It can be tempting to turn to a greasy hamburger or a glazed doughnut to uplift your spirits when you’re upset about something. These foods may temporarily lighten your bad mood but consuming large amounts of fats and sugar have their own negative consequences.
The good news is that there are so many mood-boosting foods that can help you get happier and ease anxiety while staying in shape. A growing body of research also supports the fact that making healthy changes in your meals can significantly boost your mood and improve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Want to see what eating the right foods can do to your mind and body? Below are eight foods that have been shown to help ease anxiety and uplift mood. Try these foods and see what difference they can make for you.
1. Dark Chocolate
Finally, research confirms what most people already believe: chocolate makes you happy. Scientific research conducted at the Nestlé Research Center in Switzerland shows eating 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate daily for two weeks reduces cortisol levels and other stress hormones in people who are highly depressed.
According to experts, dark cocoa contains a unique antioxidant called polyphenols responsible for boosting mood. So go ahead and indulge in some chocolate.
It doesn’t matter what type of berry you eat; they’re all high in fiber, phytochemicals, and antioxidants, which help keep your mind and body healthy when consumed regularly. Blueberries are great for improving memory and reducing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. A single cup of strawberries is packed with a full-day supply of vitamin C, fantastic for skin tightening.
3. Seeds and Nuts
You should consume fresh nuts and seeds on a daily basis. They are great mood-boosting food and a great go-to protein containing high amounts of fiber and healthy fats. Just keep track of the calories as they can add up quickly. Munch on one ounce of mixed nuts, including almonds and walnuts, as they are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and provide excellent long-term benefits.
4. Black Beans
A magnesium-rich food that aids in producing the happy hormone and serotonin is black beans. They also help with the reduction of bloating. If that weren’t enough, they’re also high in antioxidants and include other beneficial minerals like iron, fiber, copper, zinc, and potassium.
Avocados are a trendy snack these days, especially on Instagram, but they can also improve your mood. Avocados are high in fat, but it’s largely monounsaturated fat (the good kind), promoting healthy blood flow to the brain and good mental health. Avocados are also high in tryptophan and folate, and vitamin B6, low levels of which have been linked to depression and anxiety.
This small oval-shaped fruit couldn’t be easier to eat. Cut it into small cubes and use it as a salad topping or spread smashed avocados on wholegrain toast, and you’ve got a wholesome breakfast or a healthy evening snack.
6. Spinach and other leafy veggies
Do you know nearly 50% of Americans are deficient in magnesium?
Magnesium is an important mineral that helps to alleviate anxiety and stress. Spinach, Swiss chard, cabbage, and other dark leafy greens are high in magnesium, making them a convenient option to grab your recommended dose of magnesium while improving your mood and mental health.
Bananas are more than simply an athlete’s favorite post-workout snack and a vehicle for peanut butter. These mushy fruits are beneficial to both your brain and your body. Bananas are abundant in vitamin B6, which aids in the creation of feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin (chemicals that send information between neurons in the brain).
They each function to alleviate depression symptoms, but when combined, they make a potent combo of brain chemistry that sends you tons of good vibes. Furthermore, bananas are high in prebiotics, a type of fiber that helps feed good bacteria in your stomach, especially when the peel is still green.
Beans, legumes, and other complex carbohydrates that are slowly digested by the body help lower cravings for less wholesome carbohydrates that often lead to volatile blood sugar spikes, which result in moodiness and irritability. Beans and lentils are complex carbs containing fiber that improves your micro biome starch resistance, which keeps blood sugar stable and eliminates mood swings.
Do you need another reason to buy beans and lentils? Both foods are high in tryptophan, which the body uses to generate serotonin.