Are you under a lot of stress at work? Are you suffering from anxiety, depression, insomnia or other mood-related troubles? You don’t have to rely on pills or crazy fad diets to help you get your life back on track. Here are just seven foods that will naturally banish the blues.
Greek yogurt is full of calcium, and calcium is good for everything from bone health to brain power. It’s also necessary for the release of neurotransmitters, so if you want natural doses of feel-good hormones like serotonin, you’ll need calcium to help pave the way. Just make sure that you avoid sweet yogurts full of candy and other additives. You’ll want the real deal for the health benefits.
Mussels are one of the best sources of vitamin B12 on the planet. Just three ounces will give you 340 percent of your daily B12 allotment! This is important because vitamin B12 plays a big role in both mood regulation and overall neurological function, and according to a study by Tufts University, almost 40 percent of people are vitamin B12 deficient. You can give your mood a huge boost by choosing seafood for your next meal.
Have you ever wondered where tomatoes get their color? It’s from lycopene, an organic red phytochemical that lives in tomato skins. Lycopene helps to promote a kind of “brain fat” that’s good for healthy, active minds, so foods containing lycopene are beneficial for cognitive function. All tomatoes have it, but cherry tomatoes are an especially good choice since they’re smaller than their cousins. You’ll consume more skin and get more lycopene.
While they don’t have a direct effect on the brain, oats have such a low glycaemic index (GI) that they can be used as an effective mood booster. They’ll slowly release glucose into your bloodstream and keep your blood sugar stabilized throughout the day. Compare this to the temporary spikes and crashes of sugar-based products, and it’s clear why you should choose oatmeal over cereal in the mornings.
Chocoholics, this one is for you. While it isn’t a nutritionally healthy option by any means, research from the Centre for Human Psychopharmacology has shown that dark chocolate can improve your mood. The study focused on cocoa polyphenols and their impact on the brain. At the end of several weeks, participants who had been consuming regular amounts of dark chocolate rated themselves much higher in “calmness” and “contentedness” than those who had been taking a placebo. Chocolate really does work!
Folate is a chemical compound that the body needs to produce and release neurotransmitters, including that old standby serotonin. Research suggests that low folate levels might be a factor in things like anxiety, irritability and even clinical depression. If you want to keep your folate levels in check, cook some asparagus with your next meal. It contains enough folate to keep your neurotransmitters firing like they should.
Lentils are the “all in one” food of the brain-boosting world. They’re complex carbohydrates, so they’ll help to manage your mood and blood sugar levels throughout the day; they also contain folate and help to produce serotonin, so they’ll assist your neurotransmitters and all of their functions. If you’re looking for a jack of all trades in terms of nutritional value, choose lentils.
These are just a few superfoods that can put a smile on your face. There are many more, of course, but these should be enough to get you started on your next grocery run. A happier, healthier outlook on life is just one basket away!
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