The run-up to your wedding can be the most wonderful time of your life; it can also be the most draining. Between your hectic social schedule, as you celebrate your impending nuptials, and all the necessary planning as well as a newly introduced diet and exercise regimes, you can find yourself pretty worn out in no time. And while the road to wellness can be a long one, take one step at a time, and even the smallest diet changes can have a significant impact. From your overall energy levels to mental well-being, what you put into your body can transform how you feel, and we've rounded up the top 5 smart swaps for a better you!

 

1/ Pop Your Cherry

As we hit peak cheery season, you might not be aware that not only are these tiny fruits super delicious but they are a potent superfood with skin-boosting properties. Cherries contain anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to suppress inflammation and stabilise collagen. One study has shown that eating cherries can help alleviate photoaging and protect from collagen degradation after UVB exposure. As if we needed a reason to eat more, cherries give a small amount of sun protection from the inside out.

 

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2/ Iron Proof

Nearly all women, especially those who are pregnant, are in some way iron deficient. Often overlooked, the symptoms can range from an unusually pale complexion to fatigue, difficulty concentrating, general apathy and an increase in infections. However, You don't have to be a big red meat eater to get your recommended daily dose, and these healthy alternatives have a higher concentration than the finest portion of lean topside (2.5grms iron/100grms).

Roast salted cashews 6.2
Canned sardines in tomato sauce 2.7
Ready to eat dried prunes 2.6
Pumpkin seeds 10
Cooked muscles 3.3

 

3/ Gut Instinct

If your stress levels are sky high and you're finding it hard to catch some quality Z's then think about increasing your intake of prebiotics. Not to be confused with a probiotic, a prebiotic is a type of non-digestible fibre compound found in many foods such as banana, raw wheat bran, leeks, onions and artichokes. Making their way through the stomach without being broken down by either gastric acids or digestive enzymes; they bring about positive changes in the digestive tract and organs. Essentially, prebiotic compounds become nutrient sources, or “fuel,” for the beneficial bacteria that live within your gut, the probiotics. Studies have shown that with the increase of prebiotics in the diet comes an increase in healthy gut bacteria and a more significant time spent in the restorative phase of sleep, that is the period that most helps with recovery from stress.

 

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4/ Low Carb

Cauliflower, while not the most thought-appealing of veg, this humble cruciferous is worth its weight in gold. From the same family as its greener counterparts kale, broccoli and cabbage, it has many of the same benefits including Vitamin B folic acid, Vitamin C and plenty of anti-cancer isothiocyanates. Also, whip this veg up in a food processor, and you have a filling low-carb, vitamin-packed, rice alternative.

 

5/ Sugar Proof

My one downfall in life is my insatiable sugar craving. All healthy eating plans lie by the wayside as soon as I get a craving for a sweet treat. I live and die by the phrase, 'treat yo self!'. If you find yourself having an afternoon slump, or can't finish your main meal without a little something extra, try swapping out your favourite sugar-laden snack with dates pitted and stuffed with nut butter. Sweet and satisfying, the balance of sugars and protein will give you that much-needed pick-me-up but will not spike your blood sugars as a biscuit or piece of chocolate might. To help stave off cravings long-term, make sure to eat regular meals and include a protein such as tofu, eggs, tuna or chicken along with fibre and you will reap the benefits of stable blood sugars.

-- Danielle Farrell

This article first appeared in the Spring 2019 Issue of Social & Personal Weddings

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