Research About Beets

Beets are a good source of nitric oxide, which improves blood flow and lessens muscle fatigue commonly associated with exercise.

References:

Patel, RP, Hogg, N and Kim-Shapiro, DB.

"The potential role of the red blood cell in nitrite-dependent regulation of blood flow."
Cardiovascular Res (2011) 89 (3): 507-515.
  • "Nitrate is being increasingly recognized as a therapeutic or possibly even physiological precursor of nitric oxide that is utilized when needed to increase blood flow."
  • Authors discuss chemical pathways that support nitrate's role in vasodilation.

Kolluru, GK, Kevil, CG.

"Beets, Bacteria, and Blood Flow."
Circulation (Editorial): 2012 (126): 1939-1940.
  • "Nitric oxide regulates several important vascular responses in chronic tissue ischemia, including angiogenesis, vasodilation, anti-inflammation, and apoptosis, to name a few."
  • "Dietary inorganic nitrate is present in numerous green leafy vegetables...but is especially abundant in beets."

Breese, BC et al.

"Beetroot juice supplementation speeds O2 uptake kinetics and improves exercise tolerance during severe-intensity exercise initiated from an elevated metabolic rate."
Am J Physiol Reg Integr Comp Physiol. 2013 Dec; 305 (12): R1441-50.
  • Dietary supplementation with beetroot juice increased VO2 kinetics and enhanced exercise tolerance during severe-intensity exercise.
  • Greater VO2 kinetics led to a 22% greater time-to-task failure result.

Research About Cashews

1oz of raw cashews provides 5.2g of protein and 12.4g of healthy fat, which both work to increase satiety and decrease hunger.

References:

Leidy, HJ et al.

"The effects of consuming frequent, higher protein meals on appetite and satiey during weight loss in overweight/obese men."
Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Apr; 19(4): 818-24.
  • Subjects received either a Normal Protein (14% of energy as protein) or High Protein (25% of energy as protein) diet.
  • Individuals on a High Protein diet reported greater fullness throughout the day, lower late-night desire to eat and lower preoccupation with thoughts of food.

Brennan, IM et al.

"Effects of fat, protein, and carbohydrate and protein load on appetite, plasma cholecystokinin, peptide YY, and ghrelin, and energy intake in lean and obese men."
Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2012 Jul; 303(1): G129-40.
  • When various meals were fed to study subjects, lean subjects report less hunger and greater fullness following a high fat meal, high protein meal and adequate protein meal compared to those who consumed a high-carbohydrate/low-protein meal. Obese subjects reported less hunger following the high protein meal.

Mattes, RD.

"The energetics of nut consumption."
Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008; 17 Suppl 1: 337-9.
  • "Epidemiological studies have consistently revealed an inverse association between the frequency of nut consumption and BMI...Inclusion of nuts in the diet results in strong satiety effects as revealed by robust compensatory dietary responses that offset approximately 65-75% of the energy they provide."

Research About Raisins

Carbohydrates are a preferred source of energy (particularly before exercise), and support favorable metabolic function. 1oz of raisins contains the same amount of carbohydrates found in commercial sports gels.

References:

Lima-Silva AE et al.

"Effects of a low- or a high-carbohydrate diet on performance, energy system contribution, and metabolic responses during supramaximal exercise."
Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2013 Sep; 38(9): 928-34.
  • Male cyclist performance was measured following a high- or low-carbohydrate diet, with the low-carbohydrate diet associated with decreased time to exhaustion during exercise. Authors conclude that "a low-carbohydrate diet reduces both performance and total aerobic energy provision during supramaximal exercise.

American Dietetic Association.

"Position of the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Research and Athletic Performance."
JADA. 2009: 109 (3); 509-527.
  • "Approximately 50% to 60% of energy during 1 to 4 hours of continuous exercise at 70% of maximal oxygen capacity is derived from carbohydrates and the rest from free fatty acid oxidation."

Kern, M, heslin, CJ, Rezende, RS.

"Metabolic and performance effects of raisins versus sports gel as pre-exercise feedings in cyclists."
J Strength Cond Res. 2007 Nov; 21(4): 1204-7.
  • "There were more free fatty acids after the pre-exercise ingestion of raisins versus sports gels. This increase in the free fatty acids indicates that raisins subtly, but favorably, improved metabolism. "
  • The authors concluded that raisins are a better alternative to sports gels since they provide more micronutrients, an acid-neutralizing load to the kidneys and are a more cost-effective and convenient food for use during exercise.

Research About Pepitas

One ounce of pepitas (about 3 tablespoons) contains 7.8g protein and 15g healthy fat. Seeds are less allergenic than nuts.

References:

Brennan, IM et al.

"Effects of fat, protein, and carbohydrate and protein load on appetite, plasma cholescystokinin, peptide YY, and ghrelin, and energy intake in lean and obese men."
Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2012 Jul; 303(1): G129-40.
  • When various meals were fed to study subjects, lean subjects report less hunger and greater fullness following a high fat meal, high protein meal and adequate protein meal compared to those who consumed a high-carbohydrate/low-protein meal.
  • Obese subjects reported less hunger following the high protein meal.

Dalal, I, Goldberg, M, and Katz, Y.

"Sesame seed food allergy."
Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2012 Aug;12(4):339-45.
  • Seeds are less allergenic than tree-nuts. In the case of sesame seeds, only 0.1-0.2% of the population have an allergy to the seeds.

Research About Dehydrated Beet Chips

According to the USDA nutrient database, 1/2 cup of beets contain 6.5g total carbohydrate. The carbohydrates are both simple and complex, providing immediate and sustained energy.

References:

Souglis, AG et al.

"The effect of high vs. low carbohydrate diets on distances covered in soccer."
J Strength Cond Res. 2013 Aug;27(8):2235-47.
  • "Every player covered a greater total distance in high-carbohydrate group (HC) compared with the distance covered in low-carbohydrate group (LC)."
  • "The HC diet probably helped players to cover a greater distance compared with LC. Soccer players should avoid eating a low (3 g CHO per kg body mass) CHO diet 3-4 days before an important soccer match and have a high CHO intake that provides at least 8 g CHO per kg body mass."

Nilsson, A, Radeborg, K, Björch, I.

"Effects on cognitive performance of modulating the postprandial blood glucose profile at breakfast."
Eur J Clin Nutr. 2012 Sep;66(9):1039-43.
  • "Considering the importance of glucose as a brain substrate, the postprandial rate of glucose delivery to the blood could be expected to affect cognitive functions."
  • The study used white wheat bread enriched with guar gum. This recipe had the capacity to produce a low but sustained blood glucose release.
  • "The results highlight the importance of carbohydrate foods that induces a low but sustained blood glucose profile in enhancing postprandial cognitive functions."

Research About Apples

According to the USDA nutrient database, 1/2 cup chopped apples contain 8.63g total carbohydrates, providing energy that tastes great for children.

References:

Turner, CE et al.

"Carbohydrate in the mouth enhances activation of brain circuitry involved in motor performance and sensory perception."
Appetite. 2014 May 21. pii: S0195-6663(14)00228-1.
  • "Oral carbohydrate signaling can increase activation within the primary sensorimotor cortex during physical activity and enhance activation of neural networks involved in sensory perception."
  • "Functional magnetic resonance imaging of the brain was used to identify cortical areas responsive to oral carbohydrate during rest and activity phases of a hand-grip motor task. Mean blood-oxygen-level dependent signal change experienced in the contralateral primary sensorimotor cortex was larger for CHO compared with the placebo during the motor task when contrasted with a control condition."

Couto, PG et al.

"Effect of Fat- and Carbohydrate-rich Diets on Metabolism and Running Performance in Trained Adolescent Boys."
J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2014 May 5.
  • "Consuming a CHO-rich diet enhanced performance compared to that after the fat-rich diet."
  • The study concluded that a carbohydrate-rich diet provided additional benefits to 10,000-m running performance in trained adolescent boys compared to fat-rich diet.

Souglis, AG et al.

"The effect of high vs. low carbohydrate diets on distances covered in soccer."
J Strength Cond Res. 2013 Aug;27(8):2235-47.
  • "Every player covered a greater total distance in high-carbohydrate group (HC) compared with the distance covered in low-carbohydrate group (LC)."
  • "The HC diet probably helped players to cover a greater distance compared with LC. Soccer players should avoid eating a low (3 g CHO per kg body mass) CHO diet 3-4 days before an important soccer match and have a high CHO intake that provides at least 8 g CHO per kg body mass."

Research About Spinach

There are over 18 types of flavonoids found in spinach. These, along with other phytochemicals, help protect the brain.

References:

Joseph, JA et al.

"Reversals of age-related declines in neuronal signal transduction, cognitive, and motor behavioral deficits with blueberry, spinach, or strawberry dietary supplementation."
J Neurosci. 1999 Sep 15;19(18): 8114-21.
  • "Rats fed antioxidant blueberry supplements exhibited improvements in several neuronal and behavioral parameters, and researchers note that "phytochemicals present in antioxidant-rich foods may be beneficial in reversing the course of neuronal and behavioral aging."

Pandy, KI and Rizvi, SI.

"Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease."
Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2009 Nov-Dec; 2(5): 270–278.
  • "Epidemiological studies and associated meta-analyses strongly suggest that long term consumption of diets rich in plant polyphenols offer protection against development of cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis and neurodegenerative diseases."
  • "Because polyphenols are highly antioxidative in nature, their consumption may provide protection in neurological diseases."
  • "Polyphenols from fruits and vegetables seem to be invaluable potential agents in neuroprotection by virtue of their ability to influence and modulate several cellular processes such as signaling, proliferation, apoptosis, redox balance and differentiation."

Research About Tart Cherries

Tart cherries contain a powerful antioxidant called anthocyanin, which reduces inflammation and muscle damage.

References:

Howatson, G et al.

"Influence of tart cherry juice on indices of recovery following marathon running."
Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010 Dec;20(6): 843-52.
  • Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010 Dec;20(6): 843-52. Twenty recreational Marathon runners were given cherry juice or placebo for 5 days before, the day of and for 48 h following a Marathon run.
  • Isometric strength recovered significantly faster (P=0.024) in the cherry juice group. Inflammation was reduced in the cherry juice group (IL-6, P<0.001; CRP, P<0.01; uric acid, P<0.05).
  • Total antioxidant status was ~10% greater in the cherry juice than the placebo group for all post-supplementation measures (P<0.05).

Bowtell, JL et al.

"Montmorency cherry juice reduces muscle damage caused by intensive strength exercise."
Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Aug;43(8):1544-51.
  • Maxium voluntary contractions (MVC) force recovery was 6% faster after consuming CA compared to FC.
  • "Montmorency cherry juice consumption improved the recovery of isometric muscle strength after intensive exercise perhaps owing to the attenuation of the oxidative damage induced by the damaging exercise."

Research About Pineapple

Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple juice and stems, has anti-inflammatory properties. 

References:

Maurer, HR.

"Bromelain: biochemistry, pharmacology and medical use."
Cell Mol Life Sci. 2001 Aug;58(9): 1234-45.
  • "Bromelain is a crude extract from the pineapple that contains, among other components, various closely related proteinases [that have demonstrated] antiedematous, anti inflammatory, antithrombotic and fibrinolytic activities."

Hale, LP et al.

"Dietary supplementation with fresh pineapple juice decreases inflammation and colonic neoplasia in IL-10-deficient mice with colitis."
Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2010 Dec;16(12): 2012-21.
  • "Bromelain, a mixture of proteolytic enzymes typically derived from pineapple stem, decreases production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and leukocyte homing to sites of inflammation."
  • This mice study found that supplementation with fresh pineapple (compared to boiled pineapple juice with inactive enzymes) decreased inflammation severity and inflammation-associated colonic neoplasia in mice with inflammatory bowel disease.

Muller, S. et al.

"Placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial on the immunomodulating activities of low- and high-dose bromelain after oral administration – new evidence on the antiinflammatory mode of action of bromelain."
Phytother Res. 2013 Feb;27(2): 199-204.
  • This study analyzed the effects of bromelain on the human immune system by measuring leukocytes and interferon activity.
  • "This is the first time that bromelain has been shown to modulate the cellular responses of lymphocyte after oral use. It is postulated that the immunomodulating effect of bromelain observed in this trial is part of its known anti-inflammatory activities."

Research About Roasted Edamame

Edamame is a good source of protein with 8.4g found in ½ cup, and the salt helps replace sweat lost during exercise.

References:

American Dietetic Association.

"Position of the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance."
JADA. 2009: 109 (3); 509-527.
  • "Protein consumed after exercise will provide amino acids for building and repair of muscle tissue."
  • "Consuming rehydration beverages and salty foods at meals/snacks will help replace fluid and electrolyte losses.
  • "Including protein in a postexercise meal may provide needed amino acids for muscle protein repair and promote a more anabolic hormonal profile."

Reidy, PT et al.

"The effect of feeding during recovery from aerobic exercise on skeletal muscle intracellular signaling."
Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2014 Feb;24(1): 70-8.
  • This study analyzed muscle metabolism following feeding after aerobic exercise.
  • Data indicates that feeding after exercise is favorable to promoting protein synthesis that may "better prepare the muscle for subsequent exercise bouts."

Shirreffs, SM and Sawka, MN.

"Fluid and electrolyte needs for training, competition, and recovery."
J Sports Sci. 2011;29 Suppl 1: S39-46.
  • Sweat contains water and electrolytes.
  • "Both water and sodium need to be replaced to re-establish "normal" total body water. This replacement can be by normal eating and drinking practices."

Research About Turmeric

Like many trace minerals, turmeric contains a high amount of iron in each tablespoon (5.17mg iron; 28.7% daily recommended intake), along with anti-inflammatory properties.

References:

Jurenka JS.

"Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of Curcuma longa: a review of preclinical and clinical research."
Altern Med Rev. 2009 Jun;14(2):141-53.
  • Turmeric make-up: "Turmeric constituents include the three curcuminoids: curcumin (diferuloylmethane; the primary constituent and the one responsible for its vibrant yellow color), demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin, as well as volatile oils (tumerone, atlantone, and zingiberone), sugars, proteins, and resins."

Aggarwal BB and Harikumar KB.

"Potential therapeutic effects of curcumin, the anti-inflammatory agent, against neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, autoimmune and neoplastic diseases."
Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2009 Jan;41(1):40-59.
  • "Turmeric exhibits anti-inflammatory activity, but extensive research performed within the past two decades has shown that this activity of turmeric is due to curcumin (diferuloylmethane)."
  • Curcumin "has been shown to regulate numerous transcription factors, cytokines, protein kinases, adhesion molecules, redox status and enzymes that have been linked to inflammation."

Research About Cucumber

Proper hydration prevents fatigue and promotes mental clarity. Cucumbers are 96% water.

References:

Benton, D.

"Dehydration influences mood and cognition: a plausible hypothesis?"
Am J Psychiatry. 2006 Jun;163(6):969-78.
  • "Four intervention studies have found improved performance in children aged 7 to 9 years. In these studies children, eating and drinking as normal, have been tested on occasions when they have and not have consumed a drink. After a drink both memory and attention have been found to be improved."

Grandjean, AC and Grandjean, NR.

"Dehydration and congnitve performance."
J Am Coll Nutr. 2007 Oct;26(5 Suppl):549S-554S.
  • "A decline in physical, visuomotor, psychomotor, and cognitive performance can occur when 2% or more of body weight is lost due to water restriction, heat, and/or physical exertion."

Research About Walnuts

According to the USDA nutrient database, 1oz of walnuts contains 15.9g of healthy fats and 4.3g of protein, which both contribute to blood glucose control.

References:

Gannon, MC et al.

"An increase in dietary protein improves the blood glucose response in persons with type 2 diabetes."
Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 October;78(4): 734-741.
  • This study analyzed the metabolic effects of a high-protein diet on glucose concentrations.
  • "A high-protein diet lowers blood glucose postprandially in persons with type 2 diabetes and improves overall glucose control."

Bermudez, B et al.

"Clustering effects on postprandial insulin secretion and sensitivity in response to meals with different fatty acid compositions."
Food Funct. 2014 April 22 (Epub).
  • "Dietary fatty acids play a role in glucose homeostasis."
  • This study analyzed different types of fats - saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated – on postprandial insulin sensitivity. Researchers found that dietary monounsaturated fats (compared to saturated fat) led to better postprandial glycemic control in study subjects.

Cunningham, KM and Read, NW.

"The effect of incorporating fat into different components of a meal on gastric emptying and postprandial blood glucose and insulin responses."
Br J Nutr. 1989 Mar;61(2): 285-90.
  • The addition of lipid to study test meals delayed gastric emptying among study subjects.
  • "[The] addition of fat to either component of the meal reduced postprandial blood glucose (P<0.05) and insulin responses, but when the fat was incorporated into the soup, peak glucose and insulin responses were delayed, as well (P<0.05)."

Research About Banana Chips

The antioxidants found in fruits (including dried fruit) have been linked to improved cognition, which can lead to higher test scores.

References:

Wengreen, HJ et al.

"Antioxidant intake and cognitive function of elderly men and women: the Cache County Study."
J Nutr Health Aging. 2007 Maycm-pineapple.php-Jun;11(3): 230-7.
  • This large-scale study found that increased intake of vitamin C was associated with higher baseline scores of the Modified Mini-Mental State examination, an association that was stronger in food sources than supplements.
  • Subjects with lower intake of vitamin C, vitamin E and carotene had greater acceleration in decline of scores compared to those with higher antioxidant intakes.

Galli, RL et al.

"Fruit polyphenolics and brain aging: nutritional interventions targeting age-related neuronal and behavioral deficits."
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002 Apr;959: 128-32.
  • Dietary intake of fruits and vegetables can slow and potentially reverse age-related declines in brain function, cognitive performance and motor performance in rats.
  • "To date, the anthocyanins show the most efficacy in penetrating the cell membrane and in providing antioxidant protection."
  • "Our results indicate that increasing dietary intake of fruits and vegetables high in antioxidant activity may be an important component of a healthy living strategy designed to maximize neuronal and cognitive functioning into old age."

Grodstein, F et al.

"High-dose antioxidant supplements and cognitive function in community-dwelling elderly women."
Am J Clin Nutr April 2003;77(4): 975-984.
  • In this large-scale study using women from the Nurses' Health Study, researchers analyzed the intake of vitamins C and E on telephonic cognitive function exams that tested memory, recall and verbal fluency.
  • "Long-term, current users of vitamin E with vitamin C had significantly better mean performance, as judged by a global score that combined individual test scores, than did women who had never used vitamin E or C."

Research About Pomegranates

Pomegranates contain beneficial antioxidants. And 1 cup pomegranate arils (seeds) is a good source of potassium (12% recommended daily value), vitamin C (30% daily value) and fiber (28% daily value).

References:

Wengreen, HJ et al.

"Antioxidant intake and cognitive function of elderly men and women: the Cache County Study."
J Nutr Health Aging. 2007 May-Jun;11(3): 230-7.
  • This large-scale study found that increased intake of vitamin C was associated with higher baseline scores of the Modified Mini-Mental State examination, an association that was stronger in food sources than supplements.
  • Subjects with lower intake of vitamin C, vitamin E and carotene had greater acceleration in decline of scores compared to those with higher antioxidant intakes.

Galli, RL et al.

"Fruit polyphenolics and brain aging: nutritional interventions targeting age-related neuronal and behavioral deficits."
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002 Apr;959: 128-32.
  • Dietary intake of fruits and vegetables can slow and potentially reverse age-related declines in brain function, cognitive performance and motor performance in rats.
  • "To date, the anthocyanins show the most efficacy in penetrating the cell membrane and in providing antioxidant protection."
  • "Our results indicate that increasing dietary intake of fruits and vegetables high in antioxidant activity may be an important component of a healthy living strategy designed to maximize neuronal and cognitive functioning into old age."

Grodstein, F et al.

"High-dose antioxidant supplements and cognitive function in community-dwelling elderly women."
Am J Clin Nutr April 2003;77(4): 975-984.
  • In this large-scale study using women from the Nurses' Health Study, researchers analyzed the intake of vitamins C and E on telephonic cognitive function exams that tested memory, recall and verbal fluency.
  • "Long-term, current users of vitamin E with vitamin C had significantly better mean performance, as judged by a global score that combined individual test scores, than did women who had never used vitamin E or C."

Research About Apricots, Pineapple

Carbohydrates contribute to the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can affect mood, relaxation and satiety after meals. Fiber also increases feelings of fullness and satiety.

References:

Pissios, P and Maratos-Flier, E.

"More Than Satiety: Central Serotonin Signaling and Glucose Homeostasis."
Cell Metab. Nov 2007;6(5): 345-347.
  • "Previous research on appetite suppression by serotonin has centered on the role of serotonin signaling in the brain's "appetite center," the hypothalamus."

Feijo, FM et al.

"Serotonin and hypothalamic control of hunger: a review."
Rev Assoc Med Bras 2011 Jan-Feb;57(1): 74-7.
  • "Over 35 years of research suggest that serotonin plays an important role in satiety."
  • The serotonin response system controls hunger and satiety via different receptors that may be important in food intake and energy balance.

Bolton, RP et al.

"The role of dietary fiber in satiety, glucose, and insulin: studies with fruit and fruit juice.
Am J Clin Nutr. 1981 Feb;34(2): 211-7.
  • Healthy subjects ingested fruit juice or whole fruits, and measured satiety was greater after whole fruit consumption due to the presence of dietary fiber.

Research About Parsley

Parsley is high in thylakoids, part of the chloroplast in plants. Research has shown a connection between thylakoids in food and both increased satisfaction and decreased intake.

References:

Erlandson-Albertsson C et al.

"Thylakoids Promote Satiety in Healthy Humans. Metabolic Effects and Mechanisms."
Patil BS, ed. Emerging Trends in Dietary COmponents for Preventing and Combating Disease. American Chemical Society; 2012:521-531.
  • In both animals and human models, thylakoids have been shown to promote satiety when added to foods. Like fiber, they show resistance to GI breakdown. In addition, thylakoids promote the release of cholecystokinin, while suppressing the release of ghrelin and insulin.

Kohnke R et al.

"Thylakoids promote release of the satiety hormone cholecystokinin while reducing insulin in healthy humans."
Scand J Gastroenterol. 2009;44(6):712-719.
  • This crossover study looked at healthy individuals of normal weight. They were offered a high-fat meal with and without the addition of thylakoids.
  • Those who also consumed the thylakoids showed reduced ghrelin and insulin levels 2 hours after the meal, and increased leptin levels 3 hours after the meal.

Montelius C et al.

"Body weight loss, reduced urge for palatable food and increased release of GLP-1 through daily supplementation with green-plant membranes for three months in overweight women."
Appetite. 2014 Oct;81:295-304.
  • This weight loss study followed women between the age of 40 and 65 over the course of 90 days. Participants received either a thylakoid supplement or placebo at breakfast, all followed the same meal plan, and were all instructed to increase physical activity.
  • Subjects receiving the thylakoid supplement lost more body weight, had more improvement on total and LDL-cholesterol than those who received the placebo.
  • Also, the thylakoid supplement was associated with decreased release of GLP-1 after eating and a decreased urge for sweets and chocolate.

Research About Pistachios

½ cup of pistachio nuts in their shell contain a filling combination of 1.4g of fiber, 3g of protein and 6g of fat, all for just 80 calories. Studies show choosing pistachios in shells slows you down so you eat less.

References:

Honselman, CS et al.

"In-shell pistachio nuts reduce calorie intake compared to shelled nuts."
Appetite. 2011 Oct; 57 (2):414-7.
  • When 140 college students were offered either pistachios in-shells or shelled pistachios. When given the in-shell pistachios the subjects consumed 41% fewer calories, even though they reported being equally as a full as the subjects who ate the shelled pistachios.

Kendall, CW et al.

"The impact of pistachio intake alone or in combination with high-carbohydrate foods on post-prandial glycemia."
Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011 Jun; 65 (6): 696-702.
  • Pistachios may improve satiety via their positive effects on blood sugar regulation. This study of 56 volunteers found that adding 2 ounces of pistachios to a carbohydrate containing meal significantly reduced the relative glycemic response of the meal.

Li, Z et al.

"Pistachio nuts reduce triglycerides and body weight by comparison to refined carbohydrate snack in obese subjects on a 12-week weight loss program."
J Am Coll Nutr. 2010 Jun; 29 (3): 198-203.
  • 59 participants were randomly assigned to an equal-calorie weight loss diet that contained an afternoon snack of equal amounts of either pistachios or pretzels for 12 weeks. By the end of the study the pistachio group lost more than twice as much weight as the pretzel group.

Research About Coconut Chips

½ cup of unsweetened coconut contains 1.7g of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which increase fat burning, while the 13g total fat and 3.6g of fiber promote satiety.

References:

Aoyama, T et al.

"Research on the nutritional characteristics of medium-chain fatty acids."
J Med Invest. 2007 Aug; 54 (3-4): 385-8.
  • Unlike other fats in our diet, MCTs are absorbed directly into the liver and therefore metabolized quickly, increasing thermogenesis.

St-Onge, MP and Jones, PJ.

"Greater rise in fat oxidation with medium-chain triglyceride consumption relative to long-chain triglyceride is associated with lower initial body weight and greater loss of subcutaneous adipose tissue."
Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003 Dece; 27 (12): 1565-71.
  • In this randomized, crossover, controlled feeding trial, 19 healthy overweight men were given a diet rich in either MCT or LCTs in the form of olive oil for 4 weeks. The MCT group lost 2.3 pounds compared to the LCT group which only lost 1.4 pounds.
  • Researchers suspect that increased fat burning by MCTs results in reduced fat tissue stores. It should be noted that these effects were most pronounced in the men who weighed less.

Kasai, M et al.

"Comparison of diet-induced thermogenesis of foods containing medium-versus long chain triacylglycerols."
J Nutr Sci Vitaminol. 2002 Dec; 48(6): 536-40.
  • Participants were given one of three meals: 10g MCTs, a mixture of 5g MCT oil + 5g LCT oil, or 10g LCTs. Thermogenesis was significantly greater after the MCT and MCT + LCT meal compared to the LCT meal.
  • Participants were given a test meal of a sandwich with mayonnaise or margarine containing 5g MCT or 5g LCT. Thermogenesis was significantly greater when participants consumed the sandwich with the MCTs versus the LCTs.

Research About Cayenne

Epidemiologic data show that consumption of foods containing capsaicin is associated with a lower prevalence of obesity.

References:

Leung, FW

"Capsaicin as an anti-obesity drug."
Prog Drug Res. 2014;68:171-9
  • Capsaicin induces apoptosis in fat cells and inhibits fat cell creation.
  • Capsinoid ingestion increases energy expenditure through the activation of brown adipose tissue in humans.

Janssens PL, Hursel R, Westerterp-Plantenga MS.

"Capsaicin increases sensation of fullness in energy balance, and decreases desire to eat after dinner in negative energy balance."
Appetite. 2014 Jun;77:44-9.
  • 15 young, healthy subjects underwent 4 conditions in a randomized crossover design – (1) 100% of daily energy needs, (2) 100% of daily energy needs + capsaicin (~1g of red chili pepper), (3) 75% of daily energy needs, (4) 75% of daily energy needs + capsaicin (~1g of red chili pepper) – and then allowed to eat dinner ad libitum.
  • In energy balance, addition of capsaicin to the diet increases satiety and fullness, and tends to prevent overeating when food intake is ad libitum. After dinner, capsaicin prevents the effects of the negative energy balance on desire to eat.

Research About Cayenne

Epidemiologic data show that consumption of foods containing capsaicin is associated with a lower prevalence of obesity.

References:

Leung, FW

"Capsaicin as an anti-obesity drug."
Prog Drug Res. 2014;68:171-9
  • Capsaicin induces apoptosis in fat cells and inhibits fat cell creation.
  • Capsinoid ingestion increases energy expenditure through the activation of brown adipose tissue in humans.

Janssens PL, Hursel R, Westerterp-Plantenga MS.

"Capsaicin increases sensation of fullness in energy balance, and decreases desire to eat after dinner in negative energy balance."
Appetite. 2014 Jun;77:44-9.
  • 15 young, healthy subjects underwent 4 conditions in a randomized crossover design – (1) 100% of daily energy needs, (2) 100% of daily energy needs + capsaicin (~1g of red chili pepper), (3) 75% of daily energy needs, (4) 75% of daily energy needs + capsaicin (~1g of red chili pepper) – and then allowed to eat dinner ad libitum.
  • In energy balance, addition of capsaicin to the diet increases satiety and fullness, and tends to prevent overeating when food intake is ad libitum. After dinner, capsaicin prevents the effects of the negative energy balance on desire to eat.

Research About Almonds

1 oz of almonds contains roughly 6g of protein, which increases calorie burning due to enhanced thermic effect of food.

References:

Tappy, L.

"Thermic effect of food and sympathetic nervous system activity in humans."
Reprod Nutr Dev. 1996: 36 (4); 391-7.
  • Protein increases energy expenditure more than carbohydrates or fat.
  • The thermic effect of protein is 20-30% versus 5-10% for carbohydrates and 0-3% for fat.

Binns, A et al.

"Thermic effect of food, exercise and total energy expenditure in active females."
J Sci Med Sports. 2014 Feb.
  • This study of 10 normal-weight active females found that a high protein meal increased the thermic effect of food by 31% compared to a low protein meal.

Crovetti, R et al.

"The influence of thermic effect of food on satiety."
Eur J Clin Nutr. 1998: Jul; 52(7): 482-8.
  • This study compared the thermic effect of a high protein, high fat and a high carbohydrate meal in 10 normal-weight healthy women. The high protein meal was nearly three times as thermogenic as the high carbohydrate or high fat meals.

Research About Almonds:

1 oz of almonds contains 75mg of magnesium, which reduces oxidative stress in the body. Additionally, 1 oz of almonds contains 60mg of tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin - otherwise known as the calming chemical or happy hormone.

References:

Parker G and Brotchie H.

"Mood effects of the amino acids tryptophan and tyrosine: ‘Food for Thought’ III."
Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2011; 124(6):417-426.
  • Limited evidence that suggests depressed patients have decreased trptophan levels.
  • Some evidence supporting trptophan to improve depressed mood states.

Peuhkuri, K et al.

"Diet promotes sleep duration and quality."
Nutr Res. 2012; 32(5):309-319.
  • "Overall, foods impacting the availability of trptophan, as well as the synthesis of serotonin and melatonin, may be the most helpful in promoting sleep."

King DE et al.

"Dietary magnesium and C-reactive protein levels."
J Am Coll Nutr. 2005 Jun; 124(3): 166-171.
  • Adults who consumed less than the RDA of magnesium were 1.48-1.75 times more likely to have elevated CRP than adults who consumed at least the RDA.
  • Elevated CRP levels may contribute to cardiovascular disease.

Cernak I et al.

"Alterations in magnesium and oxidative status during chronic motional stress."
Magnes Res. 2000 Mar; 13(1):29-36.
  • Young volunteers exposed to chronic emotional stress showed significant decreases in plasma ionized Mg2+ and total Mg. A negative correlation between magnesium balance and oxidative stress was observed, as well.
  • These findings support a need for increased magnesium for those with chronic stress.

Research About Almonds

According to the USDA nutrient database, 1 cup chopped kale contains 32mg of magnesium, which reduces oxidative stress in the body.

References:

King DE et al.

"Dietary magnesium and C-reactive protein levels."
J Am Coll Nutr. 2005 Jun; 124(3): 166-171.
  • Adults who consumed less than the RDA of magnesium were 1.48-1.75 times more likely to have elevated CRP than adults who consumed at least the RDA.
  • Elevated CRP levels may contribute to cardiovascular disease.

Cernak I et al.

"Alterations in magnesium and oxidative status during chronic motional stress."
Magnes Res. 2000 Mar; 13(1):29-36.
  • Young volunteers exposed to chronic emotional stress showed significant decreases in plasma ionized Mg2+ and total Mg. A negative correlation between magnesium balance and oxidative stress was observed, as well.
  • These findings support a need for increased magnesium for those with chronic stress.

Research About Pineapple

According to the USDA nutrient database, ½ cup of cubed pineapple provides 10.8g carbohydrates, which contribute to the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can affect mood, relaxation and satiety after meals.

References:

Pissios, P and Maratos-Flier, E.

"More Than Satiety: Central Serotonin Signaling and Glucose Homeostasis."
Cell Metab. Nov 2007;6(5): 345-347.
  • "Previous research on appetite suppression by serotonin has centered on the role of serotonin signaling in the brain's "appetite center," the hypothalamus."

Feijo, FM et al.

"Serotonin and hypothalamic control of hunger: a review."
Rev Assoc Med Bras 2011 Jan-Feb;57(1): 74-7.
  • "Over 35 years of research suggest that serotonin plays an important role in satiety."
  • The serotonin response system controls hunger and satiety via different receptors that may be important in food intake and energy balance.

Research About Tart Cherries

Tart cherries are one of the best natural food sources of melatonin, a chemical that helps regulate sleep and circadian rhythm.

References:

Garrido, M et al.

"A Jerte valley cherry product provides beneficial effects on sleep quality. Influence on aging."
J Nutr Health Aging 2013;17(6): 553-60.
  • Consumption of the cherry product, compared to placebo, improved nocturnal rest (measured by sleep efficiency), number of awakenings, total nocturnal activity, sleep latency, assumed sleep, actual sleep time and immobility.
  • Cherry product ingestion "may contribute to establish a high-quality sleep and be used as a potential nutraceutical tool to prevent sleep disorders with the advance of age."

Howatson, G et al.

"Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality."
Eur J Nutr. 2012 Dec;51(8): 909-16.
  • "Tart Montmorency cherries have been reported to contain high levels of phytochemicals including melatonin, a molecule critical in regulating the sleep-wake cycle in humans."
  • Researchers suggest that the "consumption of tart cherry juice concentrate provides an increase in exogenous melatonin that is beneficial in improving sleep duration and quality in healthy men and women and might be of benefit in managing disturbed sleep."

de Jonghe, A et al.

"Effectiveness of melatonin treatment on circadian rhythm disturbances in dementia. Are there implications for delirium? A systematic review."
Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2010 Dec;25(12): 1201-8.
  • Melatonin may be an effective treatment for disturbances in circadian rhythm.
  • This study analyzed melatonin treatment in patients with delirium, since these patients frequently see circadian rhythm disturbances.
  • Melatonin had positive effects on these patients, improving their circadian rhythm and decreasing agitated behavior.

Research About Almonds

According to the USDA nutrient database, 1oz of almonds contain 6.0g of protein and 1.3mcg of biotin, the essential building blocks for healthy hair and nails.

References:

Staggs, CG et al.

"Determination of the biotin content of select foods using accurate and sensitive HPLC/avidin binding."
J Food Compost Anal. 2004 December ; 17(6): 767–776.
  • Biotin content of almonds was determined by acid hydrolysis and the HPLC/avidin-binding assay.
  • Research determined almond's biotin content to be 1.32mcg biotin per 30g almonds.

Zempleni, J, Hassan, YI and Wijeratne, SS.

"Biotin and biotinidase deficiency."
Expert Rev Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Nov 1;3(6):715-724.
  • "Symptoms of biotin deficiency include seizures, hypotonia, ataxia, dermatitis, hair loss, etc."
  • "Biotin deficiency may be caused by insufficient dietary uptake of biotin, drug-vitamin interactions and, perhaps, by increased biotin catabolism during pregnancy and in smokers."

Shimoshima, C et al.

"Influences of protein malnutrition on amino acid composition, trace metal elements and tensile strength of rat hairs."
J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 1988 Feb;34(1):67-78.
  • Researchers tested hair tensile strength in normal and protein-malnourished rats.
  • "Tensile strength of coarse hairs in the experimental protein-malnourished rats was significantly lower than that of the control."

Research About Kale Chips

According to the USDA nutrient database, 1 cup chopped kale contains 80.4mg of vitamin C, which plays an essential role in collagen maintenance and production.

References:

Barbosa, NS and Kalaaji, AN.

"CAM use in dermatology. Is there a potential role for honey, green tea, and vitamin C?"
Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2014 Feb;20(1):11-5.
  • "In dermatology, honey, green tea, and vitamin C have been used as topical treatments for a variety of diseases."
  • "Vitamin C, known for its antioxidant properties and key role in collagen production, has been shown to produce positive effects on skin hyperpigmentation and aging."

Farris, PK.

"Topical vitamin C: a useful agent for treating photoaging and other dermatologic conditions."
Dermatol Surg. 2005 Jul;31(7 Pt 2):814-7; discussion 818.
  • A significant body of scientific research supports the use of cosmeceuticals containing vitamin C.
  • Cutaneous benefits include promoting collagen synthesis, photoprotection from ultraviolet A and B, lightening hyperpigmentation, and improvement of a variety of inflammatory dermatoses.

Cosgrove, MC et al.

"Dietary nutrient intakes and skin-aging appearance among middle-aged American women."
Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Oct;86(4):1225-31.
  • "Higher vitamin C intakes were associated with a lower likelihood of a wrinkled appearance [odds ratio (OR) 0.89; 95% CI: 0.82, 0.96] and senile dryness (OR: 0.93; 95% CI: 0.87, 0.99)."
  • "Higher intakes of vitamin C and linoleic acid and lower intakes of fats and carbohydrates are associated with better skin-aging appearance. Promoting healthy dietary behaviors may have additional benefit for skin appearance in addition to other health outcomes in the population."

Research About Rainbow Chard

Swiss chard contains 1101 IU of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, a pigment that contributes to desirable skin tone.

References:

Stephen, ID, Coetzee, V and Perrett, DI.

"Carotenoid and melanin pigment coloration affect perceived human health."
Evolution & Human Behavior, May 2011;32(3), 216-227.
  • "Increased facial skin yellowness and lightness appear healthy in Caucasian faces, but it is unclear why. Skin yellowness is primarily affected by melanin and carotenoid pigments."
  • "Study 2 shows that individuals with higher dietary intakes of carotenoids and fruit and vegetables have increased skin values and show skin reflectance spectra consistent with enhanced carotenoid absorption."
  • "Together our studies link skin carotenoid coloration to both perceived health and healthy diet, establishing carotenoid coloration as a valid cue to human health."

Stahl, W and Sies, H.

"β-Carotene and other carotenoids in protection from sunlight."
Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Nov;96(5):1179S-84S.
  • Human intervention studies have documented protective effects for β-carotene or for lycopene provided either by a carotenoid-rich diet or by supplementation.
  • "Photoprotection through individual dietary components such as β-carotene or lycopene in terms of sun protection factor is considerably lower than that achieved by using topical sunscreens. However, an optimal supply of antioxidant micronutrients in the skin increases basal dermal defense against UV irradiation, supports longer-term protection, and contributes to maintenance of skin health and appearance."

Alaluf, S et al.

"Dietary carotenoids contribute to normal human skin color and UV photosensitivity."
J Nutr. 2002 Mar;132(3):399-403.
  • "We conclude that carotenoids from a normal, unsupplemented diet accumulate in the skin and confer a measurable photoprotective benefit (at least in lightly pigmented Caucasian skin), that is directly linked to their concentration in the tissue. Carotenoids also appear to contribute measurably and significantly to normal human skin color, in particular the appearance of "yellowness"."

Research About Watermelon

According to the USDA, 1.5 cups of watermelon contain 9-13mg lycopene, a pigment known to potect skin from UV damage.

References:

Stahl, W and Sies, H.

"β-Carotene and other carotenoids in protection from sunlight."
Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Nov;96(5):1179S-84S.
  • Human intervention studies have documented protective effects for β-carotene or for lycopene provided either by a carotenoid-rich diet or by supplementation.
  • "Photoprotection through individual dietary components such as β-carotene or lycopene in terms of sun protection factor is considerably lower than that achieved by using topical sunscreens. However, an optimal supply of antioxidant micronutrients in the skin increases basal dermal defense against UV irradiation, supports longer-term protection, and contributes to maintenance of skin health and appearance."

Stahl, W and Sies, H.

"Carotenoids and flavonoids contribute to nutritional protection against skin damage from sunlight."
Mol Biotechnol. 2007 Sep;37(1):26-30.
  • "As micronutrients, they are ingested with the diet and are distributed into light-exposed tissues, such as skin or the eye where they provide systemic photoprotection."
  • "After about 10-12 weeks of dietary intervention, a decrease in the sensitivity toward UV-induced erythema was observed in volunteers. Dietary micronutrients may contribute to life-long protection against harmful UV radiation."

United States Department of Agriculture.

"Watermelon packs a lycopene punch."
Agricultural Research June 2002. Last modified 11 March 2011.
  • On average, watermelon has about 40 percent more lycopene than raw tomatoes
  • "Watermelon is fat free and is a source of vitamins A, B6, C, and thiamin. Studies have shown that a cup and a half of watermelon contains about 9 to 13 milligrams of lycopene."

Research About Carrots

1/2 cup chopped carrots provides 6420 IU of vitamin A, which helps support a healthy immune system.

References:

Wojtal, KA et al.

"The effects of vitamin A on cells of innate immunity in vitro."
Toxicol In Vitro. 2013 Aug;27(5):1525-32.
  • All retinoids tested stimulated release of the anti-inflammatory cytokines granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor and IL-10, and also monocyte chemotactic protein-1, vascular endothelial growth factor and eotaxin-1.

Ncube TN, et al.

"Supplementing lactating women with puréed papaya and grated carrots improved vitamin A status in a placebo-controlled trial."
J Nutr. 2001 May;131(5):1497-502.
  • Consuming grated carrots has a positive effect on total body vitamin A status.
  • "Mean serum retinol increased significantly after supplementation in the beta-carotene group (P < 0.001), the papaya group (P < 0.001) and the carrot group (P < 0.001), but not in the placebo group (P > 0.05)."

Research About Pinenuts

1 oz of pine nuts provides 15% of the daily value for zinc, required for proper immune health.

References:

Haase, H and Rink, L.

"Zinc signals and immune function."
Biofactors. 2014 Jan-Feb; 40 (1); 27-40.
  • Zinc impacts nearly every aspect of our adaptive immune system. Insufficient amounts adversely affect the number and effectiveness of immune cells such as neurtrophils, monocytes, natural killer cells and more. In addition zinc is also responsible for communication between immune cells and is a catalyst for enzymes related to immune health.

Ong, Cl et al.

"An antimicrobial role for zinc in innate immune defense against group a streptococcus."
J Infect Dis. 2014 May; 209 (10).
  • This in-vitro study demonstrated that white blood cells known as neutrophils utilize zinc to defend against group a streptococcus.

National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements.

"Zinc: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals."
  • Zinc is needed for proper function of several different kinds of immune cells such as macrophages, natural killer cells and neutrophils. Even mild zinc deficiency can impair immune health. Inadequate zinc status is linked to increased risk for pneumonia and infections in children in developing nations.

Research About Kale

1 cup chopped kale contains 80.4mg of vitamin C, and 6693 IU of vitamin A.

References:

Hemila, H and Chalker, E.

"Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold."
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Jan 31.
  • This meta-analysis pooled the results of 29 trials involving 11,306 participants. Vitamin C intake over 200mg per day (3.3 times the Daily Value) reduced the duration of colds by 8% in adults and 14% in children. Vitamin C also lessened the severity of colds.

Wojtal, KA et al.

"The effects of vitamin A on cells of innate immunity in vitro."
Toxicol In Vitro. 2013 Aug;27(5):1525-32.
  • All retinoids tested stimulated release of the anti-inflammatory cytokines granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor and IL-10, and also monocyte chemotactic protein-1, vascular endothelial growth factor and eotaxin-1.

Ross, AC.

"Vitamin A and retinoic acid in T cell-related immunity."
Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Nov;96(5):1166S-72S.
  • "Several lines of evidence have converged to show that retinoic acid (RA), a major oxidative metabolite of vitamin A, plays a key role in the differentiation of T cell subsets, the migration of T cells into tissues, and the proper development of T cell-dependent antibody responses."
  • "Data suggests that adequate vitamin A status, whether derived from ingestion of preformed retinol or β-carotene, is important for maintaining a proper balance of well-regulated T cell functions and for preventing excessive or prolonged inflammatory reactions."

Research About Oranges

½ cup orange segments provides 80% of the daily value for vitamin C, which has been shown to shorten the length and severity of a cold.

References:

National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements.

"Vitamin C: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals."
  • Vitamin C may decrease the length and severity of colds possibly due to its antihistamine effects. However, intake of over 200 milligrams/day may help prevent the common cold in people who participate in extreme exercise. Vitamin C is only protective when taken before the onset of cold symptoms.

Research About Cinnamon Roasted Garbanzo Beans:

2 teaspoons of cinnamon contain nearly 3g fiber, and ½ cup of garbanzo beans has 4.8g of fiber and 5.3g protein. Together, they provide morning blood sugar control by slowing stomach emptying.

References:

Davis, PA, Yokoyama, W.

"Cinnamon intake lowers fasting blood glucose: meta-analysis."
J Med Food. 2011 Sep;14(9):884-9.
  • "Cinnamon intake, either as whole cinnamon or as cinnamon extract, results in a statistically significant (-0.49±0.2 mmol/L; n=8, P=.025) lowering in fasting blood glucose."

Hlebowicz, J et al.

"Effect of cinnamon on postprandial blood glucose, gastric emptying, and satiety in healthy subjects."
Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jun;85(6):1552-6.
  • The intake of 6 g cinnamon (about 2 teaspoons) with rice pudding reduces postprandial blood glucose and delays gastric emptying without affecting satiety.
  • Measuring the percentage change in antral cross-sectional area after ingestion of rice pudding, the pudding containing 6g cinnamon delayed the change by 2.5%.

Pittaway, JK, Robertson, IK and Ball, MJ.

"Chickpeas may influence fatty acid and fiber intake in an ad libitum diet, leading to small improvements in serum lipid profile and glycemic control."
J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Jun;108(6):1009-13.
  • Garbanzo beans are rich in dietary fiber.
  • Consuming a diet rich in garbanzo beans reduced fasting insulin by 0.75 microIU/mL (5.21 pmol/L) (P=0.045) compared to diets absent of garbanzo beans.

Research About Dark Chocolate-Covered Espresso Beans

Espresso beans and cocoa both contain caffeine to improve mood and alertness.

References:

Penetar, D et al.

"Caffeine reversal of sleep deprivation effects on alertness and mood."
Psychopharmacology. 1993;112:359-365.
  • Caffeine acts as a stimulant to increase alertness, and previous research has linked caffeine to improved mood.
  • "This study showed that caffeine was able to produce significant alerting and long-lasting beneficial mood effects in individuals deprived of sleep for 48 hours."

Bermudez, B et al.

"Clustering effects on postprandial insulin secretion and sensitivity in response to meals with different fatty acid compositions."
Food Funct. 2014 April 22 (Epub).
  • "Dietary fatty acids play a role in glucose homeostasis."
  • This study analyzed different types of fats – saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated – on postprandial insulin sensitivity. Researchers found that dietary monounsaturated fats (compared to saturated fat) led to better postprandial glycemic control in study subjects.

Research About Oranges:

1 orange contains 116% (69.7mg) of our daily recommended vitamin C.

References:

Levine, M et al.

"Vitamin C pharmacokinetics in healthy volunteers: Evidence for a recommended daily allowance."
Proc Natl Acad Sci 1996;93: 3704-3709.
  • Of the seven vitamin C-deficient study subjects, six presented with mild but distinct fatigue and/or irritability. Symptoms disappeared within several days of the 30- and 60-mg vitamin C daily dosage.
  • "Since fatigue and irritability are common symptoms and were so easily reversible, physicians should ask patients with these symptoms about vitamin C ingestion from foods or supplements."

Nilsson A, Radeborg K, Björch I.

"Effects on cognitive performance of modulating the postprandial blood glucose profile at breakfast."
Eur J Clin Nutr. 2012 Sep;66(9):1039-43.
  • "Considering the importance of glucose as a brain substrate, the postprandial rate of glucose delivery to the blood could be expected to affect cognitive functions."
  • The study used white wheat bear enriched with guar gum. This recipe had the capacity to produce a low but sustained blood glucose release.
  • "The results highlight the importance of carbohydrate foods that induces a low but sustained blood glucose profile in enhancing postprandial cognitive functions."

National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements.

"Vitamin C: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals."
  • "Considering the importance of glucose as a brain substrate, the postprandial rate of glucose delivery to the blood could be expected to affect cognitive functions."
  • The study used white wheat bear enriched with guar gum. This recipe had the capacity to produce a low but sustained blood glucose release.
  • "The results highlight the importance of carbohydrate foods that induces a low but sustained blood glucose profile in enhancing postprandial cognitive functions."

Research About Spinach:

1 cup of raw spinach provides 58mcg folate and 167mg potassium. These work with the naturally high nitrate content to reduce blood pressure and relax blood vessels.

References:

Patel, RP, Hogg, N and Kim-Shapiro, DB.

"The potential role of the red blood cell in nitrite-dependent regulation of blood flow."
Cardiovascular Res (2011) 89 (3): 507-515.
  • "Nitrate is being increasingly recognized as a therapeutic or possibly even physiological precursor of nitric oxide that is utilized when needed to increase blood flow."
  • Authors discuss chemical pathways that support nitrate's role in vasodilation.

Kolluru, GK, Kevil, CG.

"Beets, Bacteria, and Blood Flow."
Circulation (Editorial): 2012 (126): 1939-1940.
  • "Nitric oxide regulates several important vascular responses in chronic tissue ischemia, including angiogenesis, vasodilation, anti-inflammation, and apoptosis, to name a few."
  • "Dietary inorganic nitrate is present in numerous green leafy vegetables...but is especially abundant in beets."

Seto, SW et al.

"Folic acid consumption reduces resistin level and restores blunted acetylcholine-induced aortic relaxation in obese/diabetic mice."
J Nutr Biochem. 2010 Sep;21(9):872-80.
  • Folic acid provides beneficial effects on endothelial function.
  • "Folic acid caused a reduction in PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10) expression, an increase in the phosphorylation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase."

Research About Watermelon

According to the USDA nutrient database, 1 cup diced watermelon contains 12.5 mg of vitamin C that works to reduce the damaging effects of oxidative stress on your body.

References:

National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements.

"Vitamin C: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals."
  • Vitamin C limits the damaging effects of free radicals through its antioxidant activity. This might help prevent or delay the development of diseases where oxidative stress is a factor.

Levine, M et al.

"Vitamin C pharmacokinetics in healthy volunteers: Evidence for a recommended daily allowance."
Proc Natl Acad Sci 1996;93: 3704-3709.
  • Of the seven vitamin C-deficient study subjects, six presented with mild but distinct fatigue and/or irritability. Symptoms disappeared within several days of the 30- and 60-mg vitamin C daily dosage.
  • "Since fatigue and irritability are common symptoms and were so easily reversible, physicians should ask patients with these symptoms about vitamin C ingestion from foods or supplements."

Research About Coconut Rolled Dates

According to the USDA Nutrient Database, 1 ounce of dates contains 2g of fiber and ½ cup of unsweetened coconut contains 3.6g of fiber.

References:

Tucker LA and Thomas KS.

"Increasing total fiber intake reduces risk of weight and fat gains in women."
J Nutr. 2009 Mar;139(3): 575-581.
  • This prospective cohort study of 252 women measured diet using 7-day weighted food records. For each 1 gram increase in dietary fiber, weight decreased by 0.25 kg (approximately ½ pound) and fat decreased by 0.25%. Study authors conclude increased dietary fiber significantly reduces weight gain and body fat in women, most likely by reducing energy intake.

Bolton, RP et al.

"The role of dietary fiber in satiety, glucose, and insulin: studies with fruit and fruit juice."
Am J Clin Nutr. 1981 Feb;34(2): 211-7.
  • Healthy subjects ingested fruit juice or whole fruits, and measured satiety was greater after whole fruit consumption due to the presence of dietary fiber.

Research About Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds

According to the USDA nutrient database, 1 oz of almonds contains 6g of protein and 3.5g of fiber. Both will help you satisfy those cravings without overdoing it.

References:

Mattes RD.

"The energetics of nut consumption."
Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008; 17 Suppl 1: 337-9.
  • According to this review epidemiological studies reveal an inverse association between nut consumption and BMI. Additional studies also reveal weight gain that is less than would be expected when nuts are included in the diet. One reason for this may be due to nuts strong effects on satiety resulting in a dietary compensatory response that offsets roughly 65-75% of the energy they provide.

Brennan, IM et al.

"Effects of fat, protein, and carbohydrate and protein load on appetite, plasma cholescystokinin, peptide YY, and ghrelin, and energy intake in lean and obese men."
Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2012 Jul; 303(1): G129-40.
  • When various meals were fed to study subjects, lean subjects report less hunger and greater fullness following a high fat meal, high protein meal and adequate protein meal compared to those who consumed a high-carbohydrate/low-protein meal.
    Obese subjects reported less hunger following the high protein meal.

Research About Spinach

There are over 18 types of flavonoids found in spinach. These, along with other phytochemicals, help protect the brain.

References:

Joseph, JA et al.

"Reversals of age-related declines in neuronal signal transduction, cognitive, and motor behavioral deficits with blueberry, spinach, or strawberry dietary supplementation."
J Neurosci. 1999 Sep 15;19(18): 8114-21.
  • Rats fed antioxidant blueberry supplements exhibited improvements in several neuronal and behavioral parameters, and researchers note that "phytochemicals present in antioxidant-rich foods may be beneficial in reversing the course of neuronal and behavioral aging."

Pandy, KI and Rizvi, SI.

"Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease."
Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2009 Nov-Dec; 2(5): 270–278.
  • "Epidemiological studies and associated meta-analyses strongly suggest that long term consumption of diets rich in plant polyphenols offer protection against development of cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis and neurodegenerative diseases."
  • "Because polyphenols are highly antioxidative in nature, their consumption may provide protection in neurological diseases."
  • "Polyphenols from fruits and vegetables seem to be invaluable potential agents in neuroprotection by virtue of their ability to influence and modulate several cellular processes such as signaling, proliferation, apoptosis, redox balance and differentiation."

Research About Cucumber

Proper hydration prevents fatigue and promotes mental clarity. Cucumbers are 96% water.

References:

Benton, D.

"Dehydration influences mood and cognition: a plausible hypothesis?"
Nutrients. 2011 May;3(5):555-73.
  • "Four intervention studies have found improved performance in children aged 7 to 9 years. In these studies children, eating and drinking as normal, have been tested on occasions when they have and not have consumed a drink. After a drink both memory and attention have been found to be improved."

Grandjean, AC and Grandjean, NR.

"Dehydration and congnitve performance."
J Am Coll Nutr. 2007 Oct;26(5 Suppl):549S-554S.
  • A decline in physical, visuomotor, psychomotor, and cognitive performance can occur when 2% or more of body weight is lost due to water restriction, heat, and/or physical exertion.

Research About Walnuts

1oz of walnuts contains 2.7g of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat, shown to improve brain health and promote optimal brain function.

References:

Poulose, SM et al.

"Role of walnuts in maintaining brain health with age."
J Nutr 2014 Apr;144(4): 561S-6S.
  • Walnuts are rich in phytochemicals, such as high amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can contribute to brain health.
  • "Polyphenolic compounds found in walnuts not only reduce the oxidant and inflammatory load on brain cells but also improve interneuronal signaling, increase neurogenesis, and enhance sequestration of insoluble toxic protein aggregates."

Brenna, JT and Carlson, SE.

"Docosahexaenoic acid and human brain development: Evidence that a dietary supply is needed for optimal development."
J Hum Evol 2014 April 26 (Epub).
  • "Brain and nervous tissue is rich in the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Docosahexaenoic acid is required for lower and high order functions in humans because of understood and emerging molecular mechanisms. Among brain components that depend on dietary components, DHA is limiting because its synthesis from terrestrial plant food precursors is low but its utilization when consumed in diet is very efficient."
  • "Most current evidence suggests that the DHA-rich human brain required an ample and sustained source of dietary DHA to reach its full potential."

Bourre, JM.

"Dietary omega-3 Fatty acids and psychiatry: mood, behaviour, stress, depression, dementia and aging."
J Nutr Health Aging 2005;9(1): 31-8.
  • "Dietary omega-3 fatty acids play a role in the prevention of some disorders including depression [and] dementia, particularly Alzheimer's disease."
  • Omega-3 deficiency can limit the healthy renewal and turnover of membranes and accelerate cerebral aging.

Research About Dark Chocolate

According to the USDA nutrient database, 1oz dark chocolate contains 23mg caffeine, approximately 40% as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.

References:

Penetar, D et al.

"Caffeine reversal of sleep deprivation effects on alertness and mood."
Psychopharmacology. 1993;112:359-365.
  • Caffeine acts as a stimulant to increase alertness, and previous research has linked caffeine to improved mood.
  • "This study showed that caffeine was able to produce significant alerting and long-lasting beneficial mood effects in individuals deprived of sleep for 48 hours."

Kohler, M et al.

"The effects of chewing versus caffeine on alertness, cognitive performance and cardiac autonomic activity during sleep deprivation."
J Sleep Res. 2006 Dec; 15(4): 358.68.
  • Caffeine supplementation (200mg) "led to improved speed and accuracy on cognitive tasks and increased alertness when compared with chewing."

Lippi, G. et al.

"Dark chocolate: consumption for pleasure or therapy?"
J Thromb Thrombolysis. 2009 Nov;28(4):482-8.
  • "Accumulating evidence from the past 10 years demonstrates that moderate consumption of chocolate, especially dark chocolate, may exert protective effects against the development of cardiovascular disease. Should these results be confirmed in randomized, controlled, cross-over, multi-dose trials, then the pleasure associated with chocolate consumption might also be justified from health and psychological perspectives."