When we get the urge to snack, it is tempting to reach for something that isn’t the healthiest choice. While chips and candy are tasty, they aren’t foods that will sustain and nourish your body in the long run.
Rather than picking an ultra-processed goody, it’s always better to aim for whole foods or minimally processed morsels. Whole foods are typically higher in nutrients, vitamins, and fiber, and when items are processed, there is the risk of losing some of these nutritional benefits.
Healthy foods promote healthy bacteria, which positively affects neurotransmitter production. Whole and minimally processed cuisines support the good bacteria in your gut and your digestive health overall.
February is recognized as National Cherry Month, and Feb. 16 marks National Almond Day. To commemorate these celebrations, explore some reasons why you should eat more of these superfoods.
The Cherry On Top
Cherries aren’t just great for the tops of sundaes. Like many fruits, they are a great source of antioxidants. According to researchers, antioxidants help combat oxidative stress, which has been linked to chronic diseases and premature aging. Antioxidants also help prevent heart disease and protect against cancer and type 2 diabetes. Here are some other facts about eating the fruit:
- Cherries are full of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium.
- They have anti-inflammatory compounds. This attribute means that they may reduce symptoms of arthritis, help accelerate muscle recovery, and ease exercise-induced muscle pains.
- They can help boost your mood. Cherries have been linked to decreasing cortisol levels, which also lowers anxiety and assists with overall mental health.
- The fruit also helps improve the quality of your sleep since it contains melatonin.
- Cherries come in various flavors ranging from sour to sweet, so the meal possibilities are endless. You can enjoy them on their own or add them to smoothies, parfaits, salads, or just drink a bit of tart cherry juice.
Nuts About Almonds
Almonds, like cherries, have many health benefits. They are rich in magnesium, vitamin E, and fiber. Vitamin E has been tentatively linked with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The nut has also recently gained popularity for its use in milk and flour alternatives. Here are some other facts about consuming the latest star of the nut world:
- Studies have also shown that people who consume higher quantities of nuts, like almonds, have a two to three times lower risk of breast cancer.
- They promote good bone health because they contain calcium, vitamin K, protein, and zinc.
- Not only do they lower cholesterol, but they boost “good” cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein, which protects your heart.
- Approximately 1 ounce of almonds contains one-eighth of a person’s daily protein needs.
- Roasted almonds are delicious on their own, but you can also add them to oatmeal or salads. You can also enjoy almond milk in smoothies or use almond butter on toast or with apples.