The body responds accordingly to the food you feed it. You may find joy from indulging in a chocolate bar or eating some French fries, but these foods offer brief happiness. The food industry has learned to entice us to experience happiness by eating the worst ingredients, nutritionally speaking. These foods typically cause bloating, fatigue, poor digestion, or make us feel bad about ourselves.
If you think that your mood has nothing to do with your overall health, you are mistaken. Feeling down in the dumps, stressed, or depressed can inhibit weight loss, disrupt the digestive process, induce headaches, and compromise the immune system. There are foods, however, that work to naturally improve one’s mood.
That’s right, people! What you eat can influence the way you feel. It can take time to learn which foods provide you sustained happiness and which foods only bring joy for a moment. Hint: the foods that provide short-lived happiness are not good for you. You need foods that provide long-term nutrition for the brain.
There is no singular superfood that will make you happy. You have to look at your diet as a whole to have a powerful effect on cognition and overall mood. Focus on foods that contain brain-healthy nutrients. When you have a craving for something unhealthy, try to opt for some of the following mood-boosting foods instead.
While you shouldn’t go nuts on nuts, these bite-sized snacks are replete with mood-boosting properties. Walnuts and cashews are full of serotonin, which is a feel-good chemical that is not readily available when you’re feeling down. Try to limit yourself to no more than a handful in one sitting. Remember: don’t eat the roasted, seasoned varieties, and try to avoid peanuts because they are rough on the digestive system.
Chard, kale, spinach, and other leafy greens contain high levels of magnesium. Most Americans are magnesium deficient, and this has been linked to the development of anxiety or depression. Magnesium has a positive impact on serotonin and helps to boost your mood. For additional magnesium sources, click here.
Who can argue with the delicious taste of strawberries? These berries are rich in manganese and vitamins A & C, all of which help to inhibit brain degeneration. Additionally, these nutrients help to increase the production of the happy chemicals that the brain produces.
More and more research is being conducted about the importance of intestinal gut flora. Additionally, research suggests that being deficient in healthy gut bacteria can influence your behavior and mood. Reports have concluded that people who consume fermented foods, which are rich in probiotics, have decreased stress levels and a more positive mental outlook, as opposed those who don’t consume probiotics. Try eating sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, and fermented vegetables.
Probably one of the easiest fruits to snack on, grapes are packed with antioxidants and flavonoids, which have been known to improve one’s mood. Some of you may be thinking that you can reap these benefits by consuming wine. No, no, no. Alcohol is a depressant, so keep your spirits lifted by eating fresh grapes.
Shiitake mushrooms offer more health benefits than the average button mushroom. These mushrooms contain vitamin B6, which helps you feel good and improve overall mood. While the B-vitamin complex family is integral for psychological and physical operations, vitamin B6 helps to naturally reduce stress and boost serotonin production.