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Quick And Easy: 12 of the Most Delicious Health Food Combinations

Quick And Easy: 12 of the Most Delicious Health Food Combinations

When different flavors complement each other the result can be a pure delight for the tongue. But did you know nutrients can also be matched, boosting your body with perfect synergy?

Get the greatest health kick for each delicious bite with these 12 health food combinations!

1. Cancer Kicking Guacamole – Avocado & Tomatoes

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    Thank the Aztecs for guacamole. Not only did they create a tasty dip but also an elixir for good health.

    Tomatoes are packed with a cancer-kicking antioxidant called lycopene. Avocados boost the body’s absorption of lycopene, as well as simply being a supreme source of healthy fats. Together in guacamole, they double down on cancer-prevention power.

    It’s simple to make at home with three easy steps:

    1.  Mash 3 peeled avocados in a medium bowl
    2. Add a lime’s worth of juice, half a diced onion, 1 teaspoon of minced garlic, 2 tomatoes and 3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
    3. A final pinch of cayenne pepper can be added if you think you can handle it!

    2. Healing Spice – Turmeric & Black Pepper

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      Turmeric is known as the healing spice thanks to an amazing antioxidant called curcumin. It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antiseptic! If you are sick or injured these properties will contribute to improved recovery speeds.

      It’s difficult for the body to fully absorb curcumin, but combine it with piperine from black pepper, and the bioavailability of curcumin skyrockets up to 1000 times!

      You can add this amazing spice of life to almost any dish that requires an extra kick. It’s a top choice for spicing up grilled chicken breasts!

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      3. Chocolatey Treat – Dark Chocolate & Apples

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        Yes, you heard right, chocolate apples can actually be healthy! Though not all chocolate is created equal. Dark chocolate has lower sugar content and a higher concentration of antioxidant filled cocoa. This also includes catechin, a powerful heart function booster that exceeds the powers of green tea!

        Apple skins contain a wonderful flavonoid called quercetin. It’s highly anti-inflammatory and can even prevent blockages/clots in your arteries. Once paired up, these two will boost blood circulation and heart health in perfect harmony.

        When it comes to dessert time, dip a rosy red apple in dark chocolate guilt free!

        4. Healthy Skin & Hair – Sweet Potato & Coconut Oil

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          Usually, chips and fries are considered devishly unhealthy snacks. But these sweet potato chips baked in coconut oil might actually improve your complexion!

          Sweet potatoes are a highly nutritious slow-release carbohydrate. They are also bursting with Vitamin A, essential for hair and skin maintenance. Since it’s fat soluble, the absorption is greatly enhanced when taken with a fat source. So coconut oil is an ideal candidate as a natural fat source.

          Snack your way to silky hair and smooth skin sweet chips by making these at home:

          1. Peel and slice a couple of sweet potatoes
          2. Apply a healthy helping of coconut oil
          3. Bake for around 20 minutes, longer if you prefer them crispy!

          5. Muscle Growth Toast – Wholemeal Bread & Peanut Butter

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            Eating large amounts of a single protein source may seem ample for muscle recovery, yet recent research indicates otherwise. Since the body can only digest and absorb a certain amount of nutrients, stacking them up isn’t that effective.

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            Instead, look for proteins that complement each other and increase bioavailability. For example, the amino acid profiles of peanut butter and wholemeal bread match up perfectly. With a completed spectrum, protein synthesis can be increased by as much as 50%!

            So for a convenient hit of protein, go for thick sliced bread with a generous spread of peanut butter!

            6. Super Antioxidants – Lemon & Green Tea

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              To cover the all extraordinary benefits of drinking green tea, it would require an entire article. It’s widely recognized as rich in brain and body boosting antioxidants, making an ideal coffee replacement.

              But here is a little-known secret, you can maximize your absorption of these amazing nutrients with lemon. The potent shot of vitamin C multiples your body’s intake of heart preserving catechin by 5 times!

              Supercharge your green tea with fresh sliced lemon, or squeeze in the juice for the best results!

              7. Workout Recovery – Bananas & Yogurt

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                To build muscle effectively, you need to allow ample recovery time between workouts. However, you can use certain foods to speed up bodily recovery, allowing you to train frequently and effectively.

                Bananas are an athlete’s prime choice of carbohydrate, rich in amino acids and glucose. All of these nutrients are vital for muscle repair, but their absorption can be doubled by the presence of zinc. Yogurt happens to be a rich source of this mineral, perfect for doubling up your muscle fuel.

                Fortify your body’s recovery by slicing up a banana or two in a bowl of yogurt.

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                8. All Day Energy – Oatmeal & Orange Juice

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                  Oatmeal is already an awesome source of morning energy and the essential mineral iron. It reinforces oxygen transportation, boosting both muscle and brain function.

                  Our bodies cannot easily absorb iron from a plant-based source such as oatmeal. However, in the presence of Vitamin C absorption is up to 6 times more effective. An absolutely abundant source is freshly squeezed orange juice.

                  So, maximize the energy kick from your morning oatmeal with a glass of orange juice!

                  9. Bone Strengthening – Asparagus & Parmesan

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                    Asparagus is a potent green vegetable, it’s packed with healthy nutrients and fiber. Inulin, in particular, helps the body to balance levels of good bacteria. On the other hand, Parmesan cheese is an ideal source for bone-toughening calcium.

                    Boil, grill or fry up some asparagus, then top it off with plenty of grated Parmesan. Your bones and teeth will thank you for it!

                    10. Fast Protein Delivery – Eggs & Ginger

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                      A champion’s breakfast would not be complete without eggs. They provide healthy fats and protein, making them great for muscle recovery and growth. This makes them ideal for waking up the body and priming it for recovery or performance.

                      When ingested, ginger stimulates minor contractions in your stomach muscles. This boosts protein digestion and speeds the absorption process in the intestines. Thus, essential nutrients and protein are available for the body to use quicker.

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                      Cook up your eggs up any way you like, just make sure you add sliced ginger to shuttle protein into your body!

                      11. Juicy Steak Perfection – Steak & Rosemary

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                        For the die-hard meat lovers amongst us, there is nothing more satisfy than grilling up a steak. It’s a prime chunk of protein and fat, but as an animal based source, it is not without downsides. Grilling and flaming will produce carcinogens in red meat, specifically, HCAs, that can contribute to cancer.

                        Thankfully, these risks can be mitigated by using a handful of rosemary. It’s full of antioxidants, rosmarinic and carnosic acid. When it is added to a meal, HCA absorption is reduced to minimal levels.

                        So next time you fancy a juicy steak, be sure to spice it up with delightful rosemary!

                        12. Heart Health Booster – Salmon & Garlic

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                          Cholesterol levels have long been linked with heart health. Further research now points toward the balance of healthy HDL and unhealthy LDL.

                          Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. It helps balance the cholesterol scale favorably and significantly boosts heart function.

                          Garlic’s strong taste also brings protection against infection, reduces blood pressure, total cholesterol, and contributes to the prevention of blood clots.

                          For a delicious meal that bolsters your heart health, grill up a salmon steak and marinate it with a pinch of garlic!

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                          Published on November 14, 2018

                          Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                          Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                          With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                          For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                          In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                          Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                          Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                          It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                          For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                          Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                          Symptoms of Fatigue

                          Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                          • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                          • mental blocks
                          • lack of motivation
                          • headache
                          • dizziness
                          • muscle weakness
                          • slowed reflexes and responses
                          • impaired decision-making and judgement
                          • moodiness, such as irritability
                          • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                          • reduced immune system function
                          • blurry vision
                          • short-term memory problems
                          • poor concentration
                          • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                          Causes of Fatigue

                          The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                          • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                          • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                          • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                          • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                          Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                          Medical Causes of Fatigue

                          If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                          Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                          Anemia

                          Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                          Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                          There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                          Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                          Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                          This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                          Diabetes

                          Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                          Sleep Apnea

                          Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                          Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                          Thyroid disease

                          An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                          Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                          • Lack of sleep
                          • Too much sleep 
                          • Alcohol and drugs 
                          • Sleep disturbances 
                          • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                          • Poor diet 

                          Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                          • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                          • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                          • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                          • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                          Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                          Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                          • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                          • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                          • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                          How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                          Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                          1. Tell The Truth

                          Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                          To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                          Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                          The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                          One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                          • How you feel
                          • What time of day it is
                          • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                          • How your mind and body reacts

                          This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                          2. Reduce Your Commitments

                          When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                          If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                          When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                          Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                          3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                          If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                          Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                          If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                          Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                          Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                          4. Express More Gratitude

                          Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                          It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                          Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                          5. Focus On Yourself

                          Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                          There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                          But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                          We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                          6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                          Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                          Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                          The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                          Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                          7. Take a Power Nap

                          When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                          Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                          This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                          8. Take More Exercise

                          The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                          Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                          The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                          You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                          9. Get More Quality Sleep

                          To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                          Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                          My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                          10. Improve Your Diet

                          Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                          Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                          On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                          To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                          Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                          Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                          11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                          Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                          When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                          Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                          My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                          12. Get Hydrated

                          Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                          Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                          If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                          The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                          The Bottom Line

                          These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                          If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                          Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                          Reference

                          [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                          [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                          [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                          [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                          [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                          [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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