Anxiety and your Diet

Choosing which food we will nourish our bodies with is among the most important decisions that we will make each day. With our dietary choices we have the potential to either heal or harm ourselves, and this is particularly true when it comes to anxiety.

Research has shown that certain foods can exacerbate feelings of stress and anxiety, whereas other foods have the potential to combat and ease these feelings. If anxiety is something that is affecting your life in some way then taking notice of the following tips could go a long way to helping you overcome it!

Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an amino acid that has been shown to have a positive effect on reducing stress. It is a precursor to serotonin, which is extremely beneficial for promoting feelings of calm and happiness.

Tryptophan naturally occurs in several plant-based foods, most notably in bananas, oats, peanut butter and sesame seeds.

Vitamin B

There is much research to suggest a connection between the various B vitamins and the mood. In fact, a deficiency in any of the B vitamins can lead to a low mood, anxiety and even depression.

Eating a range of foods that contain B vitamins is the best way to enjoy the many benefits of this vitamin group. Good foods to include are leafy green vegetables, oranges, nuts, spirulina, watermelon, spinach, rice and legumes.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates often get a bad rep in the wellness world, but they are actually great for increasing serotonin production. Whole grain carbohydrates are the best choice and you should make an effort to avoid processed carbs, such as white rice and white bread.

When you eat whole grain carbohydrates it takes a while for your body to break them down, and this means that sugar is being released into the bloodstream relatively slowly. This is great for consistent energy levels as well as consistent mood.

The best things to include are brown rice, quinoa, oats, whole-wheat pasta and legumes.

Caffeine

Caffeine is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to dietary choices that encourage feelings of anxiety!

Caffeinated drinks, such as coffee and energy drinks, are often favoured for the quick burst of energy that they can provide, but after the high comes the inevitable crash – and this can impact your mood as well as your energy levels! Furthermore, studies have shown that the presence of caffeine can actually inhibit serotonin production. This can quickly cause you to be more prone to feelings of irritability, anxiety and depression!

This month on my wellness for women community website we are talking about the best ways to avert anxiety! You can click here to join us now and start on your journey to a happier, healthier version of yourself!

Chia Seeds – A Cool Superfood!

Chia seeds may not be a health food that you are already familiar with, however if you are looking to give your body a boost – it is something you should become acquainted with! Much research has been done to discover the incredible health benefits of chia seeds and the advantages of eating them are many and varied.

It has been suggested that these seeds can make you feel fuller for longer which in turn helps with weight management and weight loss. When they enter your body they are thought to absorb ten times their own weight in water. This assists in creating the feeling of being full which should prevent you from snacking between meals!

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Athletes are among the many people realising the potential of chia seeds as they hydrate the body, something which is obviously particularly useful during sports. There is also strong evidence to suggest that they will reduce your blood pressure and slow down the speed at which your body converts carbohydrates into sugars. This reduction in carb conversion time is particularly beneficial for sufferers of diabetes as it aids the control of blood sugar. The Omega-3 content of chia seeds is also something to get excited about as it is the richest plant source of this fatty acid, containing even more than a portion of salmon! As you may well already know, Omega-3 is an essential fat that protects the body against inflammations and is also great for the brain and heart.

As well as being packed full of Omega-3, chia seeds are also high in protein and dietary fibre as well as being gluten free! The protein count is especially impressive as it contains all eight essential amino acids. These seeds also boast an amazingly high amount of antioxidants, calcium, vitamin C, iron and potassium! All of these components combined make it a fantastic food for promoting healthy skin, hair, nails as well as everything on the inside! chia seeds a cool superfood! grassrootsandgrains2

To make the most of the remarkable benefits of eating chia seeds, you should aim to include approximately 15g (roughly one tablespoon) in your diet every day. However, due to the high fibre content, you must also remember to drink plenty of water. There are countless ways to incorporate the seeds into your meals, the easiest being to simply sprinkle them on top of whatever you are eating. There is no need to cook the seeds before you eat them and they will dramatically improve the nutritional value of any dish, be it cereal, soup, salad or anything else! If you’ve got more of a sweet-tooth, but still want to enjoy the benefits of chia seeds, then why not try the recipe below for my Chocolate Chai Chai Pudding!

To make this treat for four you’ll need to shop for the following ingredients:

• 1/4 cup of chia seedschia seeds a cool superfood! grassrootsandgrains4
• 1 cup of unsweetened almond (or coconut) milk
• 5 pitted Medjool dates
• 1/2 a vanilla pod
• 1/2 a teaspoon of cacao powder
• 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon
• 1/8 of a teaspoon of cloves
• 1/8 of a teaspoon of nutmeg
• 1/8 of a teaspoon of ground ginger

All you need to do is combine all of the ingredients, except for the chia seeds, in a high-speed food processor and blitz until completely smooth. Next, pour your concoction into a bowl and stir in the seeds before separating into serving dishes and placing in the fridge  for several hours whilst it becomes thick.

chia seeds a cool superfood! grassrootsandgrains5

chia seeds a cool superfood! grassrootsandgrains6Once ready you can top with a couple of blueberries and tuck into this tasty treat with absolutely zero guilt, knowing that you’re body is as thankful for every spoonful as you are!

chia seeds a cool superfood! grassrootsandgrains9

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Ginger and Umeboshi Aubergines

Ginger and Umeboshi Aubergines is a fantastically filling side dish that will perfectly complement any nutritious meal. When you’re shopping for your ingredients, try to select a wide range of aubergines to make your meal much more beautiful and fun to make. The aubergines in my recipe were the purple and white striped “greek” variety, the skinny “little fingers” aubergine and the baby aubergine, all purchased from Clapham Whole Foods in London. So to get started creating this meal for four, you’ll need to acquire the following items:

500g of a selection of auberginesGinger and Umeboshi Aubergines grassrootsandgrains1
Rapeseed oil for frying
2 small onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 red chilli, chopped finely
2cm knob of ginger, peeled and grated
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
A pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp. umeboshi paste
1.5 tsp. coconut palm sugar or agave nectar
75ml water
The flesh of 1 small mango
Sea salt

To begin you must first take all of the aubergines you have selected and cut them into 1.5cm slices. You can then place them in a dish and sprinkle with a good quality sea salt before leaving them to sit for 30 minutes. As these 30 minutes are coming to an end you must then add a splash of oil to a pan in order to fry the onions, garlic, chilli and ginger. Once the onions have begun to brown and soft, you can then add the spices into the pan and continue to fry for a few more minutes. Now that these ingredients have been combined and cooked, you can remove them from the pan and place in a separate dish.Ginger and Umeboshi Aubergines grassrootsandgrains2

Using a clean tea towel or some kitchen roll, wipe the salted aubergines until they are dry and then place them into the pan that you previously fried the other ingredients in. Whilst doing this, it may be necessary to add a dash more oil into the pan. Keep frying until the aubergines are golden on both sides and then pop them into your oven on a fairly low setting, just to keep the warm.

It is now time to take the fried onion mixture and return it to the frying pan. You must also now include the umeboshi paste, sweetener and the 75ml of water. Allow this concoction to boil then stir well and leave it to simmer for five minutes. Once finished, move the mixture from the frying pan into a food processor and chuck in the flesh of the mango. Blitz together for 30 seconds before returning to the dish.

Now you can have some fun with the presentation by arranging the aubergine slices onto a platter. The sauce that you have just created in the blender can now be drizzled over the top and the rest served on the side of the dish. Present on the dinner table alongside your meal and your whole family will be satisfied until breakfast!Ginger and Umeboshi Aubergines grassrootsandgrains4

Aubergines are revered as a health food and loved by many for their low calorie count and their rich fibre content. Eating 100g of aubergine will provide you with just 24 calories but will also account for nearly 10% of your recommended daily allowance of fibre. The skin of the aubergine is just as good for you as the flesh itself and contains an impressive amount of anti-oxidants. Aubergines also rate incredibly low on the glycemic index of vegetables.

The vitamins that can be found in aubergines are essential to the body’s process of replenishing proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Also you can find great amounts of potassium, copper, iron and manganese in this tasty vegetable which are all fantastic for keeping the body functioning well. With all of these factors considered, you can understand why aubergine is an all round amazing addition to your diet!

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