Healing After Harvey: Feel Good Foods

Pasta, pizza and cookies may seem more appealing than a protein shake, kale or a handful of nuts (especially when you’re stressed), but nine times out of ten you feel tired, bloated and sometimes even sick after eating foods like these that are high in calories, fat, carbohydrates and sugar.

We’re all guilty of overindulging from time to time, and more so when we are busy, on-the-run or overwhelmed, but think about the times you eat a really hearty salad or a plate of freshly baked salmon and steamed veggies. Don’t you feel just plain good afterwards? I know I do!

Here are five feel good foods that you can enjoy while you’re eating and they make you feel great afterwards, too!

  • Eggs. Known as “the perfect protein” and “nature’s multivitamin”, eggs consist of every essential amino acid your body needs and are also known as one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Pretty interesting, right? Keeping you full, satisfying your palate and not leaving you feeling “heavy” afterwards is what makes eggs such a feel good food. Plus, eggs are rich in iron and B vitamins, all of which play a key role in keeping your energy levels high at all times. Sometimes given a bad rap, it is important to note that eggs actually improve your cholesterol profile and do not raise your risk of cardiovascular disease because they raise your HDL (the “good”) cholesterol while increasing the size of the LDL particles of cholesterol (when the size is larger, think about it being too large to clog your arteries), which can help lower your risk of developing heart disease. I enjoy them boiled, scrambled or over-easy and try to make a conscious effort to eat eggs routinely.
  • Berries. Known as “nature’s candy”, berries not only taste good, but they’re incredible for your health. Berries are high in water, so they’re hydrating, plus they stimulate your taste buds, making you feel good during and after eating them. Another reason why I consider berries a “feel good food” is because they are rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin C, so they actually work for your body in regards to fighting off toxins and free radicals and in turn, fight disease and potentially cancer. Always, always, always consume organic berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. These fruits, when not organic, tend to easily absorb pesticides and other chemicals that are sprayed onto them so in order for you to reap the many benefits of berries, please be sure you stick to the organic variety.
  • Avocados. The brain food of foods, avocados offer healthy fats that keep you full and help power your mind and your heart. Additionally, avocados contain a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, potassium, B vitamins and vitamin E. In fact, avocados contain more potassium than bananas and more soluble fiber than some grains. Eating avocados, or even avocado oil, may also help lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, improving your total heart health, too. I add avocado to just about all of my salads and smoothies, enjoy it on top of chicken and sometimes enjoy it plain and by itself.
  • Hummus. I firmly believe hummus is one of the healthiest foods you can eat and I eat it nearly every day. Why? Because it’s a great source of protein and fiber, so it’s filling, has zero sugar, and as long as you’re enjoying it with fresh vegetables (and not pita bread), it’s low in carbohydrates. Hummus is loaded with iron, folate and B vitamins, all of which help increase energy levels throughout the day and help your brain and nervous system function optimally. Hummus, made using chickpeas, oil and tahini, also offers many healthy fats, which are healthy fats your brain thrives off of.
  • Nuts & Seeds. They’re crunchy, creamy and satisfying. Nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, are another form of brain food that make you feel good while you eat them and afterwards, too. Being so portable, nuts and seeds are one food you will almost always find in my bag, my desk drawer and even in my car when I know I’m going to be on the run because they not only satisfy my craving for something crunchy and yummy, but they tide me over until my next meal. My almond butter is also my go-to for adding to my apple slices in the morning right before my workouts. Almond butter provides me with plenty of fiber and protein and lots of yumminess!

Share with us some of your favorite feel good foods! Leave them in the comments section below.

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