This year consider creating a list for your commitment to self love and care. Begin by taking inventory of all of the things that bring you joy (people, places, actives, hobbies, and perhaps even smells and tastes). Then, circle 3+ enjoyments you plan to do in the new year.
And finally, here are some foods to help support your self-care initiatives:
FOODS TO HELP YOU FOCUS
Salmon (and other fatty fish) — Many researchers consider DHA to be the most important fat found in the human brain, and the unusual concentration of this omega-3 fatty acid in salmon helps explain the research-documented benefits of salmon including better brain function, better overall cell function, and improved control of the body's inflammatory processes.
Strawberries — The strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits provided by strawberries have proven to improve brain function. Certain research studies have shown the connection between strawberry consumption and new nerve generation in the hippocampus, which is often involved in the learning and recall of new information.
Cinnamon — Just smelling the wonderful aroma of this sweet spice boosts brain activity! Purchase cinnamon in its dried stick or powder form, or as a high-quality essential oil to diffuse in your home office.
Other suggested foods include avocado, blueberries, oranges, walnuts, and green tea.
FOODS TO DECREASE STRESS AND TENSION
Turmeric — Prized for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, recent studies have shown the spice plays an active role in treating various central nervous system disorders as well as offering a protective action against stress. Turmeric can be utilized either fresh or dried and is easily incorporated into many types of cuisines.
Eggs (and other proteins) — Incorporating high-quality, pasture-raised and organic, protein, like eggs, is key to supporting your body through stress as it will fuel your system from a cellular level, ensuring your body will return to balance. Eggs are also an excellent source of choline, a nutrient that has been shown to play an important role in brain health and may protect against stress.
Leafy greens — Leafy greens, including spinach, kale, and chard, all contain choline as well, which as mentioned above, play an important role in managing and reducing stress in the body. Additionally, the antioxidant richness found in leafy greens is helpful in the reduction of oxidative stress.
Other suggested foods include broccoli, parsley, organ meats, sweet potatoes, and water.
FOODS TO SOOTH AND RELAX YOU
Walnuts — A fascinating aspect of walnuts and their potential health benefits involves their naturally occurring melatonin. Melatonin is a widely active messaging molecule in our nervous system and is critical in the regulation of sleep, daily (circadian) rhythms, light-dark adjustment, and other processes. If you’re looking for improved sleep and relaxation, grab a handful of walnuts.
Chamomile — Chamomile is best known for its wonderful calming action and is used to ease tension and stress, emotional upset, nervousness, and insomnia. Purchasing dried, organic flowers in bulk is an easy and affordable way to always have chamomile on hand to be utilized as a tea, compress, or a lovely addition to your bath.
Bananas — Bananas are an excellent source of magnesium, an important mineral that relaxes your muscles and activates your parasympathetic nervous system that regulates “rest and digest”.
Other suggested foods include honey, nuts, seeds, and eggs.
FOODS TO ENERGIZE YOU
Cacao — Cacao is a superfood that will boost your energy! It comes in many different forms, including powder and nibs, and can be added to smoothies, yogurt, or oatmeal.
Apples — Due to its comprehensive macronutrient and micronutrient profile, this fruit provides a burst of energy in the form of carbohydrates and natural sugars, while also stabilizing blood sugar.
Other suggested foods include rice, quinoa, potatoes, pineapple, and dark chocolate.
Here’s to a new year where we swap the complicated resolutions for clear intentions and fuel our bodies with foods that support our goals. Wishing you only health, happiness, and joy for 2023.