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Calories May Outweigh Nutrients in Diets for Fatty Liver

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Intermittent calorie restriction offers only modest advantages over a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet (LCHF) for treating non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD), researchers say.

The intermittent diet provides more benefits for liver stiffness and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and may be easier to maintain, said Magnus Holmer, MD, director of the department of hepatology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

But the intermittent diet has drawbacks, too, and the differences between the two have been minor, he told Medscape Medical News.

“They were more or less equally effective in reducing liver steatosis in NAFLD and also in reducing body weight,” he said. “And from this we can say that the composition of macronutrients like fat or sugar seems to be less important than how many calories you eat.”

Holmer and colleagues presented their results at the International Liver Congress (ILC) 2021 and published them in JHEP Reports.

While previous studies have shown that diet can effectively treat NAFLD, researchers have debated whether a popular low-carb, high-fat diet could do more harm than good.

At the same time, intermittent low-calorie diets are also gaining popularity, especially the 5: 2 diet, where participants eat normally 5 days a week and limit their calories on the other 2 days.

How do the two diets compare?

To see if one was more effective than the other, the researchers recruited 74 people with NAFLD. They diagnosed the patients either by radiological examination or a combination of controlled attenuation parameters (CAP)> 280 dB / m and obesity or a CAP> 280 dB / m, elevated alanine aminotransferase and obesity. 16 of the patients were treated with statins.

The researchers randomly assigned 25 people on the LCHF diet, 25 on a 5: 2 diet, and 24 on standard care. The groups were similar at baseline for diet, age, body mass index (BMI), liver stiffness, and most other criteria, although there were more women in the standard care group.

At the start of the study, participants in the standard care group consulted a hepatologist who advised them to avoid sweets and saturated fats, eat three meals a day, and avoid large portions.

The researchers asked women on the 5: 2 diet to consume up to 500 kcal / day on 2 days per week and up to 2000 kcal / day on the other 5 days. They asked the men in the group to consume up to 600 kcal / day on 2 days a week and up to 2400 kcal / day on the other 5 days.

They provided all 5: 2 participants with recipes that followed the Nordic dietary recommendations, an adaptation of the Mediterranean diet that emphasizes traditional foods in the Nordic countries, particularly grains such as whole rye, oats and barley; Fruits such as apples, pears, berries and plums; Root vegetables, cabbage, onions, peas, beans, fish, boiled potatoes and dairy products; and the use of rapeseed oil (canola). The calories contained in the recipes consisted of 45% -60% carbohydrates, 25% fat and 10% -20% protein.

The researchers asked women on the LCHF diet to consume an average of 1600 kcal / day and men an average of 1900 kcal / day. All participants used recipes based on meat, fish, eggs, low-carb vegetables and milk fat. The participants avoided sugar, bread, pasta, rice, pies, potatoes and fruit. The calories in the recipes are made up of 5 to 10% carbohydrates, 50 to 80% fat and 15 to 40% protein.

All participants reported what they ate in the last 3 days, both at the start of the study and after 12 weeks. Participants in the 5: 2 and LCHF groups also received follow-up calls to report their last 24 hours of eating on week 2, 4, 8, and 12, as well as week 6, when they visited a nutritionist.

In addition, the researchers measured the participants’ linoleic acid and α-linolenic acid intakes to see if the diets of the participants were different in the groups.

After 12 weeks, all three groups lost a significant amount of liver fat, but the LCHF and 5: 2 groups lost more than the standard care group. Liver stiffness decreased significantly in the 5: 2 and standard care groups, but not in the LCHF group.

Table. Change in body composition

diet Mean change in liver steatosis,% Mean change in liver stiffness, kPa Mean change in body weight, kg
Standard maintenance -3.6 -1.5 -2.5
LCHF -7.2 -0.3 -7.3
5: 2 -6.1 -1.8 -7.4

The differences in steatosis change between the standard care and LCHF groups were statistically significant (P = 0.001), as were between the standard care and 5: 2 groups (P = 0.029). The differences between the LCHF and 5: 2 groups were not statistically significant for weight or steatosis, but were statistically significant for liver stiffness.

In addition, the 5: 2 group significantly reduced total and LDL cholesterol, while the standard care group did not. In the LCHF group, all LDL, HDL and total cholesterol levels increased.

The long-term effects of cholesterol results are unclear, said Holmer. He hopes to be able to follow up on these patients after 18-24 months. But the initial cholesterol findings may be enough to set a red flag for anyone with a history of cardiovascular disease, Holmer said.

Adherence to the diet

Only one person dropped out of the 5: 2 group, compared to 5 in the LCHF group and 4 in the standard care group. More people in the LCHF group reported adverse events such as gastrointestinal upset.

“With LCHF, it’s a drastic change for most people,” said Holmer. “Many patients are a little shocked when they realize how much fat to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They may eat bacon and eggs for breakfast every day.” Diet could be challenging for people looking to reduce their meat consumption for environmental reasons, he added.

The 5: 2 group has the advantage that people can choose what to eat as long as they stick to the calorie restrictions, he stressed. Still, he warned that the diet wouldn’t work well for people with insulin-dependent diabetes because it was difficult to adjust insulin levels on fasting days. He also advised against this diet for people with cirrhosis because they have to eat frequent meals.

LCHF and 5: 2 Diets Can Work Can

But for most people, the good news is that a variety of diets will work to treat NAFLD, Holmer said.

“I start by telling my patients that this can be completely cured as long as you are able to lose weight,” he said. “Then the next question is how are you going to cope with this task? And if you are already interested in a particular diet, I can promote it based on these results.”

Stephen Harrison, MD, visiting professor of hepatology at the Radcliffe Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, said longer term results will be important. For example, it will be interesting to see if the diets had any effect on ballooning or inflammation, he told Medscape Medical News.

Another limitation of the study is that it is relatively small, he said. He suggested that people with NAFLD should increase their physical activity and eat less.

Still, Harrison enthusiastically welcomed the results, saying, “This is an important study.”

It’s useful to compare two popular diets head-to-head, and it’s also encouraging to get confirmation that either can work, he added.

The study was supported by grants from the Stockholm County Council, the Nutrition Science Foundation (Kostfonden), the Skandia Research Foundation and the Åke Wiberg Foundation. Holmer has not disclosed any relevant financial relationships. Harrison is a consultant to Madrigal Pharmaceuticals.

International Liver Congress (ILC) 2021: Abstract OA-1627. Presented on 06/25/2021.

JHEP reports. Published on February 17, 2021. Full text

Laird Harrison writes about science, health and culture. His work has appeared in national magazines, newspapers, on public radio and on websites. He is working on a novel about alternative realities in physics. Harrison teaches writing at the Writers Grotto. Visit him at lairdharrison.com or follow him on Twitter @ LairdH

Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

How To Build the Healthiest Lunch: Midday Meal Nutrition Guide

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Have you ever wondered what the healthiest lunch is? Well, the short answer to that is whatever you want – within reason. What we’re saying is that the healthiest lunch to you doesn’t look like a specific sandwich, wrap, or salad. It’s really not mandatory.

What’s the healthiest lunch?

Rather, creating the healthiest lunch to fuel your afternoons is about filling a plate — or bowl — with foods with a healthy balance of macronutrients (remember: carbs, fats, proteins) and micronutrients (vitamins , minerals) that fuel your body and brain.

Want some healthy lunch ideas straight from a nutritionist? Scroll to the bottom of the page

The ultimate goal is to keep you satisfied and energized enough to handle whatever the latter half of the day may throw at you.

What should I eat for lunch to lose weight?

First of all, your choice of lunch is not a miracle cure for healthy weight loss. Rather, safe, sustainable weight loss is the result of a mix of behaviors that you check off every day: good nutrition, a mix of cardio and resistance training, proper rest and stress management techniques all play their part.

However, when it comes to your lunchtime meal and you have a weight loss or maintenance goal in mind, limiting your carbs to a quarter of your plate or opting for an open sandwich might help.

As for pronto protein? Grab cooked chicken breasts, smoked mackerel fillets, or canned tuna, or if you’re plant-based, opt for ready-made lentils and drain your canned chickpeas the night before so you can just tip them into a salad.

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While meat alternatives (if you’re looking at your frozen veggie sausages) can be useful, they’re often loaded with additional ingredients and are best not to be counted on – sliced ​​tofu is a better reputation. And to follow a fixed rule? Aim for your lunch to be 50% vegetables, says Dr. Chintal Patel, NHS GP and healthy eating blogger (@drchintalskitchen).

Sounds daunting, but this is something you can accomplish fairly easily. “It only takes seconds to toss a generous handful of spinach and frozen peas into your store-bought soup,” she suggests.

Is there anything else I should know about preparing a healthy lunch?

toppings? Not just for pizza. They offer another way to add more variety, flavor, and nutrients. “Cover salads with a tablespoon of seeds or a drizzle of olive oil and fresh herbs, add some sauerkraut to a sandwich, or a couple tablespoons of kefir or yogurt to a curry or daal,” adds Laura Tilt, nutritionist and gut health specialist (@NutritionValue) .

And how can I take care of my gut health at lunch?

One thing to think about when preparing or buying your lunch is your gut health. “A varied diet is important to ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need,” says Tilt, who adds that to encourage diversity in your gut microbes, you should shoot 30 different types of plants each week.

And see, while we’re not saying that you need a wholesome Insta-perfect rainbow plate for the healthiest lunch, it’s kudos to get closer to your weekly goal with your lunch.

“Whether it’s bread, pasta, rice or another grain, opt for whole grains to get the extra fiber, which is great nutrition for your gut microbes and is good for maintaining your blood sugar levels – and therefore your energy levels,” he adds inclination.

Just buy pre-cooked packets of cereal like Merchant Gourmet or cook an extra portion the night before if you don’t want to pay extra.

How do I build the healthiest sandwich?

If you think that sandwiches have nothing to do with the healthiest lunchtime dishes, we’re happy to say you’re way off the mark. Bread – and we’ll repeat this until we’re blue in the face – isn’t bad. In fact, whole grains contribute a lot to a healthy, varied diet.

What can make sandwiches difficult to achieve your healthiest lunchtime goals is the fact that they’re not as simple a vehicle as, say, a salad to munch on tons of veggies.

For convenience, if you have a sarnie, you’ll probably need to shred some veggies to a child’s side rather than squeezing them between the slices.

“Seven cherry tomatoes count as a serving,” notes Tilt. “Just like a 2 inch piece of cucumber and a carrot.”

Is it healthy to buy lunch on the go?

When you work outside the home, a healthier lunch doesn’t come cheap. Before the pandemic, the average Brit office worker spent £1,580 a year on lunch*, while Londoners spent a whopping £4,000.

So why were some of us willing to spend so much hard-earned money to buy the healthiest lunch we could find? One word: convenience. But it pays to keep your wits about you when trying to pick up some delicious food along the way.

“Convenience foods that are labeled as ‘healthy’ are often not as nutritious as they are made out to be,” says Dr. patel “Often the focus is on caloric content rather than nutrient density. Also, ready meals often contain a lot of added sugar and salt – something that isn’t always obvious at first glance.”

That’s not to say that every meal you buy at 1 p.m. isn’t great nutrition news. “A grab-and-go salad or a cereal hot box can add more variety to your diet than you might otherwise get, especially if you’re a creature of habit,” says Tilt.

“You could make a chili with rice at home — but if you buy a chili to go, you might get three types of beans, avocado, coleslaw, and yogurt,” she says of a strong, healthier lunch option on the go. “And even if you buy ingredients like edamame beans, olives, and kimchi in your weekly grocery store,” she adds, “you’ll probably be eating them all week.”

Maybe food for thought?

After some inspo? 6 Healthiest Lunches From A Nutritionist

1. Mackerel pie, toast, red cabbage sauerkraut

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2. Eggs baked on the tray

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3. Chicken Soup

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4. Savory

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5. Fast Dhal

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6. Minestrone with a pan

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Best Eating Habits to Reverse Prediabetes, Say Dietitians — Eat This Not That

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If you’re considered prediabetic (more than 30% of Americans meet the criteria, and many of you may not even know it), overhauling your diet and lifestyle habits can make a noticeable difference in improving your health. In fact, according to the CDC, it’s possible to reverse prediabetes with the right lifestyle interventions.

“Prediabetes can be a scary diagnosis, but the good news is that it’s reversible. Lifestyle changes such as healthy eating habits, better sleep, and physical activity can help. Take it slow and start with small, actionable steps,” says Mackenzie Burgess, RDN, registered nutritionist and recipe developer at Cheerful Choices. “If you need help setting goals or sticking to your diet, consult a licensed dietitian.”

to Burgess, Eleana Kaidanian, RD, CDN, CPT-WFS, registered nutritionist and owner of Long Island Nutritionist, a private virtual practice based in New York, comments: “Reversing prediabetes, or even reversing a full-blown diabetes diagnosis, is not a myth; in fact, I regularly help my patients achieve this, so I know it can be done, you can too! My clients can tell you and so will I, it takes work, it takes change, but if you set yourself up for success, I have seen A1Cs drop in the 8s (diagnosis of diabetes) to the mid 5s (healthy/normal range) achieved in 90 days with diet and exercise“, she says. “If you are consistent in your efforts, not only will your efforts become more habitual and easier over time, but you will also help produce the results you want.”

Aside from meeting with a health professional like a trusted doctor and/or nutritionist to find the best personalized approach for you, here are six simple guidelines that can help you reverse prediabetes. And to learn more about eating healthily, don’t miss out on drinking habits to avoid if you’re prediabetic, says nutritionist.

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Burgess recommends starting meals with a simple side salad or your choice of colorful roasted vegetables. That doesn’t sound bad now, does it? “Eating vegetables as the first part of a meal is a simple eating habit that can help control blood sugar levels. Research shows that those who ate vegetables before the main carbohydrate portion of their meal had lower post-meal blood sugar levels compared to those who ate carbohydrates first,” says Burgess.

Eat this, not that

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We’re not talking about Skittles, friends. “Eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables is an achievable and fun eating habit that can help reverse prediabetes. This is because the different colors in foods represent different antioxidants, phytochemicals, and nutrients that are associated with a lower prevalence of prediabetes,” says Bürger. “Although it’s probably not realistic to eat every color in one meal, try to incorporate different colored foods throughout the week with the goal of eating as many as possible,” she continues, recommending people try yogurt with different ones Garnish berries and stir colorful peppers into pasta dishes or this rainbow quinoa salad.

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More guacamole? Sign up with us. “Eating more healthy fats, like monounsaturated fats, can improve your body’s use of insulin, which may help reverse prediabetes,” says Burgess. “One study found that eating more monounsaturated fats, particularly olive oil, improved insulin sensitivity in people with prediabetes. Other good sources of monounsaturated fats are avocados, nuts, and seeds. Try roasting veggies in olive oil and toasting avocado instead of butter on toast, or making nut-crusted salmon.”

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Intermittent fasting might be trendy, but listen to learn more about meal timing to reverse prediabetes: “Fad diets like intermittent fasting aren’t going to help you reverse your prediabetes. In fact, you should do the opposite. Try to eat frequently, ideally every two to three hours, as a schedule to prevent your blood sugar from dropping between snacks and meals, and to avoid very large meals due to gaps in the diet, which can cause blood sugar spikes.” , Kaidanian shares.

“Your body wants to keep your blood sugar constant. Encouraging rises and falls in blood sugar levels by skipping snacks/meals, going without food for long periods, and then overeating is not diabetes-friendly. Eating more of a small, balanced diet, eating every few hours will keep you full and within your carbohydrate limits due to portion size. You’ll feel happier and your blood sugar will be in a healthier and happier place with these changes in your eating plan,” she said, who also points to this research.

CONNECTED: Safe ways to lower your blood sugar, dietitians say

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Listen, listen: “Not all carbohydrates are created equal or affect your blood sugar the same way,” Kaidanian proclaims. “When choosing snacks and meals, aim for high-fiber carbohydrates in the form of fruits/vegetables (especially those with intact skin), beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Fiber is rough and chewy—think wheat bread vs. white bread—and adding fiber to your diet puts more work in your body to convert it into energy. This work and time factor causes sugar to break down slowly over a period of time released into the bloodstream, preventing a potential spike from a fiber-free carbohydrate like juice,” she explains. As Kaidanian breaks it down, choosing a fiber-rich food like an apple with the skin on is more complex than choosing a simple carbohydrate, in this example apple juice .

“But you don’t have to stop here. “By choosing not to eat a carbohydrate on its own, even if it’s high in fiber, and adding a protein or fat, you can make snacking or meal choices even more complex,” she adds. Try a small apple with it, for example bowl and a spoonful of natural unsweetened nut butters, Kaidanian recommends.”That way, your body responds with better glycemic control of the foods you’ve just put into your body to break down for energy,” she concludes, citing this research She had us at apple and almond butter.

CONNECTED: 15 Best Snack Combos That Double Weight Loss

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“There are three macronutrients that make up all of the energy we get from our diet, specifically protein, fat and carbohydrates,” explains Kaidanian, noting that of the three, carbohydrates have the greatest impact on blood sugar. “It’s not that you shouldn’t eat carbs, it’s that you need to be aware of the amount of carbs you’re eating at any given moment. Unfortunately, our western diet is very high in carbohydrates. You probably don’t need to go on a low-carb diet, it’s just that most people eat a loaded carb diet. By comparison, it may seem like you’re going to have to make a big adjustment, but in reality you should just keep track and stay within reach of your carb needs,” she says, citing that research and these CDC carb counting guidelines.

“Carb counting is a method I use with my clients to understand how many grams carbohydrate sources have in a given session.”

For snacks, Kaidanian recommends 15 grams of total carbs (equivalent to 1 carb count) and a range of 15 to 30 grams for meals.

“Remember that you can and should add proteins and fats for bulking and filling food combinations. An example of a snack in this range might be a hard-boiled egg or two (0-1 grams of carbs) plus a cup of fresh bell peppers (9 grams of carbs).” To learn more about carbs, read How to Calculate Net Carbs calculated weight loss.

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9 Restorative Recipes for Any Time of Day

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Eating for your mental health doesn’t have to be complicated. These low prep recipes are for those days when preparing a meal feels like too much.

Depression can turn anything and everything into a chore—even eating.

When it’s zapping your energy and desire to cook, it can be tempting to swing through a drive-through, make a meal out of sweets, or just skip food altogether.

Instead, you can try these flavorful meals and snacks that may even have the added benefit of improving your mood.

Grocery shopping can feel overwhelming for some people — and even more so when depression is interfering with your motivation. But having some healthy things on hand can help you feel better.

Creating a simple list of essential groceries can make shopping a little easier, whether online or in-store.

oils

According to 2015 animal studies, extra virgin olive oil may help maintain brain function and prevent cognitive decline. Not only is virgin coconut oil rich in antioxidants, but a 2014 animal study found that it may also reduce stress.

sugar and sweeteners

Research suggests there is a link between added or artificial sugar and depression.

You might want to have these substitutes on hand if a recipe calls for sugar:

fruit and vegetables

A balanced diet can include fresh, frozen, and dried fruits and vegetables. And if you don’t have the energy or motivation, buying pre-cut ones can make life a little easier.

Some good options are:

  • Carrot sticks or baby carrots
  • fresh or frozen spinach or kale
  • sweet potatoes
  • fresh, frozen, dried or freeze-dried:
    • bananas
    • grapes
    • apples
    • clementines
  • kiwi
  • cauliflower
  • fresh, frozen or freeze-dried:

carbohydrates

You can look for whole wheat breads and pastas or convenient microwavable cereals, including:

  • oatmeal
  • Brown rice
  • Andean millet

snacks

If you need a midday pick-me-up, consider one of these snacks:

  • dry roasted nuts
  • low-fat cream cheese
  • air popped popcorn
  • Wholemeal crackers
  • whole grain muesli

flavor enhancer

Healthy doesn’t have to mean bland. You can improve the flavor of your food with many things, such as:

  • dried spices, like Tajin
  • grated parmesan cheese to garnish pasta, vegetables and popcorn
  • hot sauce or sriracha (in moderation!)
  • vinegars to spice up salads and sauces, such as:
    • balsamic vinegar
    • red wine vinegar
    • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • brothto add extra flavor to pasta, rice or vegetables
  • Lemonsto press onto almost any meat or vegetable for added flavor and brightness

Once you have your basic necessities in stock, you can look through the recipes below and add other ingredients for recipes you want to make.

Fatigue and lack of energy are common symptoms of depression. Eating energy-boosting foods allows you to gain energy while avoiding negative side effects that could come with too much caffeine.

Research from 2020 suggests that eating foods rich in B vitamins, iron, and magnesium may help with fatigue.

A plain egg (or egg alternative) with a dark leafy green like this Spinach Feta Scrambled Egg can give you a healthy dose of these fatigue-fighting nutrients.

You can find the recipe here.

Some foods – like chocolate! — may support a more balanced mood. Chocolate contains tons of antioxidants like flavonoids, which interact with the brain and potentially boost mood and cognition.

Adding dark chocolate to dishes like peanut butter oatmeal can act as a tasty pick-me-up. The protein, healthy fats, and whole grains provide a trifecta for energy and comfort.

You can find the recipe here.

Not a chocolate lover? Other foods, like sweet potatoes, also contain B vitamins (to help produce serotonin) and magnesium (which may help lower anxiety).

With an Instant Pot, you can make a delicious, fluffy sweet potato in minutes. You can find the recipe here.

No instant pot? No problem. You can toss one in the oven for a baked sweet potato instead. You can find the recipe here.

Omega-3 fatty acids can be especially helpful for people who want to clear brain fog or sharpen their focus. Foods that are high in these fatty acids include:

  • Salmon and other fatty fish
  • avocados
  • walnuts

You can try this walnut-crusted salmon to get plenty of brain-boosting omega-3s.

You can find the recipe here.

Not a fan of fish or nuts? Chia seeds and flaxseeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids. You can add them to oatmeal, yogurt, cookies, and salads.

If depression is interfering with your sleep, eating foods rich in certain ingredients that promote better sleep can help your recovery.

A small 2018 study found that adults who consumed tart cherry juice for 2 weeks slept 84 minutes longer and more efficiently than when they drank a placebo juice.

If you blend a smoothie with berries, which are rich in dairy and antioxidants, you may be on your way to better sleep — although more research needs to be done to fully understand the why and how.

Adding tart cherry juice to a smoothie is an easy way to take advantage of this sleep booster.

You can find the recipe here.

Want something heartier than a smoothie?

Turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan, which research found in 2014 may help produce melatonin, a hormone that plays a role in the sleep cycle.

A simple ground turkey taco is super quick to make in a single skillet. You may simply want to use spicy or high-fat supplements to get the most benefits.

You can find the recipe here.

A 2020 research report suggests that increasing your intake to at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day can:

  • have a calming effect on your mood
  • promote a higher level of optimism
  • Reduce anxiety and depressive symptoms

Recipes that combine fruits and vegetables like a salad may prove to be the easiest. Adding some cheese or protein can help round it out even more.

This Strawberry Caprese Salad is an example.

You can find the recipe here.

While some people with depression find eating something challenging, depression causes others to overeat and often crave sweets and snacks.

You can satisfy your sweet tooth and enjoy some creativity by creating your own trail mix mix. One option is a simple dark chocolate and cherry trail mix that’s loaded with nuts.

You can find the recipe here.

When living with depression, it can be tempting to skip meals or settle for foods that don’t nourish you. But good nutrition can help you take care of yourself and your condition—both in the short and long term.

If you’re looking for more ways to boost your energy, you can learn more here.

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