Research continues to be done on the connection between food and brain function. It’s been found that what you eat can have an effect on thought processes, memory, and the risk of getting conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. One of the best foods to help “feed your brain” are blueberries. Here’s why:
🫐 Antioxidants - Berries contain compounds with the unique ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and scavenge free radicals that could otherwise cause damage. There are several beneficial phytochemicals in most berries that help reduce inflammation and help keep cells healthy by lowering oxidative stress.
🫐 Reduce Neurodegenerative Disease Risk - Multiple studies have found that regular intake of flavonoid-rich fruit, such as blueberries, may reduce or delay the onset of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and ischemic (restricted blood flow and oxygen to certain parts of the body) diseases. The neuroprotective properties of blueberries come from their highly-beneficial phytochemicals and their ability to improve blood flow.
🫐 Mood Boosting - While they can’t replace medication or lifestyle changes, it’s been found that blueberries can have a positive effect on depression. Children and young adults have been the subject of studies that showed reduced depression symptoms within a few weeks of regular blueberry consumption. In adults, the polyphenols in blueberries helped to improve cognitive function in a study that took place this year.
While not quite as big as tuna (both in popularity and physical size) sardines are a versatile nutritional powerhouse that you can easily add to your diet. Here’s what makes these mighty fish so good for you:
🐟Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Unsaturated fats in sardines can lead to lower inflammation and triglyceride levels in your body.
🐟Protein - You’ll find 33g of protein per can, typically.
🐟Lower Chronic Disease Risk - The combo of nutrients in sardines such as omega-3s, the amino acid taurine, and vitamin D can help to lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease if eaten twice a week.
🐟Vitamin B12 - One can yields 555% of your daily B12 needs. This helps support nerve function and red blood cell formation as well as absorb protein and fat.
🐟Calcium - Because their bones are edible, a can of bone-in sardines can provide you with 44% of your daily calcium needs.
🐟Low in Mercury - Because they only eat plankton, sardines are much lower in mercury than some other larger fish that are higher up in the food chain. You’d have to eat 32 cans of sardines per week to accumulate toxic levels of mercury.
🐟Budget-Friendly - You can usually get a can of wild-caught sardines for less than a couple bucks.
🐟Shelf-Stable - In most cases, you have a couple years to consume a can of sardines.
🐟Versatile - Eat sardines on a salad with your favorite dressing or salsa, with crackers, or straight out of the can.
Usually you put things in the fridge if you want them to last longer, right? Unfortunately your best intentions may actually be shortening the longevity of some foods. Here are some foods you should avoid storing in the fridge:
🧅 Onions - Whole and unpeeled onions will get mushy quickly in the fridge since the colder temps turn their starches into sugars.
🥔 Potatoes - Just like onions, the starches in potatoes turn into sugars in the fridge, leading to a gritty texture.
🌱 Basil - Once trimmed, putting basil in the refrigerator will cause it to turn brown due to enzymes in the plant called polyphenol oxidase that reacts with oxygen. Trimmed herbs are best stored at room temp and whole stems can be stored standing upright in a jar of water.
🍅 Tomatoes - Leave your tomatoes on the counter. Fridge temps cause the compounds in tomatoes to become dull leading to less flavor.
☕ Coffee - Condensation can build up in your coffee in the fridge, drastically changing its flavor.
🍯 Honey - Honey will keep for a very long time at room temp (archeologists have found honey that’s thousands of years old!) and allows it to be more user-friendly. Colder temperatures cause honey to crystalize.
🧄 Garlic - Because it’s usually planted in the Fall, garlic will sprout more quickly when in colder temps. Keeping it in the fridge can make it turn rubbery and even mold. It’s best stored at room temp.
We’ve been talking about Summer produce recently and it would be a shame if you couldn’t share some of that with all your family members - even the furry ones.
🐕 Here are some Summer snacks you can feel good about sharing with your four-legged friends:
✅ Watermelon (no seeds or rind)
✅ Honeydew & Cantaloupe (no seeds or rind)
✅ Kale & Spinach (best if blended up first)
✅ Broccoli (best if blended up first)
Make sure your dog never gets ahold of these!
❌ Raisins and grapes
❌ Chocolate (the more dark it is, the more dangerous it is)
❌ Avocado pits
❌ Macadamia nuts
The ancient Greeks were keen on eating while laying down, over time we grew to prefer a seated position and now with people always on the go, it’s common for some to eat standing up. Does this have any benefits? Does it cause any problems?
🚶 Eating standing up speeds your digestion by up to 30%. While that may sound appealing, it can actually increase the likelihood of gas and bloating.
🚶 Faster digestion also means less time for nutrients to pass through your gut wall for absorption.
🚶 One positive of standing while eating is that stomach pressure is typically reduced, which can help relieve symptoms of acid reflux for chronic sufferers.
🚶 Some studies have shown that standing meals don’t make your brain feel like a true meal break was taken and may lead to overeating at the next meal.
🚶 Whether you sit or stand to eat, make sure you’re allowing time to be mindful of the very act of eating. Take your time, chew your food, and be conscious of what you’re doing. Most people eat faster if they’re standing, so keep this in mind.
🚶 As you can see, standing to eat has some minor pros and cons but nothing earth-shattering in either direction. If acid reflux causes you problems, maybe try it out. If you’re lactose intolerant or sensitive to FODMAPs, it’s probably best to stay seated.
Summer means seasonal produce and peaches are one of our favorites. If you’re adding peaches to your diet this season, know there’s a good range of health benefits that go along with all that deliciousness.
🍑 Low in Calories - A medium peach comes in right around 58 calories.
🍑 Vitamins - Nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and B as well as fiber and potassium are plentiful in peaches.
🍑 Digestion - With 10% of your daily fiber needs, peaches also feed the good bacteria in your gut as they contain prebiotics.
🍑 Immune System - 15% of your daily vitamin C can be found in a peach as well as 10% of your vitamin A. These both help produce immune cells and build strong barriers against germs. Peaches also have natural antimicrobial properties.
🍑 Skin Health - Beta carotene along with the previously mentioned vitamin C and A can help protect skin from sun damage and shift your skin tone to a warm, natural glow.
🍑 Eye Health - Two antioxidants found in peaches - lutein and zeaxanthin - can help protect your retina and lenses and have been shown to reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
🍑 What They Don’t Have - Peaches are free of sodium, cholesterol, and fat.
We’ve talked about foods that support your immune system before and topping the list were things like bell peppers, oranges, and broccoli mostly for their vitamin C content. However, the list of immune-boosting foods goes even deeper. Rounding out the spectrum of immune-boosting nutrients are vitamins A, D, and E and zinc. Here are five good sources of the previously mentioned nutrients that aren’t fruits or vegetables:
✴ Sunflower Seeds - Put them on your salad or oats to add zinc and vitamin E to your arsenal.
✴ Milk - From cows or plant-based, milk can help you get vitamins D and A and even some zinc depending on if they’re fortified or not. It’s worth checking the label of your milk-of-choice to see what it can provide but you’re likely to get some kind of immune-helping nutrient.
✴ Yogurt - Eat good bacteria to fight bad bacteria. Fermented foods like kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and yogurt are packed with probiotics that can support a strong immune system. Yogurt is a versatile option that brings with it some vitamin A and zinc as well.
✴ Beef - Just 3oz of beef can provide 40% of your daily zinc needs. If you’re not a meat-eater, lentils and tofu are also rich in this immune-boosting mineral.
✴ Tuna - Those cans of tuna in your cabinet can provide you with some vitamin D, zinc, and vitamin E to help keep colds at bay.
At a 4th of July party, fireworks might have the spotlight at night, but during the day it’s all about the food! A recent study was published that tracked which foods increased in sales the most during the week before the 4th of July. Here are the top ten:
10. White Corn
9. Ice Cream
8. Baked Beans
7. Tortilla Chips
5. Sweet Corn
4. Hamburger Buns
3. Potato Chips
2. Hot Dogs
1. Hot Dog Buns 🥇(probably winning over actual hot dogs because the number of buns never matches the number of hot dogs in a pack)