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Give these helpful, healing foods a try

By Mary Krueger, Douglas County senior coordinator

Bananas: Next time you feel stressed, reach for a banana. It will fill you up, provide a mild blood sugar boost and has 30 percent of the day’s Vitamin B6, which helps the brain produce Serotonin, getting you through a crisis peacefully.

Raisins: About a handful contains one gram of fiber and 212 mg of potassium. Both are recommended by the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. Grape-derived foods such as raisins, wine and juice are effective in maintaining cardiovascular health, including bringing down blood pressure.

Yogurt: 1 1/2 cups of live culture yogurt pushes food more efficiently through the gastrointestinal tract and will help with constipation or gas.

Tuna: A three-ounce serving has about 800 mg of omega-3s, which research shows may treat the kind of blues that leave you feeling in a bad mood.

Cherries: One of the old time therapies for gout has been black cherries. If you suffer from arthritis you should try to incorporate this antioxidant-rich fruit into your diet a couple of times a week. Whole grains including oats, whole wheat, brown rice and bran: Eating three daily servings of whole grains can reduce heart disease by 25-36 percent, stroke by 37 percent and type 2 diabetes by 21-27 percent.

Blueberries: One serving of wild blueberries is equivalent to two to three servings of some other fruits and vegetables. Blueberries may help lessen brain damage from strokes and may reduce the side effects of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. The antioxidants in blueberries protect cells from damage and may restore cells to be healthier.

Apricots: They help minerals from accumulating in the urine and forming calcium oxalate stones, the most common type of kidney stones.

Pears: They help flush out bad cholesterol, a risk factor in heart disease.

Turkey: A three-ounce serving of turkey has tryptophan (an amino acid that helps the body produce serotonin and melatonin, the hormones that regulate sleep). People who suffer from insomnia are deficient in tryptophan.

Orange juice: The fructose in a four-ounce glass is a perfect pick-me-up. This will help you feel energized. Potatoes: The 37 grams of carbs in a medium potato can ease a tension headache by upping serotonin levels as long as you keep the fat and protein below two grams.

Chamomile tea: It helps ease digestive inflammation, spasms and gas. Two teaspoons of the herb in 10 ounces of very hot water will help with heartburn. You may have to drink the tea a few times for complete relief.

Basil: It can keep your gut safe from pain, nausea, cramping or diarrhea by killing dangerous bacteria. Use minced, fresh basil in sauces or salads.

Buckwheat honey: Two teaspoons of thick, dark brown honey were more effective than over-the-counter cough medicines at limiting the severity and frequency of a cough. Honey’s antioxidants and antimicrobial properties may soothe inflamed throat tissues.