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10 Power Breakfast Recipes Every Active Girl Needs In Her Life

Even if you’re one of those disgustingly lucky morning people – the kind who never seem to suffer a second of cranky, whiny, leave-me-the-hell-alone grogginess – a healthy breakfast can do a lot to prep you for the day ahead. Studies show that filling up before you leave the house can reduce your risk of heart attack, help keep you slim and increase your brainpower. To boost the benefits of breakfast even more, we created 10 recipes using ingredients proven to soothe or prevent common health complaints. Every one is easy to make and take with you, and they all taste delicious going down.

1. The PMS tamer

If your cycle is cramping your style, whip up this breakfast sandwich. Vitamin B6 combined with magnesium – both found in salmon and avocado – relieves monthly mood swings. And eating fish and cheese helps replenish vitamin D and calcium, which your period can deplete. Finally, according to the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, a high-fibre diet eases PMS by expelling excess oestrogen.

— 2 slices multigrain bread, toasted
— 1 tbsp low-fat creamed cottage cheese
— 1/4 avocado
— 28g (about one large piece) smoked salmon
— Freshly ground black pepper
— Small handful bean sprouts or one leaf iceberg lettuce

1/ On one slice of toasted bread, spread cheese and layer avocado and fish.
2/ Finish with pepper and sprouts. Place second piece of bread on top.

Per serving: 1 839kJ, 18g fat (2.5g sat), 460mg sodium, 47g carbs, 9g fibre, 7g sugars, 30g protein

READ MORE: 3 Protein-Packed Breakfasts That Totally Taste Like Dessert

2. The anxiety soother

Big days spark big worries. But British researchers found that food containing tryptophan, the amino acid found in dairy and oats (yup, the one that’s known for inducing naps), reduces anxiety by boosting the feel-good hormone serotonin. The carbohydrates in this sandwich’s bread will also help soothe frazzled nerves, experts say.

— 2 slices oat and honey bread (Sasko makes a low-GI variety)
— 1/2 ripe tomato
— 1 slice low-fat Emmental cheese
— 1 leaf romaine lettuce
— 1/ Slice tomato while bread is toasting.
— 2/ Layer cheese, tomato and lettuce between bread.

Per serving: 1 379kJ, 11g fat (5g sat), 440mg sodium, 46g carbs, 5g fibre, 9g sugars, 18g protein

3. The mood lifter

Don’t self-medicate with chocolate brownies when you’re down – opt for this healthy comfort food (which will also satisfy a sweet tooth), featuring walnuts with omega-3s and yoghurt with vitamin B12. The University of Pittsburgh
Medical School recently reported a link between omega-3 fatty acids and improved mood, while Finnish researchers found that B12 helped depression patients recover faster.

— 1 pear
— 1/2 cup Greek-style yoghurt
— 3 tbsp walnuts, roughly chopped
— 1. tbsp pitted dates, finely chopped (optional)
— 1 tbsp honey
— 1/ Chop or slice the pear, top with yoghurt, then the walnuts, dates (if using) and honey.

Per serving: 1 756kJ, 17g fat (3g sat), 35mg sodium, 64g carbs, 8g fibre, 48g sugars, 13g protein

READ MORE: Are You Making This Breakfast Mistake?

4. The sniffle stopper

To keep that bug from bringing you down, try this oat dish. The apple skins contain quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that researchers in India found protects lungs from influenza. The selenium from instant oats boosts the immune system by increasing flu-fighting macrophages, and the zinc in nuts has been proven to help curb a cold’s development. Finally, drink that orange juice – multiple studies confirm that good old immune-boosting vitamin C will help keep you above the weather.

— 1 small apple, cored and chopped, skin intact
— 1/4 cup orange juice
— 1 packet instant oats
— 1 tbsp almonds, chopped and toasted
— Cinnamon

1/ Place apple and juice in a small saucepan and simmer on medium-low until fruit is soft (about 10 minutes).
2/ Meanwhile, prepare oats.
3/ Spoon fruit mixture over oats and sprinkle with nuts and cinnamon.

Per serving: 1 087kJ, 7g fat (0g sat), 80mg sodium, 48g carbs, 8g fibre, 23g sugars, 6g protein

5. The heart saver

This fibre-rich cereal will keep your ticker kicking and your stomach happy. Just remember to drink lots of water with and after your meal – staying hydrated helps your body process the fibre. Warning: this breakfast has almost all the fibre you need for the day. So if you’re new to the bran game, skip the raspberries at first, then add them later as your body adjusts.

— 1/2 cup high-fibre bran cereal
— 1/4 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
— 1 cup plain organic yoghurt (contains more fibre than milk)
— 1/ Pour cereal in a large plastic cup and top with fruit and yoghurt.

Per serving: 1 296kJ, 1g fat (0g sat), 320mg sodium, 67g carbs, 25g fibre, 12g protein

READ MORE: 6 Oat Recipes That’ll Kickstart Your Day!

6. The metabolism starter

Antioxidants in green tea may give your digestive fires a boost by increasing the speed at which fat is burnt, according to the American Journal of Clinical
Nutrition. Spicy chillies from the capsaicin family, such as jalapeños and serranos, can perform similar feats, Japanese researchers say.

— 1 English muffin, split and toasted
— 1 tbsp canola oil
— 2 medium eggs
— 1/4 cup tightly packed baby spinach leaves, stalks removed
— Salt and pepper to taste
— Chilli sauce
— 1 cup green tea

1/ While muffin is toasting and teapot boiling, heat oil in a small pan.
2/ In a bowl, whisk the eggs, then add spinach, salt and pepper. Pour contents into pan and scramble gently until the eggs are set and the spinach wilted.
3/ Place eggs on muffin and douse with as much chilli sauce as you can handle!
4/ Wrap sandwich in foil, put tea in thermos and go.

Per serving: 1 505kJ, 15g fat (3g sat), 1 510mg sodium, 39g carbs, 6g fibre, 19g protein

7. The muscle maker

Pushed it a little too hard in spinning class and now regretting it? US researchers found that vitamin E – in nuts, apricots and oats – helps speed muscle recovery by fighting off the free radicals that multiply when you work out. Make a batch of these on Sunday and enjoy them for the rest of the week.

— Non-stick cooking spray
— 3 cups plain oats
— 1/2 cup almonds and hazelnuts
— 1/3 cup sesame seeds
— 1/4 cup dried apricots, diced
— 1/3 cup honey
— 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
— 1/4 cup canola oil
— 2 tbsp orange juice
— Dash of salt

1/ Preheat the oven to 150°C and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
2/ In a large bowl, mix oats, nuts, seeds and apricots. In a separate bowl, stir honey, sugar, oil, juice and salt together.
3/ Combine the two mixtures and spread on the baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes or until evenly browned. Let cool.
4/ Cut into pieces and divide among six airtight ziplock bags for easy storing.

Makes six servings. Per serving: 1 547kJ, 19g fat (2g sat), 250mg sodium, 47g carbs, 4g fibre, 6g protein

READ MORE: This Protein-Packed Egg Muffin Breakfast Is Actually All You Need

8. The energy source

To stay perky all day, experts suggest small, low-kilojoule meals rich in vitamin C, iron, complex carbs and protein. This two-part breakfast fits the bill. The juice and fruit provide lots of vitamin C, which promotes absorption of iron – critical for beating fatigue. Enjoy the smoothie first, then have the sandwich midmorning.

A: Super smoothie
— 1/2 cup orange juice
— 1/2 cup soya milk
— 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, stems removed
— 1/ Blend ingredients on high for one minute or until smooth.

B: Jolt sandwich
— 1 slice wholewheat bread
— 1 tbsp peanut butter
— 1 tsp honey

1/ Spread peanut butter on half the bread and drizzle with honey. Fold over.

For both servings: 1 421kJ, 13g fat (1g sat), 270mg sodium, 48g carbs, 6g fibre, 11g protein

9. The memory booster

Leading the office in some Powerpoint fun today? Eat Nigella’s jammy blueberries on toast while you review your notes. Antioxidants like those in blueberries and lemons are especially effective at preventing memory loss by reducing age-related stress on the brain, as is vitamin E, found in sunflower seeds. The zinc in wheat bread helps improve short-term memory, since the memory-making hippocampus in the brain may be fuelled by zinc.

— 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
— 1/4 cup maple syrup
— 1 slice seed loaf

1/ Add the maple syrup and blueberries to a small pot, bring to the boil and simmer for two minutes.
2/ Lightly toast the slice of seed loaf, transfer to a paper plate and top with the blueberries.

Per serving: 1 463kJ, 2g fat (0g sat), 200mg sodium, 84g carbs, 4g fibre, 58g sugars, 6g protein

10. The bone builder

This calcium-rich meal provides just under half the 1 000mg recommended daily allowance for women aged 19 to 50, thanks to the ricotta, which has 419mg. The mango adds nutrients like boron and magnesium, both of which help the body process calcium.

— 1 cup ricotta cheese
— 1/2 mango, diced
— 2 tbsp honey

1/ Place a third of the ricotta in a disposable plastic cup, then add half the fruit and honey.
2/ Repeat, ending with a layer of cheese.

Per serving: 2 341kJ, 24g fat (16g sat), 260mg sodium, 59g carbs, 1g fibre, 41g sugars, 32g protein

This weight-loss breakfast tastes like chocolate pudding! Plus: The superfood breakfast bowl worth waking up for…

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The best foods to delay aging

Eat well for a long and healthy life – that’s a mantra that we’re all familiar with, but what are the best foods to help us achieve that goal? In this article, we give you an overview of some of the most healthful and nutritious foods.
person holding grocery bagWhat are the best foods for a healthful diet? We investigate.

Official figures indicate that, currently, the top three countries in the world with the highest life expectancy are the Principality of Monaco, Japan, and Singapore. These are places where the inhabitants experience a high quality of life, and an important element of that is eating healthful meals.

Often, we find praise for “superfoods” in the media – foods so high in nutritional value that they are seen as dietary superheroes.

Nutritionists reject the term “superfoods” as a buzzword that can influence people to place too high an expectation on a limited range of foods when, in reality, a balanced diet and healthful lifestyle require more effort than eating your five-a-day.

Still, there are certain foods that are more nutritious than others, and many that, as research has shown, have a protective effect against a range of diseases. Here, we give you an overview of some of the best foods that you may want to consider including in your diet in your quest for a happy, healthy life.

Edamame (soybeans)

Edamame, or fresh soybeans, have been a staple of Asian cuisine for generations, but they have also been gaining popularity on the Western front of late. Soybeans are often sold in snack packs, but they are also added to a varied range of dishes, from soups to rice-based meals, though they are served as cooked and seasoned on their own, too.

tofu, edamame, and soy productsEdamame and tofu are rich in isoflavones, which may have anti-cancer properties.

The beans are rich in isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen – that is. plant-derived, estrogen-like substances. Isoflavones are known to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer, and antimicrobial properties.

Thus, they can help to regulate the inflammatory response of the body, slow down cellular aging, fight microbes, as well as, reportedly, protect against certain types of cancer.

Edamame are rich in two types of isoflavones, in particular: genistein and daidzein. A study covered last year on Medical News Today found that genistein could be used to improve breast cancer treatment.

In the meantime, the study authors note that “lifetime intake of soy […] has been linked to reduced risk of breast cancer,” so we may want to include soybeans in our normal diet.

Tofu (soybean curd)

Similarly, tofu, a white cheese-like product made of soybean curds, has been linked to a wealth of health benefits for the same reasons. Tofu is often found cooked in typical Eastern Asian dishes; it can be fried, baked, or boiled (for instance, in soups).

As a soy product, it is rich in isoflavones, whose health benefits we’ve outlined above; it is also a good source of protein, and it contains all the essential amino acids that our bodies need to synthesize protein.

Moreover, it is also rich in minerals, which our bodies need to keep our teeth and bones strong and healthy, and to derive energy. Tofu is a source of calcium, iron, manganese, selenium, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, and copper.

Some specialists also suggest that eating tofu can make you feel fuller for longer, so incorporating it into your meals may help to prevent overeating.

Carrots

This common culinary ingredient, best known in its orange variety, is famously recommended for its high content of beta-carotene, a pigment — and carotenoid — that gives the widespread version of this root vegetable its color.

selection of carrotsCarrots can protect against age-related eyesight damage.

Beta-carotene can be converted by our bodies into vitamin A, which, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “is involved in immune function, vision, reproduction, and cellular communication.” Our bodies cannot produce vitamin A on their own, so it must be derived from our diet.

This pigment is also an antioxidant that can protect the cells in our bodies from the aging damage caused by free radicals.

Moreover, research has shown that foods rich in carotenoids — and, of course, carrots are a prime example here — can protect against age-related macular degeneration, the vision damage caused by old age.

Some varieties of carrots, such as white carrots, do not contain the orange pigment beta-carotene, but they do all contain falcarinol, a nutrient which, some studies claim, may have a protective effect against cancer.

While raw carrots may be best for health, as they retain their nutrients, there are also ways of cooking carrots that can keep most of their nutrients “locked in.”

In an interview, one researcher who investigated the anti-cancer effect of falcarinol from carrots, Kirsten Brandt — from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom — suggests that we may want to boil our carrots whole if we want them cooked, but still bursting with nutrients.

Chopping up your carrots increases the surface area so more of the nutrients leach out into the water while they are cooked. By keeping them whole and chopping them up afterwards you are locking in nutrients and the taste, so the carrot is better for you all round.”

Cruciferous vegetables

Another important type of food on our list are cruciferous vegetables — also known as “Brassica vegetables” — which include a wide array of green foods, such as cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, radish, and kale.

basket of cruciferous vegetablesCruciferous vegetables can bring a wealth of health benefits.

These vegetables boast an especially rich nutrient content, including many vitamins (C, E, K, and folate), minerals (potassium, calcium, and selenium), and carotenoids (lutein, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin).

Cruciferous vegetables also contain glucosinolates, the substances that give these greens their characteristic pungent flavor. These substances have been found to bring diverse health benefits.

Some glucosinolates seem to regulate the body’s stress and inflammation response; they have antimicrobial properties, and some of them are being investigated for their anti-cancer potential.

One recent study covered on MNT found that leafy greens, including some cruciferous vegetables such as kale and collard greens, helped to slow down cognitive decline. Consequently, the study researchers suggest that “adding a daily serving of green, leafy vegetables to your diet may be a simple way to foster your brain health.”

Kale, broccoli, and cabbage have also been shown to have a protective effect on heart health, thanks to their vitamin K content.

Finally, cruciferous vegetables are also a great source of soluble fiber, which plays a role in regulating blood sugar levels and diminishing the absorption of fat, thus helping to prevent excess weight gain.

Salmon

Recent studies have suggested that consumption of meat — mostly red meat, but also some kinds of poultry meat — could be harmful to our health in the long run. A good alternative for protein in this case is fish, and salmon, in particular, affords many nutritional benefits.

salmonSalmon could protect cognitive health, researchers say.

Salmon is packed with protein, and also contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which is said to be beneficial for eyesight. Research has demonstrated that omega-3 protects against dry-eye syndrome, characterized by insufficient lubrication of the eyes, which can lead to soreness and blurred vision.

Moreover, omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with brain health, and research suggests that they can stave off cognitive decline associated with aging.

Salmon also has a high potassium content and, according to a new study reported on MNT last autumn, potassium can prevent the onset of heart disease.

Additionally, this type of fish is rich in the mineral selenium, which contributes to the health of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland helps to regulate hormonal activity and is involved in metabolic processes.

Although both farmed and wild salmon are available on the market, wild salmon has been found to be more nutritious overall, with a higher protein content, and also to have less saturated fat, which means that it is more healthful, and better for weight management.

However, farmed salmon is a more sustainable resource, and specialists say that the differences between farmed and wild caught salmon may not be so stark as to motivate us to prefer one type over the other.

Citrus fruits

Finally, citrus fruits are the unsung heroes of a healthful diet; these include a number of fruits that are now available worldwide, such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, clementines, mandarins, and tangerines.

basket of citrus fruitsThe flavonoids in citrus fruits have been cited in connection to longer lifespans.

For a long time, citrus fruits have been recommended by nutritionists and grandmothers alike for their high content of vitamin C, which has antioxidant properties, and is said to bring a wide array of health benefits, including to reduce inflammatory damage, and to fend off infections.

Specialists point out, however, that this type of fruits goes well beyond just vitamin C when it comes to nutritional content.

The fruits are abundant in other macronutrients, including sugars, dietary fiber, potassium, folate, calcium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, riboflavin and pantothenic acid.”

If this list of dietary goodies hasn’t colored you impressed, the specialists then go on to explain how citrus fruits contain even more organic compounds — such as flavonoids, coumarins, and carotenoids — that have been said to have protective effects against cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Research has shown that flavonoids — in which citrus fruits are particularly rich — can “prevent or delay chronic diseases caused by obesity.”

Flavonoids have also garnered a lot of scientific attention for their anti-cancer potential, and consumption of especially flavonoid-rich citrus fruits has been associated with a significantly prolonged lifespan.

The inhabitants of the Japanese prefecture of Okinawa, known to be some of the longest-living populations of the world, regularly eat shikuwasa, also known as “shequasar,” a citrus fruit typical of the region, which contains more flavonoids than most other citrus fruits.

Drinking shikuwasa juice rich in flavonoid content has also been linked to better liver health.

Although all of the foods mentioned above are appreciated for their significant health benefits, we should not forget that well-being and longevity cannot be achieved without a balanced, inclusive diet and a healthful lifestyle.

Moreover, current studies suggest that our genetic makeup may have an important say as to which foods work best for our health. So, keeping our list of nutritious foods in mind, make sure you follow the healthful diet that is most effective for you!

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