Many people forget that foods have more purpose than just satisfying hunger. Healthy foods have been said to prevent illness and treat disease. Food provides us with the necessary nutrients to promote growth, repair tissue and regulate body processes. But foods can also be used to treat everyday issues.
Sleeping problems: Researchers found that tart cherries can naturally boost melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. Snacking on cherries or sipping cherry juice before bed can help with insomnia and other sleeping problems.
Bananas can also help you catch some Z’s. Bananas contain tryptophan, an amino acid, which converts to serotonin and melatonin, hormones that calm the body. The yellow fruit also contains magnesium and potassium, which can loosen tense muscles.
Stress and Anxiety: Everyone gets stressed out. But instead of going to town on a bag of chips or downing a chocolate milkshake, reach for a handful of almonds. Almonds contain high levels of B vitamins, which can help the body’s reaction to unpleasant events. The nutrients in almonds and other nuts, like pistachios and walnuts, can help to control cardiovascular responses, such as a racing heart rate, in stressful situations.
Avocados are another delicious food that can help control stress levels. The monounsaturated fat in avocados can reduce blood pressure. The next time stress can causes your blood pressure to skyrocket, dip into some yummy guacamole.
Stomach aches: According to Shape Magazine, papaya can soothe stomach troubles. The enzymes in the tropical fruit break down proteins, easing the process digestion.
Many dairy problems can worsen stomach troubles, but yogurt with probiotics and active and live cultures can actually help relieve discomfort. By increasing good bacteria in the gut, these cultures aid in digestion and beat bloating.
Fatigue: Pumpkin seeds contain fatigue-fighting magnesium. Magnesium deficiencies have been linked to low energy, so if you’re feeling more tired than usual, snack on some festive pumpkin seeds.
Oatmeal can also help to banish fatigue. The whole grain, complex carbohydrates found in oatmeal can provide a boost of energy. Complex carbs are digested slowly, stabilized blood sugar. Be sure to avoid refined carbs and simple sugars, such as white bread and sweets. These will give only a short burst of energy followed by a decrease in blood sugar.
Hangovers: Instead of grabbing a sugary sports drink the morning after a night of heavy drinking, go for a bottle of coconut water. While sports drink may help you feel better while replenishing electrolytes, coconut water is a natural option for rehydrating.
Asparagus can be used to prevent and alleviate hangovers. When eaten before drinking, asparagus boosts levels of enzymes that break down alcohol. That means alcohol will have less of an affect on the brain, less accumulation of toxic byproducts and eventually a milder hangover.
Headaches: Black beans contain riboflavin, a nutrient that is known to reduce the frequency and duration of headaches.
Many migraine sufferers have magnesium deficiencies. Quinoa is a grain that is rich in magnesium, folate and fiber. Blood vessels become constricted, causing headaches. Magnesium relaxes the blood vessels and eases headaches.
Common Cold: Vitamin D helps the body produce proteins that destroy bacteria and viruses. Salmon contains high amounts of the cold-fighting vitamin.
Another vitamin that boosts the body’s protection against infection is vitamin E. Sunflower seeds are loaded with vitamin E and can give your immune system the boost it needs to survive cold and flu season.
Dry skin: If layers of lotion won’t help your dry skin problems, you might want to try extra virgin olive oil. Packed with monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, olive oil can be used internally and externally to moisturize skin. Olive oil can be drizzled on top of a salad, dipped with bread or used to sautéing vegetables. You can also make your own homemade olive oil lotion.
Leafy greens can also protect your skin. Spinach is rich in vitamin A and iron and the phytochemicals can help to rehydrate and renew skin cells.