts contain the highest amounts of the important omega-3 DHA. DHA, as seen above, is a critical building block for a healthy brain.

                      Walnuts also contain high amounts of antioxidants, folate, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which help to lower inflammation.

                      Melatonin in walnuts is an important nutrient for regulating your sleep. Having low amounts of melatonin can make it challenging to get good quality sleep and getting poor quality sleep can dramatically impair brain health and performance.

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                      8. Eggs

                      For years, eggs were put on the nutritional naughty list; but now, eggs are finally getting the credit they deserve. Eggs can provide a tremendous boost to your brain health and longevity.

                      Eggs, particularly the yolks, contain a compound called choline. Choline is essential for building the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine plays an important role in mood, memory, and intelligence.

                      Egg yolks contain some of the highest quantities of choline. This is very important because low levels of choline can lead to low levels of acetylcholine, which in turn can cause increased inflammation, brain fog, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.

                      9. Dark chocolate

                      You’re about to love chocolate even more because chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is great for your brain.

                      Chocolate boosts levels of endorphins, your brains “feel good” chemicals. This is why you feel so good eating chocolate.[16]

                      Chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain which can help improve memory, attention, focus, and reaction time.[17]

                      Dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium, which has been coined “natures valium” for its ability to calm and relax the brain.

                      Lastly, dark chocolate has one of the highest antioxidant profiles out of any other food, including popular superfoods like acai berries, blueberries, or pomegranates.[18]

                      Conclusion

                      Your brain is a high performing organ and it uses quite a lot of energy, roughly 20% of the bodies energy demands.

                      In order to maintain a healthy brain, you need the right fuel to ensure that your brain has all the nutrients it needs to perform as well as adapt to the stress of life.

                      If you want to keep your brain performing well for a lifetime, then you want to make sure you are including as many of these brain health foods as possible.

                      More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: DHA Effects in Brain Development and Function
                      [2] Canadian Science Publishing: Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation
                      [3] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children.
                      [4] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin: the Indian solid gold.
                      [5] Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.: Turmeric, the Golden Spice
                      [6] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effect of combined treatment with curcumin and candesartan on ischemic brain damage in mice.
                      [7] Science Direct: Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB
                      [8] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders.
                      [9] PLOS: A Chemical Analog of Curcumin as an Improved Inhibitor of Amyloid Abeta Oligomerization
                      [10] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans
                      [11] American Academy of Neurology: A Cup of Joe May Help Some Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
                      [12] American Academy of Neurology: AAN 65th Annual Meeting Abstract
                      [13] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of caffeine on the metabolic and catecholamine responses to exercise in 5 and 28 degrees C.
                      [14] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Hyperammonemia induces glial activation, neuroinflammation and alters neurotransmitter receptors in hippocampus, impairing spatial learning: reversal by sulforaphane
                      [15] Oxford Academic: Vitamin K and the Nervous System: An Overview of its Actions
                      [16] Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D: Chocolate and Mood Disorders
                      [17] Health Magazine: Chocolate can do good things for your heart, skin and brain
                      [18] Chemistry Central Journal: Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products

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