Spring is here, the nights are staying lighter and suddenly that fresh air we breathe in really hits home. We get a spring in our step, the sun is finally making an appearance for more than 10 minutes a day, the flowers are budding and blooming, and emotionally we feel a little lighter. Spring is a time of new beginnings, spring cleaning the house, and having the motivation to look after ourselves after the cosy winter months that have past. Here is a list of a few amazing foods that you can add to your daily snacks or meals, that will give you that extra boost of energy.
Good for: Mood
Walnuts are packed with tryptophan, an amino acid your body needs to create the feel-great chemical serotonin. (In fact, Spanish researchers found that walnut eaters have higher levels of this natural mood-regulator.) Walnuts are an excellent source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids, in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Walnuts are also rich in antioxidants, including being a very good source of manganese and copper. They are also a good source of molybdenum and the B vitamin biotin.
Good for: Mood
These spears are one of the best veggie sources of folate, a B vitamin that could help keep you out of a slump. "Folate is important for the synthesis of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine," All of these are crucial for mood. Asparagus is an excellent source of vitamin K, folate, copper, selenium, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin C, and vitamin E. It is a very good source of dietary fiber, manganese, phosphorus, vitamin B3, potassium, choline, vitamin A, zinc, iron, protein, vitamin B6, and pantothenic acid.
Good for: Weight Loss
The slim-you benefit of this seasonal treat lies in a compound called allicin, which gives garlic its pungent smell. Spring garlic has a milder, sweeter taste than the dried white bulbs you buy later in the season. Enjoy it diced on salad for a fat-fighting side or lunch.
Good for: Weight Loss
As an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, protein and fiber, legumes are a highly satiating food. This means that for a relatively low amount of calories legumes make you feel fuller longer and, therefore, help prevent the hunger that can lead to unhealthy snacking and unwanted pounds. For about 115 calories, a 1/2-cup serving of cooked lentils provides about 9 grams of protein, 20 grams of mostly complex carbohydrates and less than half a gram of fat. It also supplies nearly 8 grams of fiber, or 31 percent of the recommended daily value. Most legumes contain significant amounts of insoluble and soluble fiber. Eating legumes several times a week promotes bowel regularity and helps keep blood sugar levels in check.
Good for: Energy
These tasty leaves are a great source of iron (especially if you don't eat meat), which is a key component in red blood cells that fuel our muscles with oxygen for energy.
Researchers in Sweden recently identified another way in which these greens might keep you charged: Compounds found in spinach actually increase the efficiency of our mitochondria, the energy-producing factories inside our cells. That means eating a cup of cooked spinach a day may give you more lasting power on the elliptical machine (or in your daily sprint to catch the bus).
Good for: Skin
They may not have the smoothest complexion themselves, but strawberries can get you one. They're loaded with antioxidants that help your skin repair damage caused by environmental factors like pollution and UV rays. Plus, they're packed with vitamin C (less than a cup gets you your entire 75 mg RDA)—the vitamin associated with fewer wrinkles and less dryness.
Good for: Memory
Eat them regularly and you may reap big brain benefits. In a recent study, people with age-related memory decline who drank roughly two and a half cups of blueberry juice per day for 12 weeks (the equivalent of eating a cup of blueberries) made significant improvements on memory and learning tests compared with those who drank a placebo juice.