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Feel Better Naturally with Food

Feel Better Naturally

We know we need food to fuel our bodies, and that better food choices will help us control or maintain our weight. But beyond weight management, we don’t often think of the benefits food offers our body. Besides providing energy, food can help repair and heal our bodies from the inside. In this day and age, food as medicine may seem like an odd concept, but it’s actually one of the oldest practices. We may take for granted the role food plays in our mental and physical well-being, but a quick education on the foods that help heal and improve our moods may have you rewriting your grocery store list this week. Read on to find out ways you can feel better naturally with food.

Combat heartburn: Adding fiber rich foods, like vegetables, whole grain bread and whole wheat pasta to your diet keeps things moving in your digestive track. Food spends less time in your stomach, which reduces the chance of it coming back up as heartburn.

Fight colds: Tuna, halibut, and turkey all contain selenium, which is a key part to our immune system. Selenium increases the number of white blood cells, especially the ones in charge of killing bacteria and viruses, like the flu. If your body does not have enough selenium, you are more likely to experience severe flu symptoms and have a greater chance of a mild flu mutating to a worse strain.

Boost immune system: Food that contains probiotics (good bacteria) helps keep your immune system strong, and may reduce upper respiratory infections. One study found that consuming one probiotic drink a day cut sick days by 55 percent. To take advantage of these immune boosting powers, add yogurt, kimchi, kefir, miso, tempeh, or raw-milk cheeses (like gouda or feta) to your grocery cart.

Relieving joint and muscle pain: Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and sardines, can help relieve stiff joints. Adding this to your diet can also ease morning stiffness, and is particularly beneficial to those with rheumatoid arthritis.

Anti-inflammatory: Cherry juice is quickly becoming the post work-out drink of choice. The rise in popularity is due to the anti-inflammatory abilities of this tart drink which diminishes post-workout soreness.

• Beat allergies: Almonds, peanuts and sunflower seeds are full of vitamin E, which may fight allergy symptoms like sneezing and itchy eyes, according to some studies. One study found that people who had diets high in vitamin E had a lower risk of hay fever.

Battle a UTI: For many, this is a reoccurring problem. Next time you feel that uncomfortable twinge, try drinking parsley tea (made by steeping a bunch of fresh parsley in boiling water for ten minutes) or cranberry juice. The parsley tea has antibacterial powers that fight the germs that cause UTIs, even those resistant to some antibiotics. Cranberry juice contains a compound called proanthocyanidins, which prevent bacteria from sticking to bladder cells and causing infection.

It’s no secret that the healthier you eat, the better you’ll feel. But if you find yourself battling the same symptoms over and over, consider adapting your diet to include more of these foods that will help you feel better naturally.