This past Sunday, most of the country turned the clock back for Daylight Savings, and for many, the dread of Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms has set in. This time of the year can be quite jarring and with all the comfort food coming to the rescue around the corner, this is a time when many not only battle SAD but also gut health and a growing waistline too.
Why not fight food with food this year? If you are going to eat to feel better, why not eat to feel better! There are several ingredients that you more than likely already love that are not only great for your body but your mind too. Today, I am starting a series of blogs to speak specifically about these mind power foods and how they can help you to improve your overall health. One of my absolute favorites is avocados.
Avocados are a creamy and versatile fruit that can be eaten in a range of different ways whether you enjoy it raw, made into sauces, dressings, and dips, or in a smoothie. These nutrient-dense fruits have the properties to stress-proof your body, thanks to their high glutathione content which specifically blocks the intestinal absorption of certain fats which cause oxidative damage.
Gut Health Benefits of Avocado:
What the heck does that mean? Have you ever heard of leaky gut disease? How about bad bacteria in your gut that cause you to crave sugary treats and junk food, which they thrive on? Have you heard of lectins, the plant defense system? These are the critters that team up to create terrible gut health. The lectins are spiky cells found in certain plants that you love to eat, such as tomatoes, that tear your gut open, allowing poo and bad bacteria to get into your bloodstream. Therefore creating a “leaking gut”.
Not only are avocados protectors of your gut health, but they also power up your body with just the right nutrients to prevent stress and anxiety. It is now being shown that gut health is very closely connected to great mental health. Avocados also contain higher levels of vitamin E, folate, and beta-carotene than any other fruit, which boosts their stress-busting properties. However, be careful with portion control when eating avocado, as it is high in fat.
Guacamole Dip Tips:
One of my avocado-eating secrets is to make a fresh guacamole dip. This helps you to eat less. Guac is amazingly simple to make. All you need is a fresh lemon, a few pinches of salt and pepper, and diced-up veggies that you love. The secret to great guac is experimenting with your blend of chosen ingredients. A few squeezes of lemon here, a few pinches of salt and pepper there, and you are off to the races on creating a tasty dish. The extra veggies will help you to eat less avocado as well.
Portion Size and Storage Tips:
As guac does not hold overnight very well, divide your serving portions up into sandwich bags and freeze them. Make sure you push as much air out of the bag as possible and fold it over around your serving of guac. This is the perfect way to ensure portion control while ensuring all of your avocados go into your stomach, not the trash. I would not purchase more than two avocados at a time to ensure that you use everything that you buy.
Rather than springing for tortilla chips at the store, try frying tortilla wraps to create your own chips. This will give a warm and delicious touch to your dip that you will love! It also will help with portion control. You can see that you have eaten an entire tortilla vs thirty chips out of a chip bag. Preparing your own food makes it harder to overeat when you prepare only what you will need. I will share more SAD and stress-fighting foods over the next few weeks. Let me know how your homemade guac came out in the comments!
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