What we choose to eat and what we choose not to eat directly affect the way we feel – both physically and mentally. We’re not talking about the sense of pride you feel when you choose a vibrant salad over a greasy cheeseburger, but the physical and emotional changes we experience when we eat real, nutrient-dense food. The consumption of vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients found in colorful fruit, vegetables and seeds have been directly linked to increased mental and physical health.
With the winter blues coming on fast and cold temps keeping us inside, it’s extremely important to be conscious of your diet (especially when fresh produce isn’t readily available). Eating well during the winter (in generally, actually) will help keep your weight in check, support a positive mood, and keep your heart in great shape. Plus, with Valentine’s Day just a day away, hearts are definitely a priority. In honor of this yearly love fest, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite heart and mood boosting foods, and created a deliciously romantic smoothie that’s perfect for sharing with someone special!
Good For More Than Just Your Belly
POMEGRANATE – This antioxidant powerhouse promotes cardiovascular health by protecting the lining of blood vessels. The vitamins, minerals and proteins in pomegranate juice have also been shown to help improve mood in both men and women.
FLAX SEED – With the addition of a variety of essential minerals, the two big swingers for flax seeds are it’s hear/brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and hormone-supporting lignans.
BANANAS – Rich in potassium, magnesium and B vitamins, the naturally sweet fruit also provides a healthy dose of tryptophan – an essential amino acid needed for the production of mood-boosting serotonin.
HONEY – Another B vitamin player, the sugars in honey also help ward off low level depression by providing a burst of healthy, mood-booting energy.
DARK CHOCOLATE – Another antioxidant superstar, dark chocolate contains a variety of naturally occurring feel-good compounds, including the so called “love chemical” phenylethylamine. It also contains tryptophan.
KEFIR – Thought to get it’s name from the Turkish work “keif” for “good feeling,” Lifeway kefir contains live and active probiotics that support a healthy immune system, which is directly linked to mood and overall health.
Pomegranate Rosewater Smoothie
- 1 1/2 cups Lifeway Lowfat Madagascar Vanilla Kefir
- 1 cup Lifeway Coconut Frozen Kefir
- 3/4 cup pomegranate juice
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- 1 medium/large banana, sliced and frozen
- 1 teaspoon ground flax seeds
- 1 tsp rosewater
- 1 tsp raw honey (optional)
- Dark chocolate shavings, to garnish (because why not?)
Combine all ingredients in a high powered blender and blend until smooth. Add additional kefir or frozen kefir to reach desired consistency.