Have you been in a slump lately? Thinking about indulging in some of your favorite comfort food? There is a lot of controversy over this subject… can the foods that you eat really affect your mood? Comfort eating happens for a reason, right? Although comfort eating may just be a physiological coping mechanism at times, there may be some scientific evidence to back these claims. Here’s a list of 11 foods that have been proven to boost your mood…
You read that correctly, CHOCOLATE! Before you run for the candy bars, let me specify… dark chocolate. One study reported in the Journal of Psychopharmacology discovered that individuals who consumed a small amount of dark chocolate felt more calm than those who did not.
It was revealed that the consumption of dark chocolate promotes your body’s production of serotonin. This chemical is responsible for regulating anxiety, happiness, and, you guessed it, mood! Now, don’t go running to the store to get a value sized bag of dark chocolate and get chocolate wasted in attempts to kick-start serotonin production. You only need a small amount (about 1.5 ounces) to reap the all these these benefits!
Try this recipe: Banana, Coffee, Cashew, and Cocoa Smoothie
It turns out this popular breakfast food can also help boost your mood. Many of you have probably been eating oatmeal at breakfast for years without realizing the impact that it has on the rest of your day.
It turns out that diets that are rich in carbs and whole grains also stimulate serotonin production! The Archives of Internal Medicine posted a study that compared individuals on a low (only 20-40 grams, equivalent to a cup of oatmeal, per day) vs high carb diet. This study found that the individuals on a low carb diet experienced more depression, anxiety, and anger than those on a a high carb diet.
You’re just no you when you’re low-carbing… Avoid being depressed, anxious, or anxiety and keep eating those oats in the morning!
Try this recipe: Peanut Butter Overnight Oats
This delicious snack is sure to put a smile on your face! Packed with protein and gut pleasing probiotics, this versatile option is likely to enhance your mood for a couple reasons. Eating protein has been shown to raise your body’s production of two key hormones: dopamine and norepinepehrine. These hormones are responsible for controlling and regulating your mood.
What about probiotics? Probiotics help promote gut health, in turn promoting regular digestion. Studies reveal there is a strong link between your body’s digestive system and your brain. Better digestion, better brain signaling, happier you!
These two reasons make Greek yogurt a must have. The awesome thing about Greek yogurt is that it is versatile and can be used in a million different ways – sweets, dips, soups… you name it!
Try this recipe: Greek Yogurt Pancakes
It turns out that asparagus can do more for you than just complement your freshly baked salmon, it can turn that frown upside down! Asparagus contains two key mood promoting ingredients, tryptophan and folate. Tryptophan is the amino acid that is responsible for the creation of that powerful chemical that talked about earlier, serotonin. Folate, on the other hand, is a one of the b-vitamins. Folate has been shown to lower symptoms of depression.
With a twofold punch of mood lifting benefits, asparagus shouldn’t be avoided. Be sure to toss some in your cart next time you’re at the store!
Try this recipe: Grilled Asparagus
Heading in the complete opposite direction, grapes fall next on the list! Not only do they make for a quick and convenient snack, they can also set you up for a great day too!
Grapes, like many other fruits, are loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants are well known for their role in ridding your body of free radicals, which cause damage to your cells. In turn, cell damage may overpower your immune system and cause sickness and/or disease. Study’s reveal that these antioxidants can also improve your mood, making grapes even more beneficial!
If you feel sickness coming on and get bummed out, go pick out some grapes and let the antioxidants handle the rest. You will be back to yourself again in no time!
Try this recipe: Chicken Salad
You may be wondering how this slimy, scaly creature made the list. It turns out that fish contain a special omega-3 fatty acid that is loaded with health benefits!
Eicosapentaenoic Acid, we will say EPA for short, is the special omega-3 found in fish. It is well known for its ability to combat against the symptoms of depression. Psychology Today posted an article revealing that a daily dose of EPA is able to reduce symptoms of depression by up to 50%. Prior to implementing a daily dose of EPA, all participants in this study were on an anti-depressant. The study revealed that EPA had the best results among the different test groups.
You don’t have to be depressed to implement this powerful nutrient into your diet! Grab a fishing pole and run to the nearest lake… or get into your car and drive to the grocery store, your choice.
Try this recipe: Salmon with Pea Puree
Brazil nuts, walnuts, and almonds rank at the top of my list of favorite types of nuts. If you care to share yours,just drop a message in the comments. Who knows, you may even start a trend, causing my blog to blow up and receive copious views and subscriptions. The possibilities are endless, honestly. Back to business… raw nuts, they boost serotonin! We seem to have a common theme here…
Clearly, serotonin levels and your mood go hand in hand! High levels of serotonin = pure euphoria! Low levels of serotonin = anxiety, depression, fatigue and more. Don’t go nuts, eat nuts!
Try this recipe: Arugula Salad with Smoked Almonds
*This recipe calls for smoked almonds but feel free to replace with your favorite choice. Don’t forget to leave a comment!
Not only do avocado taste amazing, they make you feel amazing! Remember that b-vitamin folate that we talked about earlier? The one that is responsible for the production of serotonin? It is also found in avocados!
Not only do they make you feel amazing, they are loaded with heart healthy fats and fiber. “But won’t fats make me fat?” No, over consuming calories will cause you to gain weight, eating fat will not. The fats found in avocados actually reduce inflammation and may even prevent cancer. On another note, we learned all about fats in my last blog, Dietary Fats: The Most Misunderstood Nutrient. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t already!
Fiber, on the other hand, helps keep us fuller, longer! So, what does that mean for you? You will be less likely to get “hangry.” Hangry, as defined by CNN, is “the phenomenon whereby some people get grumpy and short-tempered when they’re overdue for a feed.” Never let yourself get angry, have an avocado!
Try this recipe: Healthy, Easy Guacamole
What do coconuts and cute baby animal videos have in common? They both improve your mood by causing you to forget stress and smile! Consuming coconuts, more specially the oil found in coconuts comes with some therapeutic advantages, among numerous other health benefits.
Coconut oil contains antioxidant properties that help eliminate mental fatigue, in turn reducing stress. Anything that results in less stress is sure to boost your mood so you can count me in! How about you?
Try this recipe: Perfect Cup of Bulletproof Coffee
If someone told you that you don’t need sugar because your already sweet enough, don’t listen to them. Here’s why – the sugar found in honey has been linked to boosting your mood, reducing anxiety, and battling symptoms of depression.
After reading this, you better make sure to thank the next bee that you come across for this sweet nectar that we call honey. So, what are you waiting for? Go eat some honey, honey!
Try this recipe: Lime-Honey Glazed Chicken
Yes, that crunchy green stuff that your parents would disguise in peanut butter and raisins and call “ants on a log.” Turns out, your parents love you more than you think because that “crunchy green stuff” appears to be extremely beneficial and mood lifting!
Research revealed that celery contains the special chemical (3-n-butylphthalide) that is responsible for lowering stress hormones in your blood. Now, you may not have been stressed or moody at age 5 when your parents were feed you this, but they were surely looking out for your future. Finances, work, kids… the list goes on and on. Now, let’s go back to your childhood days and reduce some of that stress with the recipe below.
Try this recipe: Ants on a Log