Level up Your Mixed Greens Today

Mixed greens refer to a combination of different types of leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula, and others, often used as a salad base or in various dishes for their diverse flavors and nutritional benefits. 

Their popularity has skyrocketed since more and more of the population tends to put emphasis on their overall health and well-being when it comes to food choices. Whether the goal is weight loss, improved gut health, boosting immunity, or hydration, you can never go wrong with a salad.

Before we delve into exotic combinations of mixing your greens, let’s take a look at some of the benefits they bring to the table.

Advantages of including mixed greens in your diet

They are rich in nutrients

Mixed greens typically contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants essential for overall health. These nutrients include vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate, potassium, calcium, and iron, among others.

They support weight management

Mixed greens are low in calories but high in fiber, which helps promote satiety, regulate appetite, and support weight management goals.

They promote heart health

The high fiber content in mixed greens lowers cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of heart disease. Furthermore, the presence of antioxidants like vitamin C and flavonoids may help protect against cardiovascular damage.

They support digestive health

The fiber in mixed greens supports healthy digestion and regular bowel movements and preventing constipation. It also fosters a healthy gut microbiome, which is essential for overall digestive health.

They boost immune function

The vitamins and antioxidants found in mixed greens, particularly vitamin C, can help support immune function and protect against infections.

Supports Skin Health: Nutrients like vitamins A and C found in mixed greens are important for skin health, contributing to collagen production, wound healing, and protection against sun damage.

The best mixed greens combinations and how to give them a boost

The best greens combinations can vary based on personal taste preferences and dietary needs. However, here are some popular and tasty combinations to consider:

Classic Garden Mix

This combination typically includes a mix of romaine lettuce, spinach, and arugula. It offers a balance of flavors and textures, with romaine providing crunch, spinach offering a mild taste, and arugula adding a peppery kick.

To enhance the flavor and texture of this salad base, you can add a variety of ingredients. Here are some suggestions:

Vegetables: sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers (red, yellow, orange, or green), red onion slices, shredded carrots, radish and celery slices

Cheeses: crumbled feta, grated Parmesan, shredded cheddar cheese, cubed mozzarella and blue cheese crumbles

Proteins: grilled chicken breast (sliced or diced), grilled steak (sliced), grilled shrimp or prawns, hard-boiled eggs (sliced or chopped), sliced grilled tofu

Crunchy Additions: croutons (plain or seasoned), sliced almonds (toasted), walnuts or pecans (chopped), sunflower seeds, tortilla strips

Herbs and Garnishes: fresh basil leaves, parsley, and cilantro, chopped green onions or chives, dill sprigs, radish sprouts

Dressings: balsamic vinaigrette, ranch, Italian, Caesar dressing, thousand Island and honey mustard dressing

Fruits: sliced strawberries, blueberries, diced apples, mandarin orange segments, and grapes (halved)

Spring Mix

Spring mix typically consists of baby lettuces like green leaf, red leaf, oak leaf, and butter lettuce. It’s a delicate mix with a mild flavor, perfect for pairing with fruits, nuts, and light vinaigrettes. These options will further enhance the flavor to your liking:

Fruits: Add berries (strawberries, blueberries or raspberries), apples, pears or grapes

Nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), sunflower seeds and pine nuts

Cheeses: crumbled feta cheese, goat cheese (crumbled), shaved Parmesan cheese, gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbles

Proteins: grilled chicken breast (sliced or diced), grilled shrimp or prawns, hard-boiled eggs (sliced or chopped), grilled tofu or tempeh, sliced turkey or ham

Vegetables: cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced cucumber, thinly sliced bell peppers (any color), red onion slices, avocado slices or cubes, shredded carrots

Herbs and Garnishes: fresh basil leaves, fresh mint leaves, fresh cilantro, chopped green onions or chives, micro greens (such as micro arugula or micro basil)

Crunchy Additions: croutons (plain or seasoned), sliced almonds (toasted), crispy fried onions, tortilla strips, chow mein noodles

Dressings: balsamic vinaigrette, raspberry vinaigrette, poppy seed dressing, lemon vinaigrette, honey mustard dressing, creamy avocado dressing

Power Greens

“Power greens” is a term used to refer to a mix of nutrient-rich, dark, leafy greens that are particularly dense in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. While the exact combination can vary, power greens typically include some or all of the following:

  1. Kale
  2. Spinach
  3. Swiss chard
  4. Collard greens
  5. Arugula
  6. Dandelion greens
  7. Beet greens

Protein and healthy fats:

grilled chicken breast, tofu, chickpeas, lentils, quinoa, hard-boiled eggs, or sliced turkey, avocado slices, and nuts.


sliced strawberries, blueberries, diced apples, mandarin orange segments, or pomegranate arils. The sweetness of the fruits can balance the bitterness of some greens. Segments of oranges, grapefruits, or tangerines provide brightness and acidity to the salad. Incorporate dried fruits like cranberries, raisins, or apricots for a sweet and chewy element.

Fresh herbs:

fresh herbs like basil, mint, cilantro, or parsley enhance the flavor and aroma of the salad.


balsamic vinaigrette, honey mustard dressing, lemon tahini dressing, or avocado lime dressing.


add cooked grains like quinoa, farro, barley, or brown rice to bulk up the salad and provide additional nutrients and texture.

Roasted vegetables:

sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, or Brussels sprouts are added for sweetness and depth of flavor.

If you’re looking to save time and still get a top-notch nutritious meal, we’re here to make it happen.

Mediterranean Mix

Combine mixed greens with Mediterranean-inspired ingredients like olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and feta cheese. Pair with a lemon-herb dressing for a refreshing and flavorful salad. Improving these mixed greens involves adding ingredients that complement their flavors and textures while staying true to the Mediterranean culinary tradition. Here are several tips:


Olives: Include a variety of olives such as Kalamata, green, or black olives for their briny flavor and rich texture.

Artichoke Hearts: Add marinated or grilled artichoke hearts for a tangy and savory element.

Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Incorporate sun-dried tomatoes for their intense sweet and tart flavor, adding depth to the salad.

Roasted Red Peppers: Include roasted red peppers for their sweet and smoky flavor, adding richness and color to the salad.

Feta Cheese: Crumble feta cheese on the salad for its creamy texture and salty taste, characteristic of Mediterranean cuisine.

Cucumbers: Slice or dice cucumbers to add freshness and crunch to the salad.

Red Onion: Thinly slice red onions and soak them in cold water for a few minutes to mellow their sharp flavor before adding them to the salad.

Chickpeas: Add cooked chickpeas for plant-based protein and fiber, which makes the salad more filling and nutritious.

Fresh Herbs: Toss the salad with fresh herbs like parsley, basil, or oregano for added aroma and flavor.

Lemon-Herb Dressing: Prepare a homemade dressing using olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, dried oregano, salt, and pepper for a bright and herbaceous dressing that complements the Mediterranean flavors.

Toasted Pine Nuts: Toast pine nuts until golden brown and sprinkle them over the salad for nuttiness and crunch.

Capers: Add capers for their briny and slightly tangy flavor, providing a burst of flavor in each bite.

Anchovies: For those who enjoy anchovies, add a few fillets for their salty and savory flavor, enhancing the umami profile of the salad.

Grilled Vegetables: Include grilled vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant, or asparagus for smokiness and sweetness.

Asian-Inspired Mix

Mix greens like baby bok choy, tatsoi, mizuna, and watercress for an Asian-inspired salad base. Add ingredients like shredded carrots, edamame, sliced bell peppers, and sesame seeds, and dress with a soy-ginger vinaigrette.


Protein: Add protein sources such as grilled chicken, shrimp, tofu, or edamame for a filling and satisfying salad. Marinate the protein with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil for added flavor.

Noodles: Include cooked and cooled rice noodles, soba noodles, or glass noodles to add substance and texture to the salad. Toss them with a light dressing made from soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and a touch of honey or maple syrup.

Crunchy Elements: Add crunchy elements like sliced almonds, crushed peanuts, or crispy wonton strips for texture contrast. Toast the nuts for extra flavor.

Vegetables: Incorporate a variety of fresh vegetables such as shredded cabbage, julienned carrots, sliced bell peppers, snap peas, bean sprouts, and cucumber for color, crunch, and nutrition.

Fresh Herbs: Toss in fresh herbs like cilantro, Thai basil, mint, or green onions for a burst of freshness and aroma.

Citrus: Add segments of oranges, mandarins, or pomelo for sweetness and acidity. Squeeze some lime juice over the salad for extra brightness.

Pickled Vegetables: Include pickled vegetables like daikon radish, carrots, or ginger for tanginess and complexity of flavor. They add a unique touch to the salad.

Sesame Seeds: Toasted sesame seeds over the salad for nuttiness and crunch. You can also use black sesame seeds for visual appeal.

Spicy Element: Add thinly sliced red chili peppers or drizzle with sriracha or chili garlic sauce for a spicy kick. Adjust the amount according to your preference for heat.

Dressing: Prepare a dressing using ingredients like soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, grated ginger, garlic, and a touch of honey or sugar. Whisk together until well combined and toss with the salad just before serving.

Seaweed: Crumble or thinly slice dried seaweed (such as nori or wakame) and sprinkle over the salad for a taste of the sea and added umami flavor.

Mango or Pineapple: If you long a tropical twist, add diced mango or pineapple to the salad for sweetness and juiciness. They pair well with the Asian-inspired flavors.

Final thoughts

Remember to balance the flavors, textures, and colors to create an appealing and satisfying salad. You can mix and match ingredients based on your preferences and what’s available. By being creative with these ingredients, you can create a vibrant and flavorful Asian-inspired mixed salad that is both delicious and nutritious. Adjust the quantities and ingredients according to your taste preferences and dietary restrictions. Enjoy your salad!

The Blood Pressure Solution is in the Food

High blood pressure or hypertension often feels like a silent enemy that you can only manage with medication. But did you know the blood pressure solution can be found right there, on your plate? Food and blood pressure have a very unique relationship, and here’s everything you need to know about it.

Does food affect blood pressure?

Yes, food can have a very strong impact on your blood pressure. The three main food groups that can elevate your high pressure are sodium, saturated fats, and sugars. Also, food can be the blood pressure solution, as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins have a proven record of lowering blood pressure.

Sodium is an essential mineral, and its duties in the body are of utmost importance, ensuring you have a proper fluid balance and that your muscles work properly. However, if you’re dealing with hypertension, you definitely want to cut back on it and control your sodium intake.

Firstly, this mineral has the effect of drawing water into your bloodstream. If you go overboard with high-sodium foods, your body will retain more water than needed, which puts intense pressure on your blood vessel walls and elevates your blood pressure levels.

It can also lead to blood vessels narrowing, which makes it harder for your body to pump blood through them, which again elevates your blood pressure. To avoid these issues, limit or remove these foods from your diet:

  • processed meats;
  • canned foods;
  • salty snacks;
  • condiments.

Another food group that can be very harmful to those who suffer from hypertension is saturated fats. They are known for raising bad cholesterol levels (LDL), which build up in your arteries and narrow them, leading to elevated blood pressure.

If consumed in bigger doses, saturated fats can also spike inflammation in the body, which can affect many cardiovascular conditions, with high blood pressure being one of them.

Hence, try limiting or removing these foods from your diet:

  • full-fat dairy products;
  • fatty cuts of meat;
  • fried foods;
  • processed snacks.

Last but certainly not least, sugary foods should be the least common ingredient on your shopping list. Similarly to saturated fats, it can cause inflammation in the body, as well as increased insulin levels.

High sugar intake can increase the chances of insulin resistance and disbalance your blood sugar levels, which leads to fluid retention and raises your blood pressure. As sugary foods are high in calories and low in nutrients, they can significantly contribute to weight gain, which is a major risk when dealing with hypertension. Hence, limit or remove sugary drinks, sweetened treats, and similar refined sugar products from your diet.

What foods lower blood pressure?

Some foods that can lower blood pressure are leafy greens like spinach and kale, berries rich in antioxidants, oats high in soluble fiber, fatty fish like salmon and trout rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and potassium-rich foods like bananas. Consuming these on a regular basis is a very efficient blood pressure solution.

Leafy greens

To find the blood pressure solution, you can start your search at foods rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium. These nutrients do an excellent job of relaxing the blood vessel walls and maintaining blood pressure levels. Leafy greens are rich in those exact nutrients, so adding foods like spinach, kale, and collard greens to the menu is the move to make.


Enjoying berries is probably one of the most delicious ways of naturally lowering blood pressure. Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are packed with all sorts of goods like antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They also have high levels of flavonoids, which have a proven track record of improving blood vessel function while reducing inflammation in the body.


With their high potassium levels, bananas are a fantastic blood pressure solution. Potassium helps balance the effects of sodium in the body and relaxes blood vessel walls, which can help lower blood pressure levels.

Nuts and seeds

These wonders of nature offer a plethora of health benefits to anyone who prioritizes them in their diet. They contain high amounts of healthy fats, fiber, and even minerals which can lower inflammation in the body, improve blood vessel function, and balance sodium levels.

Other natural ways to lower your blood pressure

Optimizing your diet is one of the most effective ways of regulating your blood pressure. However, your efforts might go in vain if you don’t pair them with other healthy habits. Hence, upon optimizing your diet and creating a healthy meal plan for hypertension, pair it up with these activities.

Regular exercise

Regular exercise will do wonders for your overall health, and managing high blood pressure isn’t an exception. Even the simplest activities, like taking a brisk walk or cycling, can positively impact your hypertension. Introduce strength training to your workout routine for maximum results, and watch your body flourish.

Stress management

It’s well-known that stress can be a trigger for high blood pressure. To mitigate stress, try out calming breathing techniques, meditation, or any other activity that brings you calmness and peace.

Reduce alcohol and caffeine consumption

These beverages are a significant risk factor for people dealing with high blood pressure. Therefore, it’s vital that if you choose to consume alcoholic or caffeinated beverages, do so in moderation. Better yet, try substituting them with healthier alternatives like vitamin water or caffeine-free teas.

Quit smoking

Although this is a hard pill to swallow for regular smokers, the truth is that smoking is one of the biggest contributors to high blood pressure, as every cigarette contributes to a temporary rise. Moreover, it narrows the blood vessels, making the damage more severe over time. Still, quitting is always an option, and finding professional help might be the smartest move on the board.

Final thoughts

Finding the blood pressure solution can feel like finding a needle in a haystack at times. However, although it’s a burden to carry, it doesn’t have to be that heavy when you have the right approach.

By making slight changes in your diet and avoiding certain foods while prioritizing others, you can overcome the challenges and truly make a change. With dedication and consistency, you can achieve and maintain optimal blood pressure levels for a healthier, happier life.

Balancing Life as a Student Athlete

Juggling textbooks, practices, games, and social life, a student athlete wears many hats – but does the recipe for success have to include sacrificing a healthy diet? The answer is a resounding yes! While the demands seem like constant hurdles, achieving nutritional balance is possible, unlocking peak performance and well-being both on and off the field.

The importance of nutrition for a student athlete

The first step toward a healthy lifestyle is a healthy diet, which is especially important for athletes. Your ability to recover, grow muscle, and sustain your energy levels will depend on it. Hence, paying special attention to your nutrition habits should be on top of your priority list.

You can start things by balancing out your macronutrient intake. Carbs are your body’s primary energy source, fueling your workouts and competitions. Proteins take up the role of muscle growth and recovery, while fats provide long-lasting energy and support overall health.

A solid distribution of your macros can look something like this – 45% carbs, 30% protein, and 25% fats. Of course, you can switch things up according to your goals (especially if you have dietary restrictions), but having a proper macronutrient distribution is a crucial part of your meal plan.

Of course, as a student athlete your body will sustain significant damage from your physical efforts. Hence, by consuming the right nutrients, you will allow your body to recover more quickly. Even more importantly, with the right combination of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, you will effectively prevent injuries that can happen due to improper nutrition.

Although often overlooked, nutrition has a massive impact on your cognitive function. Concentrating, staying alert, and making decisions quickly is crucial for your classes and athletic performance. 

With these in mind, optimizing your nutrition as a university athlete is a task that can’t be overlooked. Here’s exactly how to do it.

How to maintain a healthy diet for student athletes

These are some of the most efficient strategies for maintaining a healthy diet as a student athlete despite your tight schedule.

Meal prep

Meal prepping is among the most praised ways of keeping your nutrition clean, even if you have the minimum amount of time available. By planning and cooking your meals in advance, you can save loads of time you’d otherwise spend on separate cooking sessions and trips to the grocery store.

Hence, stock up on supplies and dedicate a couple of hours each week to prepare multiple batches in a single going. When you’re ready to dig in, simply reheat your stored meal, and you’re good to go. Another great perk of meal prep is that you’ll have less temptation to reach for unhealthy foods, as you already have nutritious options available.

Healthy snacks and smoothies

When time is tight and you need a quick bite, healthy snacks are exactly what you need. Always stock up on healthy options like:

  • pistachios;
  • walnuts;
  • almonds;
  • cashews;
  • Greek yogurt;
  • whole-grain crackers;
  • fruits.

These are only a few examples of snacks you can easily carry as a college athlete and enjoy in between classes or workouts. They usually have a significant number of calories, so try not to go overboard with them. Regardless, as an excellent source of carbs, protein, and healthy fats, they will give you the ideal nutrient and energy boost you need.

If you have a few spare minutes on your hands, you can make a healthy smoothie in record time. By simply blending together your favorite fruits and vegetables, you can create nutrient-packed smoothies and up your fiber consumption without a hassle.

Meal delivery services

If your schedule tends to get really packed, or if you run out of energy by the time you need to get meal prepping, a healthy meal delivery service can be a true lifesaver. With pre-prepared meals that are swiftly delivered to your doorstep, you can follow an athletic meal plan that will cater to your fitness needs.

Eating for peak athletic performance

Apart from the foods you eat, you can make a few more tweaks as a student athlete to get on your peak performance levels.

Tip 1

Firstly, you should pay attention to your meal timing, as that will determine your workout capacity, performance, and the rate of your recovery. Before a workout, your top priority should be a balanced meal with carbs, proteins, and fats two to three hours before the session to have balanced energy levels.

For example, before your workout meal, you can have something like whole-grain pasta with lean protein and vegetables. Another option is a turkey sandwich with whole-grain bread. An important note is to avoid foods high in fat and fiber before a workout as they can cause gastrointestinal discomfort during exercise.

Tip 2

Your post-workout meals are just as important, as your goal is to replenish your muscle glycogen levels and promote recovery as soon as possible. That’s why your post-workout meal should be a good source of carbs and protein.

A solid option for a post-workout meal is Greek yogurt combined with fruit and granola or a protein smoothie made with banana, spinach, and protein powder.

Tip 3

The next key point to pay special attention to as a college athlete is proper hydration. Some of the most vital aspects of staying hydrated include:

  • regulating body temperature;
  • lubricating joints and tissues;
  • delivering nutrients and oxygen;
  • maintaining brain function.

If you aren’t well-hydrated, you can experience muscle cramps, reduced endurance, and even an increased risk of getting injured. Hence, always carry your water bottle and hit your daily goal of approximately 15 cups of water per day. You can throw in sports drinks or vitamin water to ease your hydration efforts.

Tip 4

Finally, consider adding supplements to tie the knot on your peak performance nutrition as a student athlete. As the word suggests, supplements are only an addition to your nutrition that can help you reach your goals – they shouldn’t be your main source of nutrients.

However, combining proper nutrition with proven supplements like protein powder and creatine can enhance your results and help you hit your nutrition goals easier.

Final thoughts

Being a student athlete does come with a set of challenges, but that doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice your nutrition. Quite the opposite, with a problem-solving mindset, you can find plenty of practical solutions that aren’t as time-consuming. With enough dedication and perseverance, you can overcome the demands of being a student athlete while thriving in all aspects of life.

Rye Bread You Can Make Yourself

Bread is an irreplaceable culinary component in almost every kitchen worldwide. Unfortunately, it isn’t considered a truly healthy option, as it offers little nutritional value compared to the amount of calories it has. But what if you could substitute it with something that is packed with nutrients, satiating, easy to make, and still has a delicious taste? That’s what rye bread is all about.

What is rye bread?

Rye bread is a bread variety made from ground rye berries. It has a slightly sweeter and tangier flavor compared to the standard white bread made from wheat flour. It comes in multiple colors (both lighter and darker) depending on the type of rye flour you use. Its standout feature is that it’s packed with nutrients, fiber, and vitamins, which makes it a healthier choice compared to many other breads.

Many would describe this healthy bread as a very versatile culinary creation. You can make it more airy, denser, tangier, and milder…you can adjust it to your taste even if you’re a picky eater. The secret is in many different types and preparation methods you can use. 

Flour choices:

  1. Light rye flour – as the name suggests, light rye flour is the ideal choice for lighter and airer loaves with a mild rye flavor.
  2. Medium rye flour – this flour type is the middle ground of texture and flavor, with a noticeable rye taste and a slightly denser texture.
  3. Dark rye flour – dark rye flour has the densest texture and is the most flavorful. It’s packed with nutrients and has a strong rye taste.e.

Yeast types:

  1. Sourdough rye – this traditional method uses a natural sourdough starter for fermentation, giving it a tangier flavor, longer shelf life, and improved digestibility.
  2. Commercial yeast rye – this is a quicker method as you’d use commercially produced yeast for fermentation, offering a milder flavor and faster rise times.

Soaking and scalding:

  1. Soaking – soaking rye flour or berries before preparing the dough helps soften the bran. That gives it a smoother texture and better digestibility.
  2. Scalding – pouring boiling water over some rye flour before mixing creates a gelatinous consistency.

Baking techniques:

  1. Steaming – adding steam during baking creates a moist environment. That environment is perfect for a softer crust of lighter rye bread. 
  2. Dry heat baking – baking in a dry oven creates a crispier crust and a chewier crumb. It’s ideal for denser whole-grain breads like pumpernickel.

Benefits of rye bread

In addition to its delicious taste, rye bread is a nutritional powerhouse and offers plenty of benefits that will boost your health. 

Firstly, rye bread is known for its high fiber content, especially compared to classic wheat bread. Dietary fiber is irreplaceable for healthy digestion, creating a healthy gut environment, and sustaining regular bowel movements. 

Another perk of high-fiber foods like rye bread is that it keeps you feeling full for longer periods. Hence, if you tend to snack more often than you should, add rye bread to your weight loss meal plan and enjoy sustained energy with reduced cravings. 

The king of bread is a rich source of B vitamins, including thiamine, niacin, and B6. The combination of these vitamins plays key roles in your body’s metabolism, allowing it to convert food into energy efficiently.

They also contribute to healthy nerve function and support a healthy brain. So, fuel your day with a slice of rye bread and enjoy the benefits of increased energy levels and enhanced cognitive function.

The fiber content in rye bread not only improves your digestion but also provides major benefits for your heart health. Fiber helps lower bad cholesterol (LDL) levels while increasing good cholesterol (HDL) levels, which together create a healthy cholesterol profile. 

Finally, this healthy bread is a fantastic source of essential minerals (that includes iron, magnesium, and phosphorus). These minerals have their respective roles in improving bone health, muscle function, and oxygen transport. So, by including whole-grain bread in your diet, you’re ensuring your body receives a variety of essential nutrients for optimal health.

How to make rye bread

Making your own homemade rye bread is easier than you may think. Even if you’re a complete culinary beginner, you can reap all the benefits of healthy bread by following these instructions.


  • rye flour – depending on your desired texture and flavor, choose from light, medium, or dark rye flour. Experiment with combinations for even more variety;
  • active dry yeast or sourdough starter – this will act as the leavening agent, making your dough rise beautifully;
  • warm water – it activates the yeast and creates a moist environment for dough development;
  • salt – it enhances flavor and stabilizes the dough;
  • honey or molasses – these natural sweeteners add depth of flavor and promote browning;
  • caraway seeds (optional) – these classic nutritious bread companions add a distinctive peppery flavor;
  • olive oil – it keeps the dough supple and adds richness.

Baking instructions:

Start by combining warm water, yeast, and honey/molasses. Let it sit for a few minutes until foamy. Then, add the rye flour, salt, caraway seeds (if using), and olive oil. Mix everything well to form a shaggy dough. Now, lightly flour your working surface and knead the dough for around 10 minutes until it becomes elastic and smooth. A stand mixer with a dough hook is also a viable option.

Transfer the dough in a greased bowl. Cover it up with plastic wrap and set it aside to rise in a warm place for one to two hours until it doubles in size. Once it doubles in size, it’s ready for shaping, 

Gently punch the dough to shape it into a loaf or desired shape. Put it in a loaf pan that’s been coated with grease or on a baking sheet. Cover and let it rise again for 30-45 minutes.

While the dough is on its second rise, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Brush the loaf with water or milk for a golden crust. Bake it for 30-45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 190°F (88°C).

Finally, let the bread cool (you can leave it on the wire rack) for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Enjoy your homemade rye bread masterpiece!

Tips and tricks for perfect rye dough

  • use warm, not hot, water for activating the yeast;
  • don’t over-knead the dough. Knead just until it becomes smooth and elastic;
  • proof the dough in a warm place. This will help it rise properly;
  • adjust the time of baking depending on the size and shape of your loaf;
  • experiment with different flours, seeds, and spices to create your own unique rye bread variations.

Common rye bread baking challenges

My dough isn’t rising: Make sure your yeast is alive and active and that the water temperature is lukewarm. You might also need to increase the rising time.

My bread is too dense: Try using lighter rye flour or adding less flour to the dough. You can also use a stand mixer with a dough hook to ensure proper kneading.

My bread is too dry: Use a wetter dough recipe or add more water during mixing. You can also brush the loaf with water or milk before baking.

My bread has a burnt bottom: Lower the oven temperature or bake on a baking sheet instead of a loaf pan.

Final thoughts

The king of bread got his name for a reason. Its unique taste and rich nutrient profile make it a healthy option for everyone who wants to do their body a favor. There are plenty of delicious store-bought options you can choose from. Yet, making homemade rye bread adds to the experience and gives you full control over its taste and texture.

With this beginner-friendly recipe, you are set up for success. Share the warmth of freshly baked goodness with loved ones, creating memories that linger long after the last bite.

Include Protein Pasta in Your Meals

Pasta has been a beloved meal choice for generations thanks to its versatility and the ability to perfectly combine with countless flavors. However, it doesn’t have a reputation for being a healthy dish, as it doesn’t offer much protein or fiber while being packed with refined carbs. However, if you want to make healthy changes to your diet, that doesn’t mean you have to remove pasta from your meal plan. On the contrary, you can enjoy it more often than you might think if you make one adjustment – switch to protein pasta.

What is protein pasta?

Protein pasta is a nutritious alternative made from ingredients like lentils, chickpeas, edamame, and quinoa. It has a higher protein content compared to traditional pasta. That makes it the perfect substitute for those who want to increase their protein intake while enjoying pasta dishes.

Protein pasta usually contains two to three times more protein than its counterpart. Furthermore, it has significantly fewer carbs than wheat-based options. That combo makes it an ideal meal for muscle growth and repair while supporting weight loss with its better macronutrient ratio.

Regarding weight loss, protein pasta is also loaded with fiber, promoting digestive health and making you feel full for longer periods. These properties make it an excellent meal for your weight loss meal plan.

Finally, high-protein pasta also has micronutrients that it brings to the table. Depending on the type, you can expect a healthy dose of iron, magnesium, and zinc, which support your overall health.

Types of protein pasta

Plenty of high-protein pasta types are out there, each with its own nutritional benefits and unique flavors. Hence, you won’t be forced to stick to a single type – you can experiment with different tastes and find the ones that you enjoy the most:

Lentil pasta

Lentil pasta is a ground lentil, gluten-free pasta, making it an excellent option for those with gluten sensitivity. A 2 oz serving of lentil pasta will contain around 20 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber, and 200 calories. It can be your ideal protein pasta with a slightly earthy taste and suitable for those with dietary restrictions.

Chickpea pasta

Chickpea pasta is made from chickpea flour, giving it that nutty flavor. It’s a fantastic source of plant-based protein, as it has 23 grams of protein per serving, followed by 6 grams of fiber. On top of that, it contains only around 210 calories.

Quinoa pasta

Quinoa pasta is crafted from quinoa flour, and it stands out for its amino acid profile, as it contains all essential amino acids. These acids are crucial for many functions in your body, as they’re a steady energy source and antioxidants and support your brain functions. On top of all, they link together to create proteins, thus supporting your muscle-building goals. A standard 2 oz serving contains 200 calories with 15 grams of protein and an additional 3 grams of fiber.

Edamame pasta

This protein pasta comes from edamame beans, known for its delicious, slightly sweet taste. It’s absolutely packed with protein, with 24 grams per serving and 11 grams of fiber, at a “price” of only 200 calories. 

Mixed beans pasta

If you prefer pasta with a mixed flavor profile, the mixed beans pasta is exactly what you’re looking for. It’s made from legumes like lentils, chickpeas, and black beans. Macro-wise, it offers 14 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber at around 200 calories.

Protein pasta recipes

Now that you have become familiar with what protein pasta brings to the table and its many types let’s get to the fun part of combining these tastes into delicious and nutritious recipes.

Lentil bolognese

The lentil bolognese pasta is a mouthwatering combo of your favorite lentil or chickpea pasta. To make it, you’ll need:

  • 2 cups lentil pasta;
  • 1 cup cooked lentils;
  • 1 can (14 oz) crushed tomatoes;
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced;
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano;
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil;
  • salt and pepper to taste;
  • olive oil for sautéing;
  • fresh basil for garnish.

First, cook the pasta as instructed on the package. While it’s cooking, sauté minced garlic in olive oil until fragrant. Then, add cooked lentils, crushed tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Toss the lentil bolognese sauce with cooked lentil pasta to finish the cooking. Garnish with fresh basil and serve.

Chickpea Alfredo

Did you know that the earthy flavor of chickpea pasta perfectly combines with the flavors of a plant-based Alfredo sauce? Here’s how to make this delicious protein-boost of a meal:

  • 2 cups chickpea pasta;
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained;
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced;
  • 1 cup vegetable broth;
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk;
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast;
  • salt and pepper;
  • fresh parsley for garnish.

Start by cooking the chickpea pasta according to the instructions on the package. In the meantime, grab a blender to combine chickpeas, garlic, vegetable broth, almond milk, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. Heat the sauce in a pan before tossing it with the cooked chickpea pasta. As a final touch, garnish it with fresh parsley and enjoy.

Quinoa Primavera

This nutrient-packed dish is a wonderful combination of mild and nutty flavors. Simple, healthy, and delicious!

  • 2 cups quinoa pasta;
  • 1 cup bell peppers, sliced;
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved;
  • 2 cups fresh spinach;
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil;
  • salt and pepper;
  • grated Parmesan for serving.

Once again, cook the quinoa pasta according to your packaging instructions. Grab a pan where you’ll sauté cherry tomatoes and bell peppers in olive oil until they get tender. Add fresh spinach and cook until wilted. Combine the veggies together with the pasta, add your salt and pepper seasoning, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Edamame pesto

The freshness of homemade pesto brings the best out of edamame pasta, which comes together in a mouthwatering bowl of flavor and nutrients.

  • 2 cups edamame pasta;
  • 1 cup shelled edamame;
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves;
  • 2 cloves garlic;
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts;
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan;
  • 1/2 cup olive oil;
  • salt and pepper;
  • lemon zest for garnish.

You know the drill – start the preparation by cooking the pasta. While it’s cooking, grab your blender and toss in shelled edamame, basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan, and olive oil. Blend them until you get a smooth texture. Combine it with the cooked pasta, add your seasoning, and garnish with lemon zest.

Mixed bean Mediterranean pasta

If you’re a fan of Mediterranean flavors, this pasta is exactly what you crave. These are the ingredients needed to make it:

  • 2 cups mixed bean pasta;
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, sliced;
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved;
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled;
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil;
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar;
  • fresh basil for garnish;
  • salt and pepper.

Cook mixed bean pasta according to package instructions. Take a bowl where you’ll combine cooked pasta, Kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, and feta cheese. Then, drizzle a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the pasta mixture. Toss to combine. Season it with salt and pepper, sprinkle some fresh basil, and serve.

Final thoughts

Protein pasta is an excellent alternative to classic pasta as it’s a fantastic source of nutrients without excessive carbs. It can be your go-to meal if you’re trying to lose weight while providing a significant boost in protein, which is necessary for maintaining your muscle mass.

On top of those perks, when you opt for protein pasta, you don’t have to sacrifice taste. With these recipes, you’ll easily prepare delicious meals while keeping your body strong and healthy.

Are You a Picky Eater? Take the Test!

Do you shudder at the sight of spinach, wrinkle your nose at mushrooms, and draw the line at anything green on your plate? You’re not alone. Picky eating is a common occurrence for people of all ages. While avoiding some foods can be harmless, if you heavily prefer certain foods while heavily avoiding others, it can have more than a few drawbacks. The picky palate comes with a surprising cost, from nutritional deficiencies to social awkwardness. Not sure if you fall into the category of selective eaters? Take our picky eater test and find out. 

What is a picky eater?

A picky eater is someone who has a limited and selective range of food preferences. Picky eaters often avoid certain textures, flavors, or food groups. Although this phenomenon is mostly connected with children, it’s still very common among adults. Becoming a picky eater can be caused by many factors, including sensory sensitivity, fear of new foods, and a preference for routine and familiarity. 

A picky eater can have multiple triggers to cause that behavior, including avoiding specific textures, flavors, and even entire food groups. One of the factors that can trigger these feelings is sensory sensitivity.

That can refer to the foods:

  • texture;
  • smell;
  • taste;
  • appearance;

If a certain meal looks too mushy or slimy, for example, it can trigger the feelings of discomfort that selective eaters experience. The same goes for smells, especially stronger-smelling foods that aren’t very appealing to their noses.

Certain foods have very unique and distinct flavors (especially bitter and spicy foods). Hence, some people have a harder time enjoying these types of dishes. Finally, the appearance of foods can make a huge impact on whether a picky eater is going to try it. Certain colors can be their throw-off and how the food has been arranged.

Apart from sensory sensitivity, having a fear of new foods can also be a massive contributor to picky eating. You may not be fully aware of it, but previous experiences with some foods can make you anxious about trying something new. This is especially common with children still developing their taste preferences, anxious about trying something different.

If you prefer familiarity and a routine-based lifestyle, you’ve probably carried that over to your eating habits, making it another picky eating trigger. 

Selective eating can come in many shapes and sizes, making it very mild in some cases but very severe in others. Want to find out how your eating habits would be considered? Take our picky eater test and find out.

Picky eater test

For each question, assign points based on your preferences:


  • Love them and eat a variety: 1 point
  • Eat some, but only specific types: 2 points
  • Eat a few, but avoid most: 3 points
  • Rarely or never eat vegetables: 4 points


  • Enjoy a variety of fruits: 1 point
  • Like a few specific fruits: 2 points
  • Eat a few, but avoid most fruits: 3 points
  • Rarely or never eat fruits: 4 points


  • Enjoy a variety of meats: 1 point
  • Prefer only certain types of meat: 2 points
  • Eat a few, but avoid most meats: 3 points
  • Rarely or never eat meat: 4 points


  • Enjoy a variety of grains (rice, pasta, etc.): 1 point
  • Prefer specific types of grains: 2 points
  • Eat a few, but avoid most grains: 3 points
  • Rarely or never eat grains: 4 points


  • Enjoy a variety of dairy products: 1 point
  • Prefer specific dairy products: 2 points
  • Eat a few, but avoid most dairy products: 3 points
  • Rarely or never consume dairy: 4 points


  • Enjoy a variety of seafood: 1 point
  • Prefer specific types of seafood: 2 points
  • Eat a few, but avoid most seafood: 3 points
  • Rarely or never eat seafood: 4 points

Sweets and Desserts:

  • Enjoy a variety of sweets and desserts: 1 point
  • Prefer specific types of sweets and desserts: 2 points
  • Eat a few, but avoid most sweets and desserts: 3 points
  • Rarely or never eat sweets and desserts: 4 points


  • Enjoy a variety of snacks: 1 point
  • Prefer specific types of snacks: 2 points
  • Eat a few, but avoid most snacks: 3 points
  • Rarely or never snack: 4 points

Spices and Herbs:

  • Enjoy a variety of spices and herbs: 1 point
  • Prefer specific spices and herbs: 2 points
  • Use only a few, but avoid most spices and herbs: 3 points
  • Rarely or never use spices and herbs: 4 points


  • Enjoy a variety of beverages: 1 point
  • Prefer specific types of beverages: 2 points
  • Drink a few, but avoid most beverages: 3 points
  • Rarely or never drink beverages: 4 points


Add up your points from all questions and check out in which category you fit based on your score:

10-18 points: Food explorer

19-25 points: Taste enthusiast

26-32 points: Selective eater

33-40 points: Picky eater

Of course, this picky eater test isn’t definitive, as your preferences and needs can vary due to many other factors. Still, it can be a good guideline and determine whether you should make changes in your dietary habits.

How to stop being a picky eater?

The best approach to overcome picky eating is to take small steps instead of forcing yourself to make drastic changes immediately. Try introducing one or two new flavors to begin with, and as you get used to them, gradually include new ones.

Breaking your habit of picky eating won’t happen overnight. However, if you start small, getting accustomed to the new flavors and pushing through the initial dislike will be much easier. An excellent strategy to make it less frightening is to match it with the foods you already like. That way, the new flavors won’t be overpowering, making it easier to get them down.

Another concept you should embrace is researching the nutritional values of foods you passionately avoid. Many people tend to push broccoli from their plates as far as possible. Yet, this vegetable can improve your heart health, boost your immune system, strengthen your bones, and even prevent cancer. By learning about the health benefits of the foods you avoid, you will have extra motivation to encourage yourself for new culinary experiences.

It’s common for picky eaters to have a hard time preparing the meals as the hesitation kicks in when they’re faced with unfamiliar textures and flavors. To overcome that, you can use a pre-made meals delivery service and expose yourself to new flavors in a more convenient and enjoyable way. 

Finally, set realistic goals for your journey. Instead of trying to like everything, focus on expanding your food preferences step by step. It will take time, but as long as you stick to your plan and have patience, you will build your tolerance and reach your objectives.

Final thoughts

Becoming a choosy eater can span all the way from childhood and can happen for a variety of reasons. Still, if you ranked high on our picky eater test, you shouldn’t take that as a permanent state – you can still turn things around with a little effort and consistency.

Start small; maybe try a new spice or a different way to cook something. By experimenting and staying open to new experiences, you’ll soon realize that breaking that habit is an adventure, not a chore. And with so many options, there’s a whole world of flavors to be discovered. Bon appétit.

How to Prepare for the Flu Season Months

The joy of the first snowflakes is pure excitement and, for many, the most wonderful time of the year. However, along with the first snowflakes usually come the first sniffles and the realization that the flu season months have arrived.

We’ve all been there (and more than once), where the beauty of the winter was shadowed by the flu that keeps spreading around us. But, by taking a more proactive approach, you can craft your recipe for stopping the flu dead in its tracks.

What causes the flu?

Influenza viruses cause the flu, primarily types A and B, which spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes. If you catch the flu, you’ll most likely experience symptoms like fever, coughing, sore throat, and general body aches.

The influenza viruses go through constant genetic changes called antigenic drift and shift. The drift manifests in changing the virus’s surface proteins, which makes it difficult for the body to recognize the virus and prepare its defenses against it.

The antigenic shift occurs when two influenza viruses infect the same person and combine their effects, creating a new virus strain. That strain is a completely new virus that our immune system has never seen before, making it impossible to recognize and repel.

As you might know, the flu is highly contagious, and it spreads at an incredible pace. All it takes is for a person to cough and sneeze in your proximity, allowing the droplets to enter your respiratory system. It can even spread as simply as talking to someone or touching a surface where the droplets fell, followed by touching your mouth, nose, or eyes; these viruses can survive on surfaces for up to 48 hours.

If you were unfortunate enough to catch the virus, it would usually take one to four days to incubate and reveal its symptoms. However, you can still be contagious even if you don’t feel the symptoms yet.

The flu has a pattern of showing up during colder months (starting in October, peaking in the winter, and staying present all the way up to May). As such, those months got the unpopular epithet of flu season months. The reason behind the flu emerging in this period is due to factors like:

  • lack of humidity (viruses travel better in dry air);
  • temperature (viruses reproduce and survive more effectively in the cold);
  • crowded spaces (which allow for a more efficient transmission).

How to prepare for the flu season?

Judging by the facts about the flu, it may seem like catching it is inevitable. However, you can do a few things to prevent the flu very effectively.

Boosting your immunity with nutrition

Nutrition is your first line of defense that protects you in the flu season months. By fueling your body with the right nutrients, you’ll prepare it to fend off numerous types of infections, including the flu, of course.

The first ingredients to focus on are vitamin-rich foods. As they’re the ones that elevate your immune system, ensure that you’re getting enough vitamins C, D, and E. To get your daily dose of vitamin C, combine fruits like citruses, pineapple, and kiwis in a healthy immune-building shot.

For vitamin D, include fatty fish and fortified dairy; for E, include nuts, seeds, and spinach in your meal plan.

Ingesting a healthy dose of vegetables is also advisable to protect yourself against the flu. They contain antioxidants and nutrients that support immune function. Some examples are broccoli, leafy greens, bell peppers, and garlic.

Whole grains will also do an excellent job of contributing to your health and well-being. Hence, whenever possible, include whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oats.

Don’t forget about healthy fats – with omega-3 fatty acids and anti-inflammatory properties, ingredients like avocados and olive oil should find their way to your table.

Finally, ensure adequate hydration by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Hydration is essential for optimal immune function and overall well-being.

Practicing good hygiene

Spiking your hygiene habits is among the best ways of protecting yourself against the flu. Simple habits like frequently washing your hands, using hand sanitizer, and avoiding touching your face can go a long way. As these healthy habits kill germs very effectively, always prioritize good hygiene for maximum protection.

The same goes for items that you frequently touch. Although a lot of people overlook this section, items like your phone, sunglasses, or keys, for example, are usually within hand’s reach. Regularly clean and disinfect these personal items to reduce the potential transfer of the virus.

In crowded or high-risk settings, wearing a face mask can give you an additional layer of protection. Masks can put a stop to the spread of respiratory droplets that may contain the flu virus.

Getting a flu shot

Vaccination is another way to fortify your body’s defenses during the flu season months. The vaccine is designed to stimulate your immune system to recognize and fight specific influenza virus strains.

As the virus evolves and changes, the flu vaccine itself gets updated each year to ensure that you get optimal protection. Aim to get vaccinated before the flu season months – it takes the vaccine around two weeks to take effect, so pick your timing accordingly.

By getting vaccinated, you’ll protect yourself against the flu, as well as people surrounding you. The effects of the flu may be mild for you, but infants and those with weakened immune systems can be much more vulnerable, so think of it as a way of protecting yourself and the community.

Maintain a clean environment

Just like with personal hygiene, a clean environment is also vital for preventing flu transmission. Regularly disinfect high-touch surfaces in your home and workplace, such as doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, and electronic devices. Take extra precaution if you go to the gym by disinfecting the machines and benches you plan on using, as they’ve previously been used by multiple people.

Airing your living space is also a massive contributor to flu prevention. As it can spread through the air, open windows and doors whenever possible to allow fresh air circulation. In addition to influenza, many other harmful compounds (including mold) can occur with stale air.

Another way to contribute to cleaner and fresher air is to purchase indoor plants like spider plants or peace lilies. These air-cleaning plants have the ability to absorb harmful substances through tiny pores on their leaves and convert them into harmless ones, drastically improving your air quality.

Final thoughts

Preparing for the flu season months should become your common practice to ensure that your body’s defenses are fortified once it arrives. Although it spreads very quickly and efficiently, you can still repel it and protect your body once you apply these practices.

By taking a proactive stance and using the resources you already have, you can get through the winter flu months with confidence and peace of mind. Together, we can ensure a healthy and fulfilling winter for all.

Foods that Fight Nausea During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a wonderful experience filled with joy and anticipation, but for many, it also brings the common challenge of facing morning sickness. It can be very unpleasant and overwhelming, with up to 75% facing it at some point during their pregnancy. However, with minor adjustments, you can make the symptoms much more bearable or disappear entirely. That’s why we bring you our selection of the best foods that fight nausea during pregnancy.

What causes morning sickness during pregnancy?

The main reason why morning sickness occurs during pregnancy is hormonal changes. Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and estrogen are vital hormones for a healthy pregnancy. However, their effects can also trigger nausea. Additionally, increased sensitivity to smells and stomach swelling contribute to this common pregnancy discomfort.

Pregnancy nausea has the most severe effects in the first trimester of the pregnancy. Your hCG levels double every two to three days in the first trimester, which is a sudden change in your body.

The theory suggests that, as this hormone stimulates the vomiting center in the brain, it will trigger nausea as a side effect of pregnancy. The sensitivity to this hormone is very individual, and people with different levels of tolerance will experience nausea at different severities.

In addition to hCG, estrogen and progesterone are two more hormones that correlate with nausea during pregnancy. Elevated estrogen levels can increase the sensitivity of the gastrointestinal tract and the brain’s response to nausea. Once again, this surge of estrogen is most noticeable in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Progesterone is a crucial hormone for a healthy pregnancy as it has a relaxing effect on your digestive tract muscles. With that effect, it prevents the uterus from contracting and relaxes it, which prevents preterm labor and ensures a healthy pregnancy. However, as a side effect, it can slow down your digestion, which gives you a full stomach sensation, which then causes pregnancy nausea.

Foods that fight nausea during pregnancy


Ginger has been used for thousands of years as a nausea suppressant. The secret is in its bioactive compounds, like gingerol, that have powerful anti-inflammatory effects, which soothe the gastrointestinal tract.

In addition to soothing, ginger also has the ability to stimulate the body to produce digestive enzymes that enhance your digestion.

There are numerous ways to include ginger in your daily routine. For example, you can make ginger tea by adding fresh ginger slices to hot water or simply purchase ginger tea bags. 

If you’re having trouble keeping liquids down during your morning sickness, you can try out ginger candies or chews. They’re a quick and easy way to ease pregnancy nausea, especially if you’re on the go.

You can also experiment with adding ginger to your meals throughout the day, as it pairs well with both savory and sweet dishes.

Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits are one of the very unique foods that fight nausea during pregnancy. The pleasant smell of citrus fruits can have a refreshing effect, and inhaling them proved to be a very effective nausea relief for pregnant women.

Additionally, citrus fruits have a high water content, which can be crucial for your hydration needs. During pregnancy, staying well-hydrated should be on top of your priority list to support fetal circulation and replenish any fluids you may have lost.

And as proper hydration also helps with pregnancy nausea, think of citruses as a simple way to reach those goals.

Apart from the classic citrus lemonade, you can incorporate citruses in a few more creative ways. For example, you can make a simple, refreshing drink by adding fresh citrus slices to the water. Going a step further, you can enjoy a fantastic healthy citrus shot for complete revitalization.

You can also make a smoothie by blending oranges, lemons, or limes for a nutritious morning sickness relief. Of course, you can add other fruits to the mix to add more variety.


Peppermint is another very efficient ingredient for suppressing nausea, and morning sickness during pregnancy isn’t an exception. As we mentioned, hormones have the tendency to irritate your digestive tract and make it more sensitive.

Peppermint, particularly the menthol compound it contains, relaxes those muscles which soothes those uncomfortable gut movements and gives you the much needed nausea relief.

Another way peppermint can help with morning sickness is with its anti-inflammatory properties. During pregnancy, there is a major tissue remodeling that happens within your body. That process can cause localized inflammation, and nausea is a common follow-up to that state.

With peppermint, you can combat this inflammation more easily and indirectly reduce nausea.

When it comes to consuming options, you can make peppermint tea or take peppermint candies. You can also sprinkle small amounts of food if that’s something you’d prefer. However, avoid concentrated peppermint in the form of essential oils and supplements.

Those forms are very potent and can do more harm than good. Instead, focus on smaller amounts and see how your body reacts to them.


Excess stomach acid is another contributor to morning sickness, which makes crackers one of the best foods that fight nausea during pregnancy. With their high contents of absorbable starches, they act like tiny sponges for stomach acid.

Additionally, research suggests starch breakdown releases bicarbonate, a natural antacid produced by the body to neutralize stomach acid. So, crackers don’t just mop up existing acid; they potentially stimulate further neutralization.

To many, crackers have a pretty bland smell and taste. Although this is usually not very appealing, it can be a major advantage during pregnancy. Strong flavors and smells can easily cause nausea, and the neutral properties of crackers bypass that sensory overload and keep your stomach calm.

Still, if that bland taste is too hard for you to enjoy, you can mash a ripe banana on top for potassium and natural sweetness. You can also spread a thin layer of avocado for healthy fats and additional nausea-fighting potential.


Bananas are very easy to tolerate due to their gentle taste and smell. They are also easy to digest and light for the stomach, making them an excellent choice for fighting morning sickness.

When nausea strikes, it’s clear that you aren’t very keen on eating pretty much anything. Unfortunately, that can worsen the situation as your blood sugar levels drop, which makes the nausea even more intense. With a banana, you can quickly replenish your sugar levels thanks to its natural sugar content.

In addition, bananas provide a plethora of health benefits, including their high content of vitamin B6 (which can also reduce nausea during pregnancy), they are a good source of potassium, as well as fibers, which can aid in digestion.

Bananas are also very versatile, and apart from enjoying them standalone, you can mix them with other fruits into a smoothie or add toppings like nuts and honey for a nutritious treat.

Final thoughts

Dealing with morning sickness can be a heavy burden, but you must be aware of the fact that many other pregnant women face it and that you have the strength to overcome it. Of course, resorting to the right foods that fight nausea during pregnancy will make that challenge a whole lot easier.

Experiment with these combinations and consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice. No matter how small these dietary adjustments are, they can provide fantastic results and give you a more comfortable and nausea-resistant pregnancy experience. 

Best Natural Appetite Suppressants

Weight management can feel like a constant battle against rumbling stomachs and persistent cravings. Yet, by taking a scientific approach and understanding our hunger hormones, you can make those efforts much easier with your pick of the best natural appetite suppressant.

Best natural appetite suppressant foods

Green tea

We start off the list with green tea extract, which is a very potent natural appetite suppressant. This extract is packed with catechins, with a notable player being epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). It may sound complicated at first glance, but it’s simpler than you think. 

Catechins are bioactive compounds whose properties positively affect your metabolism by increasing your energy expenditure, while reducing appetite at the same time. On top of that, green tea has thermogenic properties that boost your body’s ability to burn fat, especially during physical activities. 

In addition to these properties, green tea also offers other health benefits, including regulating your blood sugar levels, as well as antioxidants that protect your body from oxidative stress. 


Many of us view caffeine as the elixir of alertness and the ideal way to start off your morning. However, did you know that caffeine also has potent weight loss abilities? Caffeine is a stimulant for the central nervous system and reduces your feelings of fatigue. In this heightened state of alertness, you’ll be more focused and less inclined to think about food. 

Caffeine has proven effects on your metabolism, and it will give you a temporary boost in burning calories. Furthermore, caffeine can influence the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters will elevate your mood and are known as one of the best appetite suppressants. 

Still, although caffeine has proven weight loss benefits, it still comes with its cons, like disrupted sleep, jitteriness, and increased heart rate, which makes consuming it in moderation imperative.

Garcinia Cambogia

This exotic-sounding item on our list is a tropical fruit that buzzed around the internet for quite some time now. Many claim that its active ingredients, like hydroxy citric acid (HCA), provide various weight loss benefits.

However, research by JAMA debunked the myth of its magical weight loss properties, as the results were not very significant. Like many other promised compounds, this fruit isn’t a silver bullet for weight loss, but it provides other proven benefits.

Firstly, HCA increases your serotonin levels (neurotransmitter of happiness), which promotes feelings of fullness. Its properties can also block the effects of an enzyme called lyase, which increases the availability of glucose for energy production, thus regulating your appetite.

Griffonia simplicifolia

Griffonia simplicifolia is another unique-sounding plant that has an interesting connection with suppressing appetite. It contains a compound called 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). This is a natural compound (or, to be more precise, an amino acid) that converts into serotonin, which further controls your appetite.

It’s most commonly consumed in pill or capsule form, and many prefer to take it with a meal rich in carbs, as it facilitates its entry into the brain. 

Cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper is a part of the chili pepper family that can beautifully spice up your meals. However, you’re probably more interested in its appetite-suppressing abilities. If so, you’re in for a treat.

Cayenne pepper contains an active compound called capsaicin, which impacts your appetite in a few different ways. Firstly, capsaicin increases thermogenesis, or in simpler words, heat production in your body. As it influences your body’s energy balance, this heat also acts as an appetite suppressant.

Capsaicin is also responsible for enhancing the production of appetite-regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin. When these hormones get released into the bloodstream, they will effectively promote satiety and reduce your desire to eat.

Other natural ways to curb appetite

These foods that curb appetite are, without a doubt, fantastic helpers in bypassing unnecessary hunger pangs. Still, there are more natural ways to suppress appetite apart from adding certain ingredients.

Hydration for reducing hunger

As simple as it may sound, staying well-hydrated is a vital part of your appetite control strategy. More often than not, your body craves water, which you’re mistaking for hunger. Drinking a full glass of water before meals can create a feeling of fullness, which will help you realize if you are indeed hungry or just thirsty.

You should set a goal of drinking eight glasses of water on a daily basis. If you tend to forget about water for any reason, develop a habit of carrying a reusable water bottle with you to enhance your hydration efforts.

High-fiber meals

High-fiber foods take much longer to chew and digest compared to other food groups. Hence, they’ll promote a feeling of fullness without you even noticing it. Additionally, fiber helps with regulating your blood sugar levels, which reduces the likelihood of sudden hunger spikes. To get this effect, try adding these foods to your meal plan:

  • fruits;
  • vegetables;
  • whole grains;
  • legumes.

If you find distributing these ingredients across your meals challenging or don’t have the time to prepare your meals, you can always resort to a high-fiber meal delivery service. With fresh and carefully chosen ingredients, you can have the healthiest high-fiber meals delivered to your doorstep.

Mindful eating

Mindful eating has become a very popular practice over the last few decades and for a few good reasons. It’s an eating approach where you pay full attention to the entire eating experience, including the food’s taste, texture, and aromas.

This practice encourages you to slow down and savor each bite. By doing so, you’ll become aware of hunger and fullness cues, which makes it much easier to prevent overeating. Another benefit of mindful eating is that you develop a healthier relationship with food by enjoying all of its bits and pieces.

Stress management 

Although many people look over this factor, stress can be a huge contributor to weight gain. When you’re going through a stressful phase, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. This hormone is known to increase your appetite, particularly craving comfort foods (which are rarely healthy options).

If you allow stress to get the better of you, you’ll get caught up with emotional eating, which does not correlate with hunger. Hence, try adopting stress management techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. 

Final thoughts

Finding an ingredient that will reduce hunger can be a very helpful companion in your weight loss journey. The best natural appetite suppressant will always be the one that complements your particular body’s composition, so don’t be afraid to experiment and give each a shot before sticking to one long-term.

Furthermore, inducing satiety with these foods is a step in the right direction; remember that true transformation is a journey, and you can only succeed by combining it with the right lifestyle changes.

Natural IBS Supplements

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects millions of people, making simple things like enjoying a hearty lunch or a spicy dinner feel like walking on eggshells. But before resigning and making amends with a bland culinary lifestyle, there are still quite a few things you can try out. One of those is the implementation of natural IBS supplements that can be very helpful in easing IBS symptoms.

Which are the best natural IBS supplements?

Probiotics are among the best IBS supplements, especially natural sources, as they have a proven effect on regulating bowel movements and restoring your gut flora balance. You can use herbal extracts like peppermint oil, chamomile, and turmeric, as they have anti-inflammatory properties, which will ease your IBS symptoms. Additionally, switching to a high-fiber diet rich in psyllium can also ease the IBS discomfort.

Using probiotics for IBS is one of the most common solutions, as they are a simple and effective remedy for this disorder. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that work within the body to restore the balance of your digestive system.

Research by the National Library of Medicine confirmed that microorganisms found in probiotics like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains can restore the balance of healthy bacteria in your digestive system. Hence, regular consumption of probiotic IBS supplements can help you regulate your bowel movements and reduce the discomfort that IBS brings.

Having said that here are some of the most potent probiotic IBS supplements:

  1. Align Probiotic supplement: 

This supplement for digestive health contains the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium infantis 35624. Its effects have proven results in improving digestive health.

  1. Culturelle Digestive Health Probiotic: 

This gut health supplement contains Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, known for its digestive benefits.

  1. Florastor Daily Probiotic Supplement: 

This powerful probiotic contains Saccharomyces boulardii lyo. Put more simply, it’s a beneficial yeast strain that prevents the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut.

  1. Renew Life Ultimate Flora Probiotic: 

Offers a variety of strains, including Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, to support digestive balance.

  1. VSL#3: 

This is another highly potent probiotic supplement that enhances your gut health with a combination of different Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains.

Herbs for IBS relief

Dealing with the discomfort of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms can often force you to explore alternative solutions. And it’s not a bad approach whatsoever, as there are certain herbs that you can use as IBS supplements and get the much-needed relief.

One of these herbs is peppermint, or peppermint oil to be more precise. Peppermint has been used for thousands of years with countless applications. But we’ll steer away from its many applications and focus on the medicinal benefits of this potent nature gem.

Peppermint has strong soothing properties, and peppermint oil is proven to relax gastrointestinal muscles. As cramping is a common discomfort for people with IBS, you can use this herb to manage those symptoms effectively.

In addition to making peppermint tea, you can try out oral capsules or apply a few drops diluted in a carrier oil (like coconut oil) to your abdomen to get that relief.

Chamomile is another herbal extract that many members of the IBS community swear by. It’s well-known that chamomile is anti-inflammatory and a tea with calming properties, which makes it a solid option for easing your symptoms.

By making a comforting cup of chamomile tea (which is a very simple task to do), you can develop a soothing routine and potentially ease your symptoms in a completely natural way.

Finally, turmeric is another solid option with its active compound, curcumin, that has anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric has an array of health benefits, like boosting brain health, improving mood, skin health, and so much more. 

Although you get to enjoy its many benefits, you’re probably most interested in its effects on IBS symptoms. Its powers can help soothe the digestive tract, reduce symptoms of indigestion, and improve overall gut health.

And with its versatility, you can include it in soups, stews, make turmeric tea, in rubs for meat and fish…the choice is all yours.

Dietary changes for IBS management

Although IBS supplements have incredible potential to make your IBS struggles much more bearable, view them as a helpful companion to healthy lifestyle changes. The most significant change you can make to manage your symptoms is to make necessary dietary modifications.

Having said that, these are the foods you should prioritize and pump up your consumption:

  1. High-fiber foods

Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oats are rich in essential fibers. By consuming them, you’ll promote regular bowel movements and effectively prevent constipation.

Fruits like bananas, berries, and kiwi are also fantastic sources of fiber, particularly soluble fiber. Their potency lies in the fact that they can help with digestion without causing gas or bloating.

In the category of vegetables, focus on options like carrots, spinach, or zucchini. You’ll get to increase your fiber intake without overloading your digestive system.

Another excellent addition to your high-fiber meal plan is legumes, including lentils, chickpeas, and black beans. Apart from their fiber contents, they’re also rich in proteins and promote gut health.

  1. Hydration-rich foods:

As hydration is a critical aspect of enhancing your digestive health, fruits like watermelon and citruses can be of great help with reaching your daily hydration needs.

The previously mentioned peppermint and chamomile teas are known for their soothing effects and are a perfect addition to your hydration efforts.

Additionally, try adding soups like chicken broth and vegetable soups to improve your hydration and get the necessary nutrients.

  1. Lean proteins:

Lean proteins are extremely important for your overall health, with benefits like building muscle, supporting your metabolism, regulating blood sugar, keeping your bones healthy, and much more. On top of that, they’re light on the stomach, making them a must for your IBS-friendly diet. Hence, include fish and poultry options like:

  • salmon;
  • trout;
  • cod;
  • chicken;
  • turkey.

You can also try out plant-based alternatives like tofu or tempeh.

  1. Probiotic-rich foods:

In addition to probiotic-rich IBS supplements, there are also certain foods that are abundant in these healthy microorganisms. Some of those are:

  • yogurt;
  • kimchi;
  • sauerkraut;
  • kefir.
  1. Cooking Oils

Oils (and greasy foods in general) are, for many, a trigger that causes digestive discomfort. Hence, if you plan on using oil for preparing your meals, substitute the regular vegetable oil with olive, coconut, or grapeseed oil (depending on your tolerance and triggers).

Making these adjustments is like killing two birds with one stone. You’ll get to alleviate the discomfort of IBS symptoms while, at the same time, reaping numerous health benefits as these food options are, in general, very nutritious.

However, it may be difficult to make this switch as it potentially requires drastic changes in terms of your cooking habits. If that’s the case, you can always resort to an IBS food delivery service where you’ll be able to select dishes that adhere to your dietary preferences and restrictions.

Foods to avoid when dealing with IBS

When you start including these particular ingredients in your meal plan, you’ve made a large step in the right direction. Yet, to fully optimize your dietary habits, you must also keep certain foods off your plate. In other words, your goal is to identify what foods set off your IBS triggers and remove them from your diet as much as possible. Some of the most common triggers are:


Fermentable carbs (also known as FODMAPs) are a very common trigger for bloating, gas, and discomfort in IBS sufferers. Onions, garlic, apples, wheat, beans – keep a close eye on these suspects.

Caffeine and alcohol: 

Although these substances serve as a temporary stress relief, they can also worsen your IBS symptoms in the long run. Hence, try substituting them with the recommended herbal teas or simply water.

Fatty and spicy foods: 

While tempting, high-fat and spicy meals can irritate your digestive system and trigger flare-ups. Instead, stick with lean proteins and season them with milder spices.

Processed foods: 

It’s well-known that processed foods are packed with sugars, unhealthy fats, and artificial ingredients. As such, you should avoid them regardless of any dietary restrictions, especially if you have IBS. These foods can cause digestive distress, making them a category to avoid at all costs.

Final thoughts

Taking the matter into your own hands and managing your symptoms with natural IBS supplements and dietary changes can give you an array of benefits for managing your condition.

Truthfully, these changes can be difficult in the starting stages. Still, don’t let that discourage you, as only with persistence and dedication can you reach a balanced and comfortable life where your condition isn’t a major obstacle. Of course, remember to consult with healthcare professionals to ensure a well-informed journey toward lasting relief and digestive harmony.

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