Some people turn to junk food as a source of comfort when they’re feeling down. Even though an ice cream sundae or bag of potato chips makes you feel happy for a moment, true mood boosting foods are much healthier.
8 Mood Boosting Foods
At Elements of Rockville Centre, we understand that sometimes you need a bit of sweetness in an otherwise bland diet. Luckily, dark chocolate aids in the production of endorphins, the chemical responsible for feelings of euphoria. Studies suggest that endorphins also help reduce stress.
Sadly, milk chocolate doesn’t carry the same benefits. What makes dark chocolate so healthy is the cacao (also known as “cocoa”) bean, which becomes diluted by dairy and sugar found in milk chocolate. As a rule, chocolates with higher than 65 percent cacao and relatively few added ingredients, like sugar and preservatives, are best for you.
Starting your day with some eggs gives you more than a proteinaceous meal that keeps you full until lunchtime. Eggs are also high in the amino acids methionine and cysteine, which are known to reduce the severity of depression and improve your frame of mind.
Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds
Both pumpkin and sunflower seeds contain tons of tryptophan, which helps stabilize mood and promote restful sleep. Plus, the effort required to bite through crunchy foods like seeds melts away physical tension in your jaw, relieving stress.
Many people dismiss the claim that fish is “brain food” as an old wives tale, but it actually has a bit of truth to it. Omega-3s, which are essential for healthy brain development as well as the production of dopamine and serotonin, can be found in large quantities in fish. Tuna, salmon, trout and sardines are among the most omega-3 packed fish.
Beans and Lentils
If you’re familiar with that mid-afternoon crash, you’ll be happy to know that legumes can sustain your energy levels to keep you going. Legumes, like beans and lentils, help balance out your blood glucose levels, which gives you a higher-quality energy boost than a dose of caffeine.
Like many of the other mood boosting foods on this list, legumes speed up serotonin production. They also provide folate, which helps alleviate anxiety and depression.
People are entitled to their mixed opinions about raw oysters, but one thing is for certain: they’ve got a ton of health benefits. Oysters are packed with tyrosine, an amino acid that regulates mood, and zinc, a mineral essential to brain function. In fact, you only need to eat three oysters to get over 100 percent of your recommended daily allowance of zinc!
Quinoa is a health food trend that’s gained some serious popularity recently, and with good reason. It’s a gluten-free grain that provides you with not only the complex carbohydrates necessary for sustained energy, but with tons of protein as well. It’s also high in folate, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese, which are awesome for lifting your spirits.
Oh, and it’s pronounced “keen-wah,” by the way!
Avocado pops up on so many healthy eating lists around the Internet, and why shouldn’t it? It’s delicious and exploding with nutrients that have far ranging benefits, such as digestive aid and relief from arthritic pain. They also naturally level out your hormones, ensuring your body is producing the feel-good chemicals that keep you happy.
If you’re not already used to following a strict diet, it may take some time for you to commit to eating these mood boosting foods regularly. Don’t hesitate to try out delicious recipes such as dark chocolate soy egg creams and black bean quinoa salad!