'Inflammatory Diet' May Boost Colorectal Cancer Risk

Credit: FotoYakov/Shutterstock

An “inflammatory diet” may increase a person’s risk of colorectal cancer, a new study suggests.

The researchers found that men and women who had a diet high in foods thought to increase levels of inflammation in the body were more likely to develop colorectal cancer during the study period, compared with men and women who had a different type of diet.

Specifically, men who followed an inflammatory diet were 44 percent more likely to develop colorectal cancer, and women who followed an inflammatory diet were 22 percent more likely to develop colorectal cancer, over about two decades, compared with those who had a different type of diet.

The findings suggest that “strategies to reduce the adverse role of a pro-inflammatory diet may reduce colorectal cancer risk,” the researchers wrote in the study, published today (Jan. 18) in the journal JAMA Oncology.

Previous studies have suggested that inflammation in the body plays a role in colorectal cancer development. For example, several studies have shown that people who regularly take anti-inflammatory medications, such as aspirin, have a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer, compared with people who don’t regularly take these medications.

In addition, the foods people eat can influence levels of inflammation in their bodies, as measured by markers of inflammation in the blood, the researchers said. So it’s possible that eating foods linked with higher levels of inflammation in the body could raise colorectal cancer risk. [11 Ways Processed Food Is Different from Real Food]

To examine this link, the researchers analyzed information — gathered from the long-running Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and the Nurses’ Health Study — on more than 121,000 men and women who were followed for about 25 years. At the start of the study, women were 30 to 55 years old, and men were 40 to 75 years old. During the study period, about 2,700 participants developed colorectal cancer.

Every four years, participants answered questions about their current diets. The researchers used this information to calculate an “inflammatory score” for participants’ diet. Lower scores indicate anti-inflammatory diets, or diets that contain foods linked with low levels of inflammation in the body; and higher scores indicate pro-inflammatory diets, or diets that contain foods linked with high levels of inflammation in the body.

Examples of pro-inflammatory foods include processed meats, refined grains and high-calorie beverages such as soda, according to the study. Examples of anti-inflammatory foods are tea, coffee, dark-yellow vegetables (such as carrots, yellow squash and sweet potatoes) and green leafy vegetables, the researchers said. (Interestingly, pizza was also determined to be an anti-inflammatory food, possibly because tomato paste contains high levels of a compound called lycopene, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, according to a previous paper by the same group of researchers.)

Participants were then divided into five groups based on the inflammatory scores for their diets. Among men, the rate of colorectal cancer was 113 cases per 100,000 people per year in the group with the lowest score, compared with 151 cases per 100,000 people per year in the group with the highest score. Among women, the rate of colorectal cancer was 80 cases per 100,000 per year in the group with the lowest score, compared with 92 cases per 100,000 people per year in the group with the highest score.

Overall, among both men and women, those with the highest inflammatory scores were 32 percent more likely to develop colorectal cancer over the study period, compared with those who had the lowest inflammatory scores.

The findings held even after the researchers took into account factors that could affect the risk of colorectal cancer, including age, a family history of cancer, alcohol intake, physical activity, smoking and regular aspirin use.

Still, the researchers noted that there may be other factors that influence colorectal cancer risk that the study was not able to take into account, such as a person’s levels of the hormone insulin. What’s more, the study did not prove cause and effect; instead, it found an association between an inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer risk.

This isn’t the first study to link an inflammatory diet to cancer. Last year, a separate group of researchers found that women who had an inflammatory diet as teenagers were at greater risk of breast cancer as adults, compared with women who had anti-inflammatory diets as teenagers.

Source: https://www.livescience.com/61458-inflammatory-diet-colorectal-cancer.html

A 34-year-old man in England ruptured his throat when he tried to stop a sneeze. This X-ray shows streaks of air at the back of the throat (black arrow), and air bubbles under the skin in the neck region (white arrow).

Credit: Wanding Yang, Raguwinder S Sahota, Sudip Das/CC BY-NC 4.0 

Before you try to stifle your sniffle to avoid a loud, snotty sneeze, heed some advice from a 34-year-old man in England who ruptured his throat while trying that trick: Don’t do it.

The man ended up hospitalized and barely able to speak or swallow after he tried to stop a sneeze by holding his nose and shutting his mouth, according to a new report of his case.

Performing the maneuver caused a “popping” sensation in his neck, so the man went to the emergency room, the report said. He was in considerable pain, and his neck was swollen.

When doctors examined him, they noted a crackling sound when they pressed down on the skin on both sides of his neck, and this sound extended down to his rib cage. This symptom, known as crepitus, can happen when air bubbles get into the tissue layer under the skin. [Ah-CHOO! 7 Tickling Facts About Sneezing]

Indeed, when doctors performed a CT scan, they saw air bubbles trapped beneath the man’s skin, mostly in the neck region, the report said. The scan also showed air bubbles in the chest compartment between the lungs — a condition known as pneumomediastinum.

The doctors determined that the man’s stifled sneeze had torn a hole in the bottom part of his pharynx, or throat, where it connects to the esophagus.

The man was admitted to the hospital, where he was treated with antibiotics because of the risk of infection from the tear, and he was fed through a tube.

Over the next seven days, the man’s symptoms gradually improved, and he was able to eat soft foods.  He was soon discharged from the hospital, and two months later, he had no health problems from the incident.

A tear in the pharynx most often occurs when people experience some kind of blunt trauma to the neck, according to the report. But in rare cases, it can happen in people when they vomit, strain or cough heavily. And in this case, it was due to a forceful sneeze.

“Halting sneeze via blocking nostrils and mouth is a dangerous maneuver and should be avoided,” the authors concluded.

The report was published today (Jan. 15) in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

Source: https://www.livescience.com/61424-sneeze-throat-rupture.html

Photo: Jovo Jovanovic

Feet are easy to ignore or outsource to the nail salon—they are far away from the rest of our body, oddly shaped, and subsequently too easy to skip or forget. But the truth is that we owe our feet big time. They carry us wherever we go, provide a solid platform on which to stand, and are constantly grounding us to Mother Earth. They absorb every step, sprint, and stomp and always propel us forward. It’s time to give back to one of the hardest working body parts we have. Here are some ideas on how to treat your feet, especially in cold or dry climates:

1. Indulge in a foot bath.

Use a lobster pot if you have one, your bathtub, or purchase a foot bath if doing either of the aforementioned suggestions seems too labor-intensive. Pick up Epsom salts and dress them with a few drops of your favorite essential oils, either by scent or desired effect. The magnesium from the salt soothes sore muscles and helps them relax, while the essential oils elevate the experience and make it feel special.

2. Try a pumice stone or foot scrub in the shower daily.

While it’s tempting to “baby foot” it and slough off all your calluses at once, chances are they’ll come back with a vengeance. Instead, make a daily ritual out of smoothing out your natural calluses and dry skin with a pumice stone or scrub. Doing this for a few minutes every day will make a huge different in the texture and appearance of your feet.

3. Don’t moisturize your feet dry.

This is probably the biggest mistake people make: putting a cream, lotion, or oil on feet when they aren’t ready to receive it. We know that face oil devotees always use a toner or apply oil to damp skin. The same principle is true for foot care, too: Apply your moisturizing treatments on feet that are slightly damp from the shower (preferably a scrub, too). This way, the skin barrier is hydrated before it’s sealed from the environment.

4. Do a foot mask.

Choose a hydrating mask for your feet and leave it on overnight, underneath thick socks. You can’t go wrong with classic Aquaphor healing ointment, which always seems to work wonders. Generously apply the emollient cream to your feet after a warm shower or bath while your feet are still damp, and cover with a sock you don’t mind getting dirty. Other options include Waxelene and Restore.

5. Use oil on your toe cuticles.

Finally, don’t forget about those toenails, especially if you’re active. Keep them trimmed to avoid bruising, and moisturize your toe cuticles. While this suggestion may seem silly, think about your toenails. Unless you get regular pedicures, they may be the most neglected part of your body. Keeping them oiled—coconut oil works well for this because it’s antibacterial and antimicrobial—and hydrated will help strengthen them, preventing snags, breaks, and hangnails.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/winter-feet-care-how-to-care-for-feet-in-the-winter?utm_term=pos-1&utm_source=mbg&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=180116

Photo: Nataša Mandić

Last Thursday, mindbodygreen hosted our second Supper Series in partnership with Sephora, and the theme of the night was hydration. Between two panels we talked about all things water, and the conversation didn’t disappoint—from how to improve the quality of the Earth’s oceans to the best filters for drinking water to how to care for our skin. Following the conversation for the evening was supper, which was a gorgeous three-course meal, plus passed apps of water-dense, high-fat, hydrating foods known for their complexion-changing properties.

We can’t blame you for wanting a sneak peek into the menu! These healing ingredients were instrumental in the menu—not only were they delicious, but many of them are gut-healing, anti-inflammatory, and therefore beneficial for the skin. Next time you’re feeling like your skin needs a boost, reach for one of these:

1. Collagen.

The night was bookended with collagen. To start, bone broth was one of the passed apps at the “happy hour” reception. There was one chicken, one beef, and one “glow,” which was a combination of veggies and chicken all courtesy of Bonafide provisions. To end the evening, almond milk collagen hot chocolate was served with gelatin marshmallows—which are chock-full of collagen.

Taking a collagen supplement has been shown to brighten the skin, and in fact, experts say that oral consumption and supplementation of collagen is the most effective way to use it on skin. Products that help boost collagen and contain it are helpful, too, but it’s best to work from the inside out.

2. Cilantro.

Cilantro was served in the vegan spicy pea guacamole in passed hors d’oeuvres and was included in several other dishes throughout the evening. Anecdotally, cilantro has skin-healing and hormone-balancing powers and is an essential ingredient in mbg food editor Liz Moody’s smoothie for bad-skin daysResearch shows that cilantro has helped reduce the aging effects of sun damage in mice in addition to boosting—you guessed it—collagen.

3. Cucumber.

A cucumber is more than 95 percent water, so if you have a hard time remembering to drink water throughout the day, try noshing on some cucumber. As soon as guests arrived, they nibbled on vegan cantaloupe and cucumber skewer (vegan) that were dusted with Korean chili flakes and nondairy yogurt drizzle. Cucumber-and-mint-infused water was one of the three infused-water variations at our hydration station, and it’s quite a refreshing combination.

4. Basil.

At the dinner, we served endive spears with vegan avocado mousse, julienne radish, fresh grapefruit, and micro basil—which has been shown to have acne-fighting properties. Fun fact: Kristin Cavallari, who has notoriously beautiful skin, swears by the healing powers of basil in her cooking too.

5. Avocado.

Natural-beauty expert and herbalist Jessa Blades spoke on a panel about self-care and hydration. When co-founder and chief brand officer Colleen Wachob asked her what we could do to hydrate other than drink water, she said we should all eat more good fats! According to mbg’s experts, avocado oil is quite healing for dry skin, and it may have more youth-boosting properties than olive oil—and research supports their positioning.

6. Matcha.

Matcha is a staple in the wellness world—and experts say that it’s an antioxidant powerhouse, which translates to excellent skin care benefits. Health coaches swear by matcha and recommend adding it to your smoothies if you’re not a fan of the grassy taste.

7. Apple cider vinegar.

The healing properties of apple cider vinegar are well-known—it’s acne-clearingsupports gut health when diluted, and is famous for being a multipurpose cure-all. mbg’s associate health editor Gretchen Lidicker did a thorough analysis of the research behind the spectrum of claims of apple cider vinegar and found that it can be helpful in blood sugar regulation, which ultimately benefits the skin too. Each guest at the Supper Series received a small apple cider vinegar shooter to dilute and use as a palate cleanser.

8. Squash.

Squash is high in beta-carotene, which gives the winter root veggie its yellow to orange huge. Butternut squash in particular contains potassium, an important electrolyte that may help reduce inflammatory responses. At the Supper Series event, roasted winter squash was served in the first course, which was mushroom bisque, and was also the main event of our vegan entrée: a stuffed winter squash with wild rice, hazelnuts, and cherries.

9. Wild-caught salmon.

Following Blades’ advice once again, wild-caught and sustainably sourced cold-water fish are an excellent source of healthy polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, and nutritionists routinely recommend increasing fatty-acid intake to help improve and protectthe skin.

10. Manuka honey.

It’s no secret that the mbg fam loves a Manuka honey mask (here are four DIY Manuka-based recipes if you’re feeling inspired), but ingesting it has major benefits for the skin as well. It has a lower glycemic index than other sweeteners, which helps regulate hormones and subsequently can be beneficial for the skin, and has anti-inflammatory properties as well. The hemp-crusted wild-caught salmon with a Manuka honey glaze entrée option was a healthy, hydrating powerhouse!

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/best-foods-to-eat-for-hydrating-skin?utm_term=pos-3&utm_source=mbg&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=180115

Writing a To-Do List Before Bed Could Help You Sleep
Credit: Shutterstock

A new bedtime to-do list, courtesy of sleep researchers at Baylor University:

1. Write a to-do list before bed.

2. Go to sleep.

3. Sleep better than all the non-list-writing people you meet tomorrow

It sounds simple, but there’s evidence that it just might work. According to a small study published in the January issue of Journal of Experimental Psychologyparticipants who took 5 minutes to write out a to-do list before bed fell asleep more quickly than participants who wrote about tasks they had already completed. The key, according to researchers, is in mentally “offloading” responsibilities before bedtime, theoretically freeing the mind for sound sleeping.

“We live in a 24/7 culture in which our to-do lists seem to be constantly growing and causing us to worry about unfinished tasks at bedtime,” lead author Michael Scullin, director of Baylor’s Sleep Neuroscience and Cognition Laboratory, said in a statement. “Most people just cycle through their to-do lists in their heads, and so we wanted to explore whether the act of writing them down could counteract nighttime difficulties with falling asleep.”

To test this hypothesis, researchers invited 57 men and women between ages 18 and 30 to spend one weeknight in a controlled sleep lab. The rules were simple: lights out at 10:30 p.m., and no technology, homework or other distractions allowed.

Five minutes before bedtime, each participant was instructed to complete a short writing exercise. Half of the participants wrote about anything they needed to remember to do in the upcoming days, while the other half wrote about tasks they had completed during the previous days. When the exercise was done, participants tucked in for bed. Researchers measured each participant’s brain activity overnight using a technique called polysomnography, which records eye movement, muscle activity and other biological changes.

The researchers found that the participants who wrote to-do lists fell asleep an average of 9 minutes faster than those who wrote about already-accomplished tasks.

In fact, “the more specifically participants wrote their to-do list, the faster they subsequently fell asleep,” the study authors wrote. “The opposite trend was observed when participants wrote about completed activities.”

While 9 minutes may not seem like a lot of extra shut-eye, it’s comparable to the improvement seen in clinical trials for some sleep medications, Scullin told Time magazine. A 2006 study similarly found that napping for just 10 minutes sufficiently improved participants’ cognitive function and energy.

The authors acknowledged that the new study could be improved by a larger sample size and more data taking each participant’s personality and propensity for anxiety into account. Still, the paper’s findings are consistent with other published research on the therapeutic power of keeping a journal. Previous studies have observed that expressive writing — writing about emotions and stress for 20 minutes a day — was linked to boosted immune function in patients with illnesses such as asthma, arthritis and HIV/AIDS. Other studies have drawn a line between journaling in times of stress or emotional hardship and stress relief.

So, give writing before bed a try — and hope it’s boring enough to put you to sleep.


Photo: @hellolaurenash

You know that feeling when you meet a person so self-assured, their confidence radiates without having to be exerted? Often, that’s a person who prioritizes themselves, whether they recognize it or not. They’re magnetic, engaging, and well-respected because they respect themselves. If only we could bottle up and sell that kind of confidence! For most, getting there takes time and a conscious effort to be kind to oneself, to have patience with oneself, and ultimately to accept and love oneself.

Self-care is a funny concept these days. Sometimes choosing the most nourishing option looks different depending on what you need in that moment, even in similar scenarios. For example, sometimes a night out with friends is good food for the soul. Other times, choosing to skip it in favor of a quieter evening is more restorative. The trick for Nourishing New Year isn’t to always choose what’s easy, but it’s to identify what your body and your soul needs, and deliver.

These women have mastered the art of self-care. They’re confident, self-assured, and while none claim perfection, their advice is, dare we say, bone broth for the soul:

1. Lauren Ash

Photo: @hellolaurenash

“My advice for women striving to feel more confident and beautiful: First, remember that confidence is a practice and is nonlinear. Your level of confidence may rise and fall from one day to the next depending on the circumstances life presents you with. So, identify practices that help boost your confidence and cultivate them as often as possible. For me, listening to soul-lifting music sung by powerful women, getting my yoga and meditation in first thing in the morning, and overdelivering in my work and relationships helps me so much. Second, remember that beauty comes from within. Nourish your body and soul as much as possible through daily self-care rituals. My inner beauty radiates outward through all of my self-care practices but most notably drinking lots of water, breathwork, mindfulness, and sleep.”

Lauren Ash, founder of Black Girl in Om

2. Bethany C. Meyers

Photo: @bethanycmeyers

“When I was in the jungle, I made a commitment not look at myself in a mirror or my phone for the seven days I was there. The environment made it easy, given the jungle doesn’t come equipped with normal necessities such as flushing toilets, hot showers, or vanities.

At first I was daunted by the idea, but what I learned was incredibly valuable. Each day I didn’t have a mirror to inspect myself was another day I spent relying on my inner self to determine what I looked like and, more importantly, what I felt like. My habit of picking at my pores in the evening quickly disappeared and I became less concerned with my eyebrows being in the right place and more concerned with my heart being in the right place.

So while it may not be attainable to ditch mirrors for a full week, what would happen if we cut our time spent analyzing our features even a small bit? Could you cut a few mirror minutes out of your routine? Could you toss your handheld mirror from your bag? Could you cover your bathroom mirror for a day or make a pact to not stay longer than a few minutes in front of one? Could we trust in how we feelthat day before trusting in how we look? You may be surprised at the power of not knowing.”

Bethany C. Meyers, founder of be.come

3. Norma Kamali

Photo: Michael Waring

“Confidence and beauty are developed by enhancing your authentic self through good health, a diet with a strong plant base, fitness, sleep, and dreaming big dreams!”

Norma Kamali, fashion designer, entrepreneur, and activist

4. Tara Stiles


“For me, a soulful practice using my whole self is essential to come back to that place of who we really are, remembering we are naturally confident. Daily meditation and easygoing Strala yoga. I love the practice of tuning into my breath, noticing when my attention wanders, and deciding to bring it back to the breath. Every time I decide to bring my attention back, I have another opportunity to exist in that well of natural confidence and ease, where all the answers seem to be whenever I take the time to tune in.”

Tara Stiles, founder of Strala Yoga

5. Amanda Chantal Bacon

Photo: Moon Juice

“If your heart feels completely convicted and unstoppable, then you will be! Take care of your physical body, de-stress yourself daily with meditation, and don’t stop—just don’t ever stop swimming toward your vision. When fatigue or doubt arises, motive yourself with gratitude for being given the inspiration in the first place. I meditate daily, I make adaptogenic tonics multiple times a day with moon dusts, and I really like kissing, hugging, and loving.”

Amanda Chantal Bacon, chef and entrepreneur, founder of Moon Juice

6. Candice Kumai

Photo: Candice Kumai

“I’ve found confidence comes with time, through experience, and by adapting to both the good and bad in life.

I’ve found the most beautiful women are the ones who shatter the ceiling, not by way of comfort or living an easy life but because they overcome adversity…the most beautiful women are graceful, even when things don’t go their way. The most beautiful women give to others their character and their most honest self, when they have nothing else to give. The most beautiful women listen to others; they have no expectations.

Stay the course; do not dim your light for anyone; they are of service to others. In serving others honorably, you will shine. And when you shine, everyone becomes more and more attracted to you. The sweeter the honey, the more bees.”

Candice Kumaichef and best-selling author of the upcoming bookKintsugi Wellness

7. Rose Marie Swift


“Going into the depth of your gut (soul) even if it hurts and going after what you truly want.”

Rose Marie Swift, founder of RMS Beauty

8. Taryn Toomey

Photo: @taryntoomey

“Invest time to get yourself ready in the morning. Not from an appearance standpoint but as a form of self-care. Rub beautiful-smelling oils and creams on your skin. Curl your eyelashes so people can see your eyes sparkle. Look in the mirror and say kind things to yourself. Brush your hair. File your nails. Pick out your clothes. Wear things that make you feel beautiful. Accessorize. Adorn yourself with things that feel good for your spirit—maybe the quartz crystal that’s been sitting in your jewelry box. No need to wait for a special occasion. Take time to make yourself FEEL your best.”

Taryn Toomey, founder of The Class by Taryn Toomey

9. Elena Brower

Photo: Pete Longworth

Prioritize yourself,

feel the impact of your own attention.

Trust your mistakes,

they’re the ones God needed to mention to you.

Welcome your past,

find the meaning in the teachings.

Investigate your leadership

(you’re a woman; you’re always leading).

Remember yourself.

You are the one who’s never leaving.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/how-to-grow-real-confidence-from-the-most-progressive-women-we-know?utm_term=pos-1&utm_source=mbg&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=180113

Photo: May Zhu


Part of a healthy lifestyle is learning to eat well while embracing change and adapting to the situations out of your control. Our ideal day of eating will always look different from day to day (and from person to person!) and that’s OK—it’s good to switch up what we eat so we can get the benefits from a variety of foods. However, sometimes a little help is needed to make sure you don’t get stuck eating super-unhealthy food. Here are my top seven ingredients to always stock in your fridge or pantry so you’re set up for healthy eating success no matter what happens:

1. Canned salmon.

Photo: May Zhu

Keeping a few cans of canned salmon (ideally, wild-caught) in your pantry is a budget-friendly and convenient way to make a meal in less than 15 minutes. It’s a great source of protein and contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids that help with maintaining both skin and brain health. Use it to make salmon burgers, taco or sandwich fillings, or stir into soups for quick meals.

Perfect for: Easy, no-fuss dinners. Ever have those days after you get home after a long day and need dinner in 10 minutes? Try mixing a can of salmon with ½ avocado, 1 tablespoon of plain strained yogurt, black pepper, and lime juice to taste over mixed greens or roasted vegetables for a quick and easy salad.

2. Frozen cauliflower rice.

Photo: May Zhu

Frozen vegetables can be stored up to 10 months in the freezer, so if you keep some stocked, you’ll always have a vegetable base ready to heat and eat. A 1-cup serving contains almost 100 percent of your daily vitamin C requirements, which helps keep your immunity strong and makes your skin glow. Craving a cauliflower pizza crust for dinner or a veggie-dense smoothie for breakfast? The cauliflower rice can be used for both!

Perfect for: An extra energy boost when you’ve been skimping on sleep and need a little TLC for the dark circles under your eyes; vitamin C helps iron absorb better, so pairing cauliflower rice with an iron-rich food such as grass-fed beef, lentils, eggs, pumpkin seeds or spinach will help give you an extra energy boost!

3. Eggs.

Photo: May Zhu

Eggs are a relatively affordable and quality protein that contain vitamins D and B12, necessary for energy production. There are a few handfuls of egg options available at the grocery stores, so it can be confusing to choose which one is best, but here’s a great blog post that breaks down egg labeling and how it indicates the quality.

Perfect for: After a night out and you’re feeling a little hung over; eggs contain high levels of cysteine that helps break down acetaldehyde (the source of hangovers!).

4. siggi’s 4% yogurt.

Photo: May Zhu

Plain yogurt is like the blank canvas of snacks—dress it up sweet or savory to suit your craving! The combination of healthy fats and proteins will keep you satisfied, making it a great snack option to always keep around.

Perfect for: Afternoon snack cravings (both sweet or savory!). For a savory option, try adding to plain yogurt a combination of avocado, basil, tomatoes, cucumbers, and black pepper to taste. For a sweet option, the siggi’s 4% Vanilla is a great choice. It doesn’t have much sugar but tastes indulgent!

5. Avocados.

Photo: May Zhu

Not only are avocados highly versatile and nutrient-dense (they have a higher potassium level than bananas!), but they’re also very portable and snack-friendly. It’s a great option in terms of a low-sugar fruit that helps with maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.

Perfect for: A quick grab-and-go breakfast to toss in your bag if you’re pressed for time (or for when you oversleep—it happens!); pair ½ an avocado with 2 hard-boiled eggs for a satiating combination of healthy fats and protein!

6. Frozen greens or pre-roasted vegetables.

Photo: May Zhu

By having either frozen greens or some pre-roasted vegetables around, you’ll always have a base or side dish for any meal. Even if you’re not typically a meal prepper, having one item, like roasted butternut squash, can help you assemble quick meals throughout the week. Frozen greens and vegetables have the same amount of nutrients as fresh, but you won’t risk not getting to them on time before they go to waste.

Perfect for: Assembling not-so-sad desk lunches for work (which will help you save some extra cash for your face masks on self-care Sundays!). Try to pick two to three different vegetables to roast for the week and pair with a protein source like wild-caught fish, pasture-raised poultry, or lentils/quinoa to complete the meal. Complete the dish with a healthy sauce—see No. 7!

7. Healthy sauces and condiments.

Photo: May Zhu

Things like tahini, pesto, mustard, and salsa are your BFFs for turning simple staples into extraordinary meals. Tahini and pesto add nourishing healthy fats while mustards and salsas increase the flavors naturally with spices. Turmeric is a common ingredient in mustards and has anti-inflammatory properties and helps with immunity. You can use them to make homemade dressings, sauces, marinades, and spreads. Tip: Look for condiments that are made mostly from real, whole foods, with no added ingredients that you can’t pronounce.

Perfect for: When you have limited groceries and need to whip up something amazing on the fly—get creative with healthy sauces and condiments! A spoonful of tahini can be added plain to roasted vegetables (as a side dish paired with your favorite protein of choice) as a quick meal, or as an ingredient for a dip paired with raw veggies or crackers. Try blending ½ cup tahini with 2 tablespoons lemon juice, ½ cup chopped cilantro, ½ cup chopped parsley, and ½ teaspoon of cumin for a healthy dip.

Instead of striving for perfection, make it a point to stock up on a few essentials so that you’ll be better prepared to roll with the punches this year.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/7-versatile-ingredients-for-a-quick-and-healthy-dinner