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  • Anne Crook, integrative nutrition health coach

Nourishing Foods to Improve your Mood - and Health!

Updated: Feb 19, 2021

Want to know the 3 best foods to eat to reduce stress, balance your mood, and revitalize your energy? Our Health Coach has you covered - read on for her advice!

As spring season approaches, I would like to introduce you to some wonderful foods to nourish yourself from the inside out. In light of the pandemic, it is especially important that we are incorporating these healing foods into our daily routine.

Given modern society, our bodies are often carrying too much of a toxic load and we have been in a state of deficiency for so long that we assume it’s normal. For example, having that “tired & wired” feeling where we depend on caffeine to get through the day, yet we’re unable to settle into deep restorative sleep at night that rejuvenates us for the following day. Living in this state often leaves us experiencing low moods, fatigue, irritability, anxiousness, insomnia, and general malaise. Not an ideal foundation for creating our best life.

So, how do we shift out of “surviving,” and begin truly THRIVING?

I have great news. The power to create thriving health lies right inside of us. This requires looking at ALL aspects of our lives, not just the food we eat, but also the other type of “lifestyle foods” that nourish our spirit on a deeper level. For example, the quality of our relationships, our sense of purpose, physical activity, and livelihood. These different aspects of our lifestyle play a huge role in creating vibrant health. However, I’d like to focus on some key nutritional foods that support your physiology, to reduce stress, balance your moods, and revitalize your energy – from the inside-out.

First, we must heal the gut.

As Hippocrates said, our gut is the foundation of all health and disease, and when we incorporate healing foods to nourish our gut, things begin to shift for the better. This begins through eating real whole foods that come from the Earth. For example, a large variety of fresh vegetables and fruits, raw nuts and seeds, legumes, and healthy Omega-3 fats. These are the nutrient-dense foods that nourish our bodies for greater health and well-being.

Start to think of FOOD AS MEDICINE.

There is no more powerful medicine than making good choices around food and lifestyle to create vitality, thriving moods, and joyful living.

Before diving in, I would like to emphasize the importance of “bio-individuality,” and how each person’s physiology is unique. Therefore, I encourage working with a professional, like me, to discover which foods are causing inflammation in your body and which of the healthy foods below will restore you to even greater vitality and fuel your healing process.

I will start with the Glorious Greens!

Their color is associated with spring, which is a time to renew and refresh our energy. They also reduce the demands on our digestive system, in addition to providing us with vital energy. When our bodies don’t have to process heavy foods and toxins, we feel energetic and invigorated. Leafy greens are densely packed with nutrients and oxygen, and are super high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, and zinc. They are also crammed full of fiber, protein, folic acid, chlorophyll, and many other micronutrients. Members of this royal green family include kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, arugula, mustard greens, spinach, beet greens and broccoli. Dark leafy greens also aid in strengthening the immune system, fighting depression, boosting our energy, and restoring gall bladder and kidney function. The benefits are endless!

Next, I would like to mention Raw & Fermented Foods.

Plant-based raw and fermented foods are loaded with enzymes for proper digestion, and give your body a rest from having to use all of its own enzymes for digesting food. The more raw food you eat, the more alive you feel, as these plant foods are living, and provide vital energy to your body. Having healthy digestion is directly connected to brain function and balanced moods. Did you know that 90% of serotonin (the same neurotransmitter targeted by most antidepressants) is produced in the gut? When you eat lots of raw foods, rich in enzymes, this allows for rejuvenation of cells, and creates more vibrant energy. Some raw foods are fermented, which means they are loaded with probiotics and microorganisms to nourish your gut. This makes absorption easier, so all those nutrients get delivered to your brain. Some examples of fermented foods are sauerkraut, raw cultured vegetables, coconut water kefir, and raw cultured yogurt. To incorporate more raw foods into your diet, you can include fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, sprouts, herbs, and seaweed. For seeds, try adding flax and chia seeds into your morning smoothie, or sprinkling raw pumpkin seeds onto your salads for a crunchy texture. These raw nuts and seeds contain healthy Omega-3 fats, and they are also packed with fiber, which is essential for healthy digestion. Because raw foods give your digestion a rest, they also reduce inflammation in the body, which is the leading cause of illness and dis-ease. So, with reduced inflammation, your body can return to its natural healing state for detoxification and vibrant health. Definitely worth taking note.

In addition to greens and raw/fermented foods, another excellent source of nutrient-dense foods are Whole Grains and Legumes.

For grains, you can eat quinoa, brown rice, millet, and amaranth, which are all gluten free. Try to avoid the processed foods that come in a package, as they are usually loaded with sugar and artificial chemicals, creating additional stress on the body. It is also best to avoid white rice when choosing your grains, as it creates a blood sugar spike, and causes many of the undesirable symptoms of blood sugar imbalance.

When choosing your legumes, great choices include lentils, adzuki beans, black beans, kidney and garbanzo beans. It is always best to buy your beans in bulk and soak them overnight before cooking. These whole grains and legumes are a great addition to our diet, as they are packed with protein and fiber. They also provide us more of the stable and grounding energy we need to feel balanced.

Obviously, there are many other nourishing foods I can share with you. However, this provides a great start to getting you on the right track. Incorporating these whole foods from the Earth will fuel your palette and well-being on so many levels. The good news is that you can start NOW to create greater health and vitality. It all starts with that first step.

I would love to support you in unraveling the stress from your life reclaiming vibrant health. I offer step by step guidance for slow, steady, and sustainable progress, and we get to be creative and have fun together in the process. Want to know more? Click here, and navigate to the Holistic Health Coaching icon on our Services Page.

May this coming spring be the beginning of your journey into thriving health and joyful living!

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