As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across the world, levels of stress, grief, anxiety and depression are also taking a rise. In recognition of this, we are launching a new blog series devoted entirely to prioritizing mental health and discussing strategies and habits to implement in day-to-day living. Our topics will range from meditation to proper nutrition to spiritual wellness and more.
For today’s topic, we’d like to focus on clean eating. Clean eating is a buzz term that you’ve likely heard in the news or in health and wellness articles but what does it actually mean? As defined by the Mayo Clinic, the fundamentals of eating clean encourage you to consume more whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats — and limit highly processed snack foods, sweets and other packaged foods.
Studies have shown that eliminating free radicals found in processed foods as well as increasing the good bacteria in the gut will reduce inflammation and stimulate the good hormones and chemicals in the brain, one being serotonin which is a mood enhancer. The following clean foods have been shown to reduce inflammation and have mood enhancing qualities. Many of these foods are clinically proven reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s as well. We recommend adding these into your diet while staying away from fast food, candy, processed and fried foods.
• Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale and arugula
For a light, summery dish that incorporates some of these mood-enhancing, clean foods, we’ve provided a recipe below for a Watermelon and Blackberry Spinach Salad with a Fresh Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette. Enjoy!
Watermelon and Blackberry Spinach Salad with a Fresh Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
3 cups baby spinach, rinsed and dried
1-pint fresh blackberries
1 ½ quarts seeded, cubed watermelon
6 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1-pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 green onion, sliced
¼ cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon white sugar
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, toss together baby spinach, blackberries, watermelon, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, green onion, and walnuts.
For the dressing, mix raspberries and sugar together in a bowl; set aside until mixture is juicy, about 10 minutes. Mash berries using a fork until liquefied. Pour berry mixture into a jar with a lid; add balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey and salt. Cover jar with lid and shake until dressing is mixed well. Store in refrigerator.