Nutrition Stripped

By | December 24, 2018

Nutrition Strippedhttps://nutritionstripped.com Reliable nutrition and health education, made simple and for real life.Fri, 21 Dec 2018 16:10:01 +0000en-UShourly1https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.9Why Is Fiber Important For Gut Health?https://nutritionstripped.com/why-is-fiber-important-for-gut-health/ https://nutritionstripped.com/why-is-fiber-important-for-gut-health/#respondFri, 21 Dec 2018 06:00:37 +0000https://nutritionstripped.com/?p=57249Do you know why it’s so important to eat enough fiber?

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]]>Why is fiber important for gut health? Learn more about what fiber is.

Fiber is found in the majority of whole foods we eat from vegetables, fruits, to legumes and grains. But why is fiber important for gut health, digestion, and our overall health? Read more about this important part of your diet.

What Is Fiber?

Fiber, or called dietary fiber, is a plant-based carbohydrate that can’t be broken down into sugar molecules. Notice how it’s only found in plant-based sources? Animal products such as dairy, fish, chicken, fats don’t contain fiber.

Fiber is found in whole plant-based foods and acts like a broom that’s gently brushing out your intestines. Fiber is a crucial part of your diet promoting healthy digestion and other health benefits like heart health and reducing the risk of certain types of cancer.

Why Do We Need To Eat Fiber?

Digestive health

There are many health benefits to eating enough fiber, particularly with our digestive system. Fiber acts to slow the rate of digestion, which can slow the rate of sugar being absorbed in the bloodstream, creating a vehicle for stabilizing blood sugars.

Eating whole foods rich in fiber, like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains which are also good sources of carbohydrates, will keep your blood sugars from rising too fast. Read more here about why it’s important for our health to maintain blood sugar balance without spikes and falls with our glucose levels.

Another digestion benefit to eating enough fiber in your diet is the movement of your intestines. This isn’t just important for maintaining regular bowel movements and preventing constipation, it also plays a role in your body signaling that you’re full.

Fiber, especially insoluble fiber, acts like a little broom which sweeps your intestines and colon of bacteria, build up in your intestines, and can reduce your risk for colon cancer. If you’re curious about how to know what “normal” bowel movements are, read this article.

Health benefits

In addition to providing digestion health benefits, eating enough fiber is good for your entire body! We know the majority of our immune system lies within our gut so it’s so important we take care of our gut health with eating enough probiotic-rich foods or prebiotic foods that promote healthy bacteria, regular bowel movements, regulate blood sugars, and better nutrient absorption.

Fiber plays a role in heart health — in a nutshell when you digest food it requires bile acids which are mostly made up of cholesterol.

Your liver pulls cholesterol from the bloodstream to create bile acids which can reduce the amount of LDL. Remember, LDL is the cholesterol more closely associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease so it’s important to pay attention to both your LDL and HDL.

Fiber also plays a role in cancer prevention or reducing the risk for certain types of cancer.

What Is FIber | Nutrition Stripped

Types Of Fiber

In general, there are a few types of fiber called soluble and insoluble.

Soluble

Soluble fiber dissolves in water. As it moves through your digestive system it’s fermented by bacteria and it’s typically hydrophilic meaning it loves water. This type of fiber absorbs water and becomes gel-like. Remember making chia seed pudding? Chia seeds are a great source of soluble fiber!

Soluble fiber, in particular, can reduce cholesterol, regulate blood sugars, and can improve overall digestive and immune health.

Examples of soluble fiber include beans, most vegetables, avocado, sweet potato, dried figs, flax seed, chia seeds, pears, apricots, psyllium husk, and more.

Insoluble

Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water so as it goes through your digestive system it doesn’t change. Meaning, it doesn’t absorb water like soluble fiber and become gel-like, instead, it stays the same and like soluble fiber, it can also be fermented by bacteria in the colon.

Insoluble fiber promotes regular bowel movements since it contributes to the bulk of the stool, speeds up the elimination of waste through the colon, and maintains pH of the intestines.

Many whole foods that contain insoluble fiber also contain soluble fiber. Examples of insoluble fiber are bran cereals, beans, lentils, most whole grains, vegetables like okra, corn, and more.

Fiber supplements

A note on fiber supplements. You might be thinking, well I saw a commercial about adding powdered fiber to my water so I can make sure I eat enough fiber and reap the benefits in an easy way. First things first, if you can consume fiber from whole food sources, this is the best possible option.

We are still learning how whole foods work synergistically from the different nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber types within one whole food. Eating whole foods as your main source of fiber instead of supplements also promotes a healthy relationship with food, encourages cooking healthy, and challenges you to practice what you’re learning right now!

Fiber supplements really should be a last resort after you’ve exhausted consuming whole food rich in fiber and/or if you have a health condition per your doctor that requires you to consume them frequently. If you do reach for a fiber supplement, be sure to check in with your dietitian to make sure which option is the best for you. Always look for organic varieties, supplement companies that are USP certified, and follow the directions of your dietitian or doctor in taking them.

How much do you need to eat daily?

Everyone is different in terms of their unique needs for fiber — in general 30-38g of fiber per day is the goal for obtaining the most health benefits noted above. Some people thrive on higher intakes while some due to certain health conditions require a little less.

Recipes Rich In Fiber

All our recipes on nutritionstripped.com are made of whole foods, are rich in fiber and overall nutrient-density. But these are our most popular and fiber-rich recipes if you’re looking to boost your fiber intake today:

Contribute!

What are your go-to whole food sources of fiber? Did you know that fiber plays such an important role in your overall health outside of maintaining healthy digestion? Share below in the comments and continue the conversation on Instagram #nutritionstripped

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]]>https://nutritionstripped.com/why-is-fiber-important-for-gut-health/feed/05 Ways to Support Your Immune Systemhttps://nutritionstripped.com/5-ways-to-support-your-immune-system/ https://nutritionstripped.com/5-ways-to-support-your-immune-system/#respondWed, 19 Dec 2018 06:00:00 +0000https://nutritionstripped.com/?p=55774We can all benefit from supporting our immune system — check out these 5 ways to support your immune system. Whether it’s a busy season, cold season, stressful season, etc., our immune systems can take a hit if we aren’t prioritizing our health and getting the nutrients our bodies need in order to optimally support […] Read More

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]]>We can all benefit from supporting our immune system — check out these 5 ways to support your immune system.

Whether it’s a busy season, cold season, stressful season, etc., our immune systems can take a hit if we aren’t prioritizing our health and getting the nutrients our bodies need in order to optimally support our immune system.

Our bodies are made up of complex, working systems and all of those systems rely on one another to function properly. That means when we neglect our health in one area, it’s likely impacting other areas of our health. This is particularly true in regards to our immune system.

Everything from how we eat to how we exercise and manage stress impacts our immune health.

These are 5 simple steps you can take today to help improve your immune system.

1. Take Care Of Your Gut

It’s no secret that what we eat has a significant impact on our health and it’s been shown that gut health can influence other areas of our health, like our immune systems. The gut microbiome “trains” our immune systems by communicating with our cells about how to respond to infection so having a healthy gut is imperative to overall immune system health.

Our digestive system is home to a lot of bacteria. In fact, our bodies contain around 3-5 pounds of bacteria in our digestive system and the bacteria cells in our body even outnumber human cells 10 to 1?**

Our digestive systems are also home to yeast and it is important to maintain a good balance between the bacteria and the yeast present for our digestive systems to function at their normal level.

So how do you support your body for better gut health? First, check with your dietitian or doctor so they can get you on a nutrition and lifestyle plan that will support your unique needs if you ever need any help just email me or apply for our coaching.

Otherwise, try incorporating more fermented foods into your diet like kimchi, kefir, and kombucha that may promote a healthy gut environment. If you’re eating the Standard American Diet, it’s likely you’re not getting enough probiotic-rich food to support a healthy gut.

Another option I recommend to most of my clients to support overall gut health is to add in a daily probiotic to supplement their diet.

If you’re curious on what probiotic type you should use, first check with your dietitian, otherwise in general look for a company that has clear manufacturing practices, potency, and multiple strains of bacteria in the probiotic that have been shown via clinical research to help support gut health.

One probiotic to check out to see if it’s right for you is New Chapter’s Probiotic All-Flora. It’s a combination of probiotics and beneficial yeast that work to replenish good bacteria and reduce problematic yeast, prebiotics that acts as fuel for the probiotics, and postbiotics to boost probiotic activity.

Another thing to look for is the other ingredients that make up the supplement — New Chapter probiotics are non-GMO, gluten-free, and they test to verify each clinically studied strain at the DNA level.

2. Hydrate

Like gut health, staying hydrated has a huge impact on our overall health, but how does hydration directly impact our immune systems?

For starters, drinking water helps deliver oxygen throughout your entire working body which helps all of the systems in the body to function properly.

Water also helps our body do what it already does best, detox, by flushing unwanted toxins from the body (i.e. urination) and transports the nutrients (particularly water-soluble vitamins) from our food which keeps our cells healthy.

If drinking water seems like a task and hard for you to do, try incorporating warming liquids like hot tea, broths, or soups. They’re super comforting and can even help you to relax.

3. Get Moving

Exercise can be beneficial for both your mental health and physical health. In fact, keeping your body moving regularly is an important factor in maintaining a healthy immune system.

It’s been shown that that one 20-minute session of moderate exercise can stimulate the immune system, producing an anti-inflammatory cellular response.

Not to mention sweating through our skin, which is one of our largest detoxification organs, is also beneficial.

If you’re already under the weather, skip your regular workout. Instead, focus on light movement. Even just small stretches or getting up of the couch can help keep your lymphatic system moving.

4. Rest

We talk about this often at NS, but it’s important to know your limits. If you feel like you need some extra rest, listen to your body and give in to that feeling as much as you are able to. Getting the proper amount of sleep (7-8 hours a night) is vital for the body to rebuild, restore, and keep the immune system healthy.

When we sleep at night, we are maintaining our brain health which in turn helps the rest of our bodily functions. The strength of the synapses in the brain are able to restore themselves each night when you sleep which helps them to deal with and process the following day’s activities.

If you’re struggling to get your eight hours in, take a look at this article where we break down tips and tricks to establishing an evening routine and improving sleep.

5. Focus on Stress Management

When we neglect our mental health, our immune systems can take a hit. This is because both our mental and emotional health play a key role in our physical health and immune systems.

What exactly is stress? Stress is our brain’s’ reaction to any changes in our lives that demand our physical, mental, or emotional energy.

When experiencing stress, our brains release stress hormones called cortisol that put us into fight or flight mode. When cortisol is released, our bodies essentially stop functioning normally and we go into survival mode.

The energy that our bodies would typically use to keep all of our bodily systems functioning properly is instead used to fight those stress hormones. The release of those stress hormones can be beneficial when we are actually in danger, but when we live in a constant state of stress, our bodies produce far more cortisol than they actually need.

So how do we manage stress? Stress is unavoidable. It affects us all and sometimes a small amount of stress can even be beneficial. The real problems associated with stress are often a result of how we deal with and manage stressors.

To make sure stress isn’t negatively impacting us, it’s important to have stress management techniques in place for when it inevitably pops up.

These techniques will look different for everyone but focus on taking time to yourself and implementing techniques that help proactively manage stress such as meditation, deep breathing, journaling, taking a bath, or cleaning.

The big takeaway here is to find whatever helps you to relax, recharge, and manage stress and implement that daily. A resource that I recommend to clients is an app called Headspace, a guided meditation for those of you new to meditation. I also recommend starting each morning with The Five Minute Journal, a handy journal created by the team at Intelligent Change that includes prompts to help you narrow in on what’s bringing you joy at the start of each morning, with goals for the day and affirmations.

Contribute

Out of this list, what do you do to support your immune system? Share below by commenting or share on Instagram and tag @nutritionstripped.

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]]>https://nutritionstripped.com/5-ways-to-support-your-immune-system/feed/0Caramelized Onion and Pear Frittatahttps://nutritionstripped.com/caramelized-onion-and-pear-frittata/ https://nutritionstripped.com/caramelized-onion-and-pear-frittata/#respondTue, 18 Dec 2018 06:00:24 +0000https://nutritionstripped.com/?p=56807This Caramelized Onion and Pear Frittata is one of those meals you can make one of for the whole week. Frittatas, in general, are one of the easiest recipes you can make with incredible amounts of flexibility. You can add whatever leftover vegetables you have in the fridge, staple pantry ingredients, to spices you haven’t […] Read More

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]]>This Caramelized Onion and Pear Frittata is one of those meals you can make one of for the whole week.

Frittatas, in general, are one of the easiest recipes you can make with incredible amounts of flexibility.

You can add whatever leftover vegetables you have in the fridge, staple pantry ingredients, to spices you haven’t used in a while. The possibilities are endless when making a frittata.

This Caramelized Onion and Pear Frittata combines the sweet and savory flavors of sweet caramelized onion, pear, and protein-rich eggs. It makes for a great breakfast, quick lunch or dinner reheated, and even a meal on the go!

Caramelized Onion and Pear Frittata | Nutrition Stripped Caramelized Onion and Pear Frittata | Nutrition Stripped

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]]>https://nutritionstripped.com/caramelized-onion-and-pear-frittata/feed/0A Meal Planning Tip That Reduces Food Wastehttps://nutritionstripped.com/meal-planning-tip-that-reduces-food-waste/ https://nutritionstripped.com/meal-planning-tip-that-reduces-food-waste/#respondFri, 14 Dec 2018 06:00:44 +0000https://nutritionstripped.com/?p=56908Into meal planning? Try this hack!

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]]>Meal planning isn’t just for having healthy meals ready to go. Which is why this meal planning tip is all about reducing food waste.

Meal planning is one of several tools I personally use as a dietitian and with my clients to keep them on track with their health and nutrition goals. It’s a simple system, yet it can be overwhelming to start. I get it!

What Is Meal Planning

Meal planning is a system (there are many ways to do it) where you prepare meals in advance for the week ahead. I developed one of the leading and first dietitian-approved and dietitian-created programs called the Master Meal Planning program years ago, and we’ve helped thousands make cooking and healthy eating simple.

I wanted to share some lessons from our program and how you can apply it to your life during a busy holiday season and develop the skills and expertise to successfully meal plan for life!

Cooking for your health

You know all those amazing food blogs out there, the dozen Pinterest boards you have created or recipes bookmarked or stacks of cookbooks in the kitchen? Well, how many of those recipes have you actually made? And on top of that, do you try to make new recipes every day of the week?

I’m guilty of this too. I have so many Pinterest boards and recipes bookmarked, yet never seem to plan ahead to make them.

My guess is most likely you’re not making those recipes every week, and if you did, that would actually be a lot of cooking! A lot of time, energy, and money cooking new recipes each day, all the time. Trust me, that was my first experience with meal planning before I found out that it didn’t work for me, my schedule, or my budget.

It wasn’t just me who found challenges following meal planning frameworks like this — I’ve had clients and friends fail at meal planning before too. What I kept finding, it was because they had a hard time sticking to it, it felt like an all or nothing process, they felt like they did it “wrong” or had the pressure to do it perfectly every time, and it didn’t get the result they wanted — to feel great and support their long-term health habits!

I know, it’s easier said than done. It can be overwhelming too, especially with the world of food and nutrition blogs — most of those stunning recipes you see online or on social media are created by people to get more likes, more pins, more blog traffic and are developed by people who don’t have an education or knowledge in nutrition, health, or science to make those recipes for your long-term health in mind.

Yes, they look stunning. They might make you feel inspired, and that is amazing! But I’ve had so many clients who make recipes only to find they either are loaded with sugar, lacking whole foods, or don’t turn out like the recipe is supposed to leaving them frustrated.

Most of those recipes aren’t designed to be healthy for you long-term. As a Dietitian, all my recipes since 2013 have always been curated and purposefully developed to cultivate a healthier relationship to food while nourishing your body! All our recipes use nutrient-dense ingredients and in ways that make sense for the body to better absorb and utilize the nutrients.

Sometimes we add fancy things in there to switch it up, but at its core, it’s really simple whole food.

Meal Planning Hack To Reduce Food Waste | Nutrition Stripped

Reducing food waste

A staggering statistic from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about the amount of waste produced during the holiday is often shared this time of year.

The original 2006 report, though outdated now, warns us that the US usually increases 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day to 1 million tons. (1) It’s great to see an increase in awareness over the past decade since the holidays can easily be a time of excess of food preparation, paper, and packaging materials for all of us!

It’s not just around the holidays either. It’s something we can all work to improve year-round. There are many ways we can actively and consciously reduce food waste, but a simple strategy is meal planning.

Reducing food waste could look like purchasing less food each week because you have a pantry stocked with bulk items, making the food you purchase each week more efficient. Efficient in the manner that you’ll consume it all before the end of the week because you have a plan to follow and portions planned ahead of time (i.e. meal planning!).

What Are Rotations?

Onto the meal planning tip that reduces food waste! A rotation is a week’s worth of 3-5 recipes you use for one week, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner then switch it out the following week and repeat.

This concept can not only help you focus on just making a couple key recipes a week, but it will also help to make healthy eating so simple and ensure that you’re nourishing your body with nutrient-dense recipes, especially if those are NS recipes which are all created with your health in mind!

For example, let’s say you have an oatmeal porridge recipe for breakfast and you eat that daily for one week, you’ll have peace of mind knowing breakfast is already taken care of and figured out! The same with your lunch and dinner.

If you think you’ll get bored eating this way, trust me, you won’t! There are so many small tweaks you’ll learn in our next class, that’ll give variety in the simplest of ways to every meal you have. Not only that, remember that you’re switching up the recipes again in a matter of days!

Using rotations not only reduces the stress about thinking of what recipes to make, but it also saves you money because you’re purchasing only the food you need for those recipes.

Rotations also encourage you to add variety to your diet from week to week which increases the nutrient-density and nutrient-variety you’ll eat in the span of a month!

And if you have all those recipes bookmarked, cookbooks and Pinterest boards full of recipes you want to try, using rotations can also be a helpful tool for you to get organized and start chipping away at your recipe bucket list by adding one of those recipes in your rotations a week.

Recipes To Try Using Rotations

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Meal Planning Can Be Simple

If you’re interested in learning how to meal plan, in a simple and healthy way, then check out my free 4-class series on meal planning — it’s a free video course with printable materials for you to use in real life! Think of it as a mini-coaching session with me, your personal nutritionist teaching you about meal planning.

Join for the free 4-class Introduction To Meal Planning course here! 

And if you want even more articles to read about meal planning, I think you’ll love this one on staying inspired by adding variety to meal planning, why the weekend can be the best time to meal plan, and 5 tips to make meal planning work for you.

Bottom Line:

A rotation is a week’s worth of 3-5 recipes you use for one week, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner then switch it out the following week and repeat!

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]]>https://nutritionstripped.com/meal-planning-tip-that-reduces-food-waste/feed/0Cinnamon Sweet Potato Smoothiehttps://nutritionstripped.com/cinnamon-sweet-potato/ https://nutritionstripped.com/cinnamon-sweet-potato/#respondThu, 13 Dec 2018 06:00:44 +0000https://nutritionstripped.com/?p=41955Say goodbye to the PSL.

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]]>Say bye to the PSL and grab this sweet potato smoothie that tastes like fall in a glass.

With only 5 ingredients, it’s with cooked sweet potato and cinnamon, with an optional addition of your favorite vanilla protein powder. Despite the uniqueness, the cooked sweet potato is creamy and smooth when blended with almond butter and almond milk!

Sweet potatoes are really the star of this recipe, and here’s why: they’re an incredible source of vitamin A. They’re starchy, sweet and filling. Just 1 cup has 7g fiber, 4g protein, and 40g rich carbohydrates. They’re my favorite root vegetable, hands down.

Cinnamon Sweet Potato Smoothie | Nutrition Stripped #recipe

Trying It?

If you make this smoothie, I want to see how it turns out! Submit your photo directly on this post in the comments section below, and share on Instagram by tagging @nutritionstripped #nutritionstripped. Happy blending!

xx McKel

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]]>https://nutritionstripped.com/cinnamon-sweet-potato/feed/0Bahn Mi Tofu Tacoshttps://nutritionstripped.com/bahn-mi-tofu-tacos/ https://nutritionstripped.com/bahn-mi-tofu-tacos/#respondTue, 11 Dec 2018 06:00:10 +0000https://nutritionstripped.com/?p=56761If you love, Bahn Mi, you’ll love these Bahn Mi Tofu Tacos. We go to Asheville, North Carolina at least once a year to go hiking, eat the amazing food, and it’s a quick (and beautiful) drive from Nashville. When we’re there, we always make a stop at White Duck Taco. I typically order the same […] Read More

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]]>If you love, Bahn Mi, you’ll love these Bahn Mi Tofu Tacos.

We go to Asheville, North Carolina at least once a year to go hiking, eat the amazing food, and it’s a quick (and beautiful) drive from Nashville.

When we’re there, we always make a stop at White Duck Taco. I typically order the same thing, including Bahn Mi Tofu Tacos which are so delicious — so much so that I had to attempt to make them at home so we could enjoy them anytime!

The Slaw

Honestly, this slaw is so good you could eat it as a salad. First up, an important part of Bahn Mi is the pickled vegetables (carrots and radishes) — they add a crunch with a slightly tangy and slightly sweet flavor that only pickles can give.

To top it off, pun intended, is the slaw with thinly sliced red cabbage, fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice, a little drizzle of olive oil, toasted sesame oil, and soy sauce. Toss to combine and you have a delicious cabbage slaw.

Typically this recipe is served with a toasted baguette, but we’re using corn tortillas with this Bahn Mi Tofu Taco recipe. You could also make this entire recipe, sans tortillas, and put it on a bed of cooked quinoa, rice, or greens if you’re not into the taco.

The Tofu

I know, tofu isn’t sexy to many of you, but give this one a try! These Bahn Mi Tofu Tacos are a great introduction to this top plant-based protein you should try.

If you’re not into tofu, you can make this recipe with any animal protein you enjoy or cooked lentils. The sauce in this recipe is delicious and can easily translate into any other protein you enjoy.

Bahn Mi Tofu Taco | Nutrition Stripped

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]]>https://nutritionstripped.com/bahn-mi-tofu-tacos/feed/0Can Food Improve Your Mental Health?https://nutritionstripped.com/foods-for-mental-health/ https://nutritionstripped.com/foods-for-mental-health/#respondFri, 07 Dec 2018 06:00:23 +0000https://nutritionstripped.com/?p=56904Is there such thing as good mood food?

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]]>Can food improve your mental health? From foods that support gut health to reduce anxiety, depression, and overall foods for mental health.

With the holiday season, which can be one of the busiest and the most stressful times of year for most people. Learn the foods for mental health and the nutrients that play a key role in mental health.

What Does Mental Health Mean?

If you ask people what mental health means to them or how they would define it, it’s likely you will get a variety of answers.

According to mentalhealth.gov, mental health is defined as “an emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.”

According to WHO, mental health is defined as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community. Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” (1)

Fueling The Brain

If you think of your body like a machine or a car, it’ll run best with premium fuel (i.e. nutrient-dense food). The brain like our other organs, requires enough vitamins, minerals, antioxidants (that protect from oxidative stress).

A diet rich in refined sugars or a general lack of nutrients can create a less favorable environment for stable moods and general mental health, not to mention a diet that lacks proper nutrition can cause inflammation and impair overall brain function.

The ~ Good Mood Food ~ Checklist

Foods for mental health are items you probably already have in your kitchen!

Caffeine

Coffee, the main source of caffeine we consume, has many health benefits. But with people who have anxiety or depression, caffeine in excess may make those symptoms or feelings worse, depending on your unique metabolism of caffeine.

Caffeine from coffee is a stimulant and great for post-workout for some individuals, but on the other hand, if you suffer from anxiety or are living with high stress, coffee isn’t for you.

On the flip side, caffeine has also been shown to help decrease depression and symptoms of anxiety, although those studied were probably “fast metabolizers” and not your average person. If you struggle with depression or tend towards anxiety, try cutting down on coffee and see if you notice a difference in the way you feel. (2)

Whole grains

Whether these are gluten-free grains or whole grains, both are great sources of carbohydrates, which our body breaks down into glucose. Glucose is the primary energy source of the brain — i.e. the brain loves to thrive on glucose and uses it up quickly for all the processes it’s responsible for!

Not all carbohydrates are creating equal, try to consume more whole grains or whole food carbohydrates which are better sources of fiber and nutrients. The fiber in whole grain carbohydrates will reduce the blood sugar spikes in comparison to simple sugars like the ones found in processed sweets, sugary beverages, and candies.

Whole grains are also good sources of a variety of nutrients like B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, iron, and more.

Healthy fat

A study on the Mediterranean diet, which is a diet high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, grains, fish, and healthy fats like olive oil, with a fish oil supplement, led to a decrease in depression of the study participants which was maintained six months after the study. (3)

This was also the case in the participants in the SMILES trial, which showed after 12 weeks of eating a Mediterranean diet, clinically depressed people had a reduction in depression. (4)

Dark leafy greens

Vegetables including dark leafy greens are great foods for mental health because they’re rich in antioxidants, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Including vitamin K, C, A, beta-carotene, calcium, B vitamins, potassium, and much more.

Recipes

Foods For Mental Health | Nutrition Stripped

Gut Health and Mental Health

From the gut-brain connection, vagus nerve, and key hormone production like serotonin that happens in the digestive tract, it’s no wonder paying close attention to gut health is key.

The gut-brain connection

The gut-brain axis (GBA) is a two-way street of communication between the central nervous system (CNS) and the enteric nervous system (ENS), linking the emotional and mental centers of the brain that affect our digestive system and intestinal functions.
The gut-brain axis makes up two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells that line your gastrointestinal tract. The cells run all the way from your esophagus to your rectum via the vagus nerve. (5)

These microbes help direct the traffic flow along the connection between our gut and our brain. This direct connection, known as “the gut-brain connection”, makes up two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells that line your gastrointestinal tract. The cells run all the way from your esophagus to your rectum via the vagus nerve. Emerging research continues to show us how the gut directly influences human physiology, metabolism, and immune function.

Changing the gut flora could directly affect anxiety and cognition. (6) This is just another reason we should be consuming a diet rich in whole foods, which include fiber and the “food” or prebiotics for the good bacteria in our digestive system.

Serotonin

Serotonin plays many roles in our body, especially in stabilizing moods, sleep, appetite, and digestion. Remember the relationship between tryptophan and serotonin? 90% of the important brain neurotransmitter serotonin, that can affect mood, digestion, and health is produced in the gut. Certain bacteria found the gut play a large part in producing the serotonin. Low levels of serotonin have also been linked to IBS, heart disease and osteoporosis. (7)

The gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion, such as feelings of anger, anxiety, sadness, and joy can trigger symptoms in the gut. (8) The gut-brain connection goes both ways; stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress and/or depression. (9)

The Art Of Food In Mental Health

Outside the scope of science, there’s also a part of this puzzle that can’t be ignored, that’s the subjective — i.e. the unique experiences you feel when eating foods. Call it comfort food, the enjoyment factor, or just meals you enjoy that bring you joy.

The beautiful thing about nutrition and health is that it’s completely unique to you. Yes, there’s research and studies that will show what we know about XYZ topic and how it impacts that group being studied, but it still comes down to your individual makeup. Always use science and evidence-based research as the backbone, but don’t forget to make sure it works for you individually.

Think about a homecooked meal you grew up on, that always cultivates a sense of hygge (i.e. coziness), maybe that’s moms chicken soup or your best friends pasta dish. Those are foods that can cause a little mental and emotional boost during times where you’re searching for a connection.

Finding a sense of connection and hygge in meals can be part of a healthy relationship with food — it becomes an unhealthy relationship with food when you’re solely relying on food to comfort, calm, or connect you to others. Just like anything else in health, it’s multifaceted and every pillar plays a role in the complete package we call health.

Takeaway

All of our diets, lifestyles, internal and external factors can impact our mental health in different ways — the key is finding what works for you through trial and error and professional guidance if needed to help cultivate a healthy relationship with food.

We know that a diet rich in whole foods, especially rich in nutrients like omega-3 fats, vitamin D, fiber, lean protein, probiotic-rich foods, and folic acid can make a positive impact in our mental health. (10) Also, make sure you’re eating enough is just as important and often overlooked

Share!

What are your experiences with using food to help improve your mental and emotional health? What other lifestyle changes have you made to help support your mental health? If you’re looking for more articles on mental health, check out about burnout, foods that help with burnout, social media detox, manage stress like a pro, and other ways to stay mindful each day.

If You Need Help, Talk About It.

We all need help — I’ll be the first to happily, loudly, and proudly share that what gets me through anxiety is speaking with my family, friends, licensed therapist, checking in with my physician regularly, and engaging in other modes of functional medicine that kept me grounded like acupuncture, meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises. It takes multiple pillars of health and is a daily practice.

Always remember, that you’re not alone even if it feels like you are and that nothing ever stays constant — we’re always evolving and changing, that’s true for the hard times too.

Resources:

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]]>https://nutritionstripped.com/foods-for-mental-health/feed/0Cashew Butter and Raspberry Thumbprint Cookieshttps://nutritionstripped.com/cashew-butter-raspberry-thumbprint-cookies/ https://nutritionstripped.com/cashew-butter-raspberry-thumbprint-cookies/#respondTue, 04 Dec 2018 06:00:55 +0000https://nutritionstripped.com/?p=56738Inspired by a mix of the classic peanut butter cookie and thumbprint cookie.

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]]>If you’re looking for a holiday cookie to share, try these Cashew Butter and Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies.

Growing up in Ohio, we always made peanut butter and thumbprint cookies, it was only a matter of time before a simplified these recipes and attempted to make them with a twist using cashew butter instead.

Inspired by the classic peanut butter cookie made with 3 ingredients, egg, sugar, and peanut butter — and a thumbprint cookie. Except, these cookies use cashew butter for a little bit of different flavor, not as overpowering as peanut butter can be.

In addition to the classic peanut butter cookie recipe, we use a little fresh ginger, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg to drive home the holiday flavor. In the center of this healthy thumbprint cookie, is a raspberry jam filling.

You can certainly make the raspberry jam filling homemade, but if you’re looking for some convenience, use your favorite organic raspberry jam. If you’re not a fan of raspberry, swap it out for apricot, strawberry, blackberry, whatever your heart desires!

By the way, if thumbprint cookies aren’t your jam, you can actually make these cookies as is without any filling and they’ll still be delicious.

You can store these Cashew Butter and Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies in the refrigerator for up to one week or freeze them individually wrapped in parchment, for one month.

Cashew Butter Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies | Nutrition Stripped

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]]>https://nutritionstripped.com/cashew-butter-raspberry-thumbprint-cookies/feed/0Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie with Cocoahttps://nutritionstripped.com/healthy-peanut-butter-banana-smoothie/ https://nutritionstripped.com/healthy-peanut-butter-banana-smoothie/#respondThu, 29 Nov 2018 06:00:33 +0000https://nutritionstripped.com/?p=41956With just 4 ingredients, this smoothie makes a nutrient-rich addition to any meal or a tasty snack.

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]]>A healthy peanut butter banana smoothie!

Need I say more? But seriously, this classic combination of flavors is super satisfying, and beyond simple to whip together. Odds are, you have all of these pantry staples on hand already, so you’re free to enjoy this easy peanut butter banana smoothie whenever the mood strikes!

The star of this recipe is peanut butter, and here’s why: it has protein, potassium, and fiber, making it a nutrient-rich addition to any meal or a tasty snack.

Healthy Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie recipe on Nutrition Stripped

Trying It?

If you make this healthy peanut butter banana smoothie, I want to see how it turns out! Submit your photo directly on this post in the comments section below, and share on Instagram by tagging @nutritionstripped #nutritionstripped. Happy blending!

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]]>https://nutritionstripped.com/healthy-peanut-butter-banana-smoothie/feed/0Non-Dairy Coffee Creamerhttps://nutritionstripped.com/non-dairy-coffee-creamer/ https://nutritionstripped.com/non-dairy-coffee-creamer/#respondTue, 27 Nov 2018 06:00:08 +0000https://nutritionstripped.com/?p=55776Love frothy coffee? Then you’re going to love this homemade creamer!

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]]>This post was in partnership with the New Chapter Inc. — we only partner with brands that are NS approved and all our opinions are authentic and remain our own.

Is coffee part of your morning routine? Then try adding this non-dairy coffee creamer to the morning mix!

This non-dairy coffee creamer can be made in bulk that will last longer than most store-bought coffee creamers. In addition, it’s made with whole food ingredient powders that are easy to find, easy to make and taste delicious without adding anything artificial.

Store-bought vs. Homemade

Standard store-bought coffee creamers are typically made with various thickeners, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and artificial flavors. While some of these ingredients are fine in small amounts, it’s not the best option for overall health for the long-term. Especially if you enjoy a daily cup of coffee with creamer.

This non-dairy coffee creamer is so simple to make. It’s also a good source of healthy fats from the powdered coconut milk, rich in nutrients from both the Fermented Maca Booster Powder and rice bran soluble (i.e. tocotrienols), and tastes delicious with powdered vanilla. Tocos isn’t a must-have in this recipe. However, it does contribute to the mineral content along with the maca, and it helps create a creamy texture.

What’s The Deal With Maca?

We’ve talked about maca before (Superseed Nut Butter, Beautifying Black Bean Brownies, Dragon Fruit Smoothie Bowl), but what exactly is it? Maca (mah-cah) is an adaptogenic root vegetable (from the broccoli family) grown in Peru.

The maca root is ground up into a fine powder that can be used in anything from this coffee creamer recipe to breakfast oatmeal, granola, cereals, desserts, smoothies, and baked goods. The powder can be easily mixed into anything you choose, and the best part is that you don’t need a large volume to get the desired taste or nutritional benefits.

Upon serving you can add a little bit of a sweetener of your choice — I recommend a small amount of honey or maple syrup to taste. This homemade non-dairy coffee creamer is delicious and because it’s a powder, it stays fresh much longer than its liquid counterparts.

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