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15 Wonderful And Healthy Pizza Recipes

15 Wonderful And Healthy Pizza Recipes

Le’s be honest, people: who doesn’t love pizza?

The moreish, doughy crust; the stringy, incredibly satisfying cheese; the toppings that keep you coming back for more… pizzas are the ultimate indulgence and have their place on many a household table. However, for all their deliciousness, they sadly aren’t the healthiest option on the menu and they often don’t appear in healthy eating plans with good reason: the combination of trans fat-rich cheese, sugar- and carbohydrate-rich pizza crust, and often highly unreasonable (but oh-so tasty) toppings isn’t exactly conducive to a trim waistline! Well, rejoice: I’m here to tell you that even if you’re trying to watch your weight, the pizza ban is officially lifted!

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With a few tweaks in the crust and toppings, it is absolutely possible to make pizzas healthy — without taking away their delicious signature flavours. These 15 wonderful healthy pizza recipes are packed with nutrient-rich ingredients and taste so good that you won’t even miss your usual takeaway fare. Some of the recipes will even have you saying, “I can’t believe this isn’t real pizza!” Ready to tuck in?

The Pizzas with Healthy Toppings

We all love pizzas, but let’s be honest: unless you go out of your way to choose healthy ingredients, most toppings aren’t exactly conducive to a balanced, healthy diet. These delicious pizzas are different: the chicken Florentine flatbread pizza combines protein-rich chicken and spinach for a healthy party in your mouth, while the simple vegan pizza, the whole-wheat crust pizza with roasted vegetables and the butternut squash and kale pizza pile heart-healthy, fibre-rich vegetables high. The easy, cheesy healthy homemade pizza uses a simple French loaf as its base and lets you add all your favourite veggies — what more can you ask?

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1. Chicken Florentine Flatbread Pizza
Chicken Florentine Flatbread Pizza

    2. Healthy Homemade Pizza
    Healthy Homemade Pizza

      3. Simple Vegan Pizza
      Simple Vegan Pizza

        4. Butternut Squash and Kale Pizza
        Butternut Squash and Kale Pizza

          5. Roasted Vegetable Whole Wheat Pizza
          Roasted Veggie Whole Wheat Pizza

            The Pizzas with Healthy Crusts

            While the toppings definitely contribute to whether a pizza is healthy or not, the crust also plays an important role – a fact that the creators of the following delicious recipes have all understood! The flax and parmesan pizza crust offers a tasty, gluten-free alternative to the usual doughy offerings, while the chickpea pizza brings a subtle flavour to the table that perfectly complements the spinach and harissa. The ingenious low-carb cauliflower crust and the paleo pizza crust both offer all the taste, minus the heavy, bloat-inducing carbs, while the delicious Mediterranean quinoa pizza combines fibre and vegetable protein in one tasty, healthy crust.

            6. Low-Carb Flax and Parmesan Pizza Crust
            Low-Carb Flax and Parmesan Pizza Crust

              7. Chickpea Pizza with Harissa and Spinach
              Chickpea Pizza with Harissa and Spinach

                8. Low-Carb Cauliflower Pizza Crust
                Low-Carb Cauliflower Pizza Crust

                  9. Mediterranean Pizza with Gluten-Free Quinoa Crust
                  Mediterranean Quinoa Pizza

                    10. Paleo Pizza Crust
                    Paleo Pizza Crust

                      The Non-Pizza Pizzas

                      These delicious and über-healthy alternatives to pizzas taste like the real thing but take on a different shape to the delight both our tastebuds and eyes! Packed with protein and fibre thanks to the quinoa, these gluten-free quinoa pizza bites will have you coming back for more, while the stuffed portabella pizza offers all the nutrients of the humble mushroom, combined with authentic pizza flavours. Don’t let the fact that the dish is vegan deter you: you won’t be able to tell the difference!

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                      The high-protein no-crust pizza bites are a great option if you’re watching your carbohydrate intake (they are particularly well-suited to a high-fat ketogenic diet), as are the eggplant pizzas, which also add extra vitamins and fibre to the table thanks to the vegetable; and finally, the cauliflower pizza casserole is a heart-healthy, comforting version of your favourite Italian dish that’ll have you begging for seconds — without the bloated feeling! Dig in!

                      11. Quinoa Pizza Bites
                      Quinoa Pizza Bites

                        12. Easy Stuffed Portabella Pizza in a Cashew Basil Cheese Sauce
                        Easy Stuffed Portabello Pizza in a Cashew Basil Cheese Sauce

                          13. No-Crust Pizza Bites
                          No Crust Pizza Bites

                            14. Cauliflower Pepperoni Pizza Casserole
                            Pepperoni Pizza Cauliflower Casserole

                              15. Low Carb Eggplant Pizzas
                              Low-Carb Eggplant Pizzas

                                Which pizza will you be trying with your family? Please let us know in the comments below!

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                                Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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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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