Anyone who’s eaten an entire sleeve of Oreos knows the gross feeling that inevitably follows. While you’re bloated, gassy and maybe a bit nauseous, you might begin to wonder whether indulging in that junk food was worth it. Moreover, you may begin looking for healthier food to make yourself feel better.
Luckily, there are a number of fresh, healthy foods and spices you can incorporate into your diet. The following will both help you feel better and improve your overall health the more you consume them.
Throughout the ages, sages and ayurvedic practitioners have used turmeric as a medicine. Mainly, they prescribed this spice to reduce inflammation, boost antioxidants and slow the aging process. Today, those who incorporate turmeric into their food on a regular basis can still reap these health benefits.
However, since turmeric doesn’t absorb well into the bloodstream, you’ll either have to take it as a supplement or use it along with black pepper on your food. Piperine, a compound in black pepper, makes curcumin — the active ingredient in turmeric — more bioavailable. Sprinkle the two over curry, brew golden milk or use them in a tofu scramble to reap the benefits.
Ginger also has a long history of medicinal use thanks to its anti-inflammatory, anti ulcer and anti tumor effects. Today, many still use this root in alternative medicine. From alleviating nausea to relieving arthritis-related aches and pains, ginger’s active ingredient, gingerol, can help you feel healthier.
Boil the root in water to brew ginger tea or add it to smoothies for benefits you can sip and enjoy. You might also add it to stir-fries and other Asian cuisines for some extra spice or to enhance flavors.
Recently, seaweed has been showing up on menus and kitchen tables across North America — with good reason. This low-calorie food is salty, crunchy and packed with nutrients. Full of vitamins A, E and B, omega-3s, protein, fiber, zinc , copper, iron and more, seaweed supports thyroid function and provides antioxidants that can protect your cells from damage.
Add some to your pho or miso soup, use it as a salad topping or get fancy and roll some sushi in seaweed sheets. You can even eat small sheets of the stuff as a snack if you need a quick mid-day pick-me-up.
Most people can also benefit from eating bananas on a fairly regular basis. These yellow beauties are full of fiber, which can help lower blood sugar levels, promote digestive health and even lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Bananas also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that regulates mood and may improve your memory.
Of course, you can eat bananas alone. However, they’re also great on peanut butter toast, in smoothies or in fruit salads. They’re obviously great in banana bread, muffins, pancakes and other baked goods as well.
5. Dark, Leafy Greens
Spinach, kale, arugula, collard greens, swiss chard and other dark, leafy greens are sure to make you feel better. Of course, each one has its own superpowers, but they all have a healthy nutritional profile. Incorporating these greens into your diet can reduce your risk of heart disease, some cancers, type two diabetes and even eye disease.
Of course, the simplest way to add more leafy greens to your meals is to make salads. However, you can also saute’ or bake them to serve as a side dish in practically any meal. Add them to casseroles, pizzas, breakfast skillets and soups for more variety.
In general, if you want to eat foods that will make you feel happy and healthy, look for fresh, unprocessed foods at your local grocery store. Shop the produce aisles and purchase whole foods with minimal packaging and few added ingredients. Eating clean like this is one of the best ways to cut out junk food and promote health.
Even if you don’t completely empty your cupboards of canned and packaged foods, supplementing your diet with more fresh produce will do your body, mind and overall health a huge favor. Continue searching for small ways to incorporate more of the foods above in your daily meals. As you do, you’re bound to feel healthier and happier, making it easier for you to keep eating clean.