February pulls at our heartstrings... Not only does Cupid strike on the Fourteenth, it's also Heart Health month! That's why we are sharing a few foods that will put you in the mood and keep your ticker healthy (a win-win!). Chef Mareya Ibrahim, the Fit Foodie and author of Eat Cleaner is divulging a few delicious bits and bites that will help optimize your energy and keep you feeling fabulous.

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Need a STAMINA Supercharge?

1) FREEKH 

Because freekeh is the end result of working with immature grain, it keeps the high nutritional content wheat plants have in their early stages. Freekeh contains more protein, fiber and minerals than mature wheat, and ranks low on the glycemic index.

What’s more, freekeh contains both fiber and resistant starch–two key ingredients in any weight loss diet. When compared to other grains, freekeh’s fiber content is unquestionably superior; compared to brown rice, freekeh contains 3 times the fiber, and two times the fiber compared to quinoa.

2) KALE SPROUTS

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If you’re down with eating Kale, try eating it in sprout form instead. If you are not familiar with the concept of sprouting, here is a brief overview: sprouting refers to a dietary choice to consume vegetables while they are still in their sprout form—that is, to eat kale as a sprout instead of in the leafy, cabbage-like form we are more familiar with. The benefit to sprouting is that, when these vegetables are in their sprout form, they tend to be even richer in nutrients.

Want a MOOD Boost?

3) LABNEH

A staple in Middle Eastern countries from Syria and Lebanon to Jordan and Israel, this strained yogurt is a thicker, more spreadable version of its Greek cousin. Its crème fraîche-like texture and tangy taste that’s somewhere between sour cream and cream cheeseare almost too good to be true, and yet labneh is bona fide yogurt and has all of its health benefits (low in fat and carbs, full of protein and calcium).

4) GRAPE SEED OIL

People who ate a Mediterranean-style diet rich in grape seed oil, nuts, whole grains, fish, legumes, and vegetables were 30 percent less likely to suffer from depression, compared to those who had the lowest Mediterranean diet scores, according to a study the Archives of General Psychiatry. The mix of nutrients in this happy diet can keep your spirits up, scientists say.

Want to give your whole body a boost? Here are a few reasons to consider hopping onboard the celery-juice bandwagon.

This is not a sponsored post. Tips courtesy of Chef Mareya Ibrahim, the Fit Foodie and author of Eat Cleaner.

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