It’s very normal not to feel your best everyday, and sometimes you may need to make a conscious effort to alter your inner state.
While there are a lot of ways to uplift your spirit, your food choices can also have a say.
People often eat food to feel better, but there’s actually more than the happiness it gives in every bite. Inside your gut, they do more work than fill your stomach.
Here are 7 foods approved by science to help you feel lighter, better and happier.
1. Dark Chocolate
Nothing comes first to chocolates when it comes to comfort food. It’s loved by many for a good reason.
Dark chocolates, in particular, contain some psychoactive ingredients that produce feel-good reactions. One of which is theobromine, a compound that has many stimulant effects on the human brain. Theobromine is responsible for that well-known lift from eating chocolates that we are all familiar with.
Moreover, dark chocolate is also loaded with anandamide, a cannabinoid that has been shown in clinical trials to reduce anxiety, and phenylethylamine, a chemical which stimulates the brain’s pleasure centers and which is released when we fall in love.
Dark chocolate is indeed a ‘pleasure drug’!
Feeling a little down? Maybe it’s time to go to your nearest wet market and get a fatty fish in your basket.
Salmon, along with tuna, sardines and mackerel, is rich in omega-3s which are highly known to lower levels of depression. Omega-3s docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), in specific, have been widely researched to regulate mood, help with symptoms of depression and promote mental health.
When your gut is happy, so is your brain.
Fermented food such as kimchi is packed with healthy bacteria called probiotics which are not only good for your digestion but also for mood regulation.
The more good bacteria you eat, the more diverse your gut microbes which is beneficial to the production of serotonin, a chemical messenger that acts as mood stabilizer and is linked to feeling good and living longer.
Often called a ‘happy fruit’, bananas are a good source of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that gets converted in the body into serotonin. It also has three natural sugars — sucrose, fructose and glucose — that give you a substantial boost of energy and help you prevent a wide range of diseases.
Promising studies suggest that having more fruits and vegetables in your diet can lower your risk of depression.
One most notable on the list are berries. Berries have a very good amount of antioxidants. Antioxidants go around in your body fixing cells so they function properly.
According to experts, anxiety and depression are correlated with a lowered total antioxidant state. Thus, increasing your antioxidant intake through your diet is beneficial to the overall stability of your mental and emotional state.
There are a lot of good reasons to incorporate tomatoes in your meals but let me enumerate two.
First, tomatoes contain folic acid, a B vitamin that prevents excess of homocysteine which inhibits the production of important happy chemicals in the body including serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.
Second, it is rich in alpha-lipoic acid, an antioxidant that is used to break down carbohydrates and make energy.
These two work hand in hand to improve your mood while boosting your energy.
Beans are incredibly high in protein and fiber, both of which are good in evening out your blood sugar levels. Interestingly, a spike in your blood sugar can affect your mood negatively. Hence, any food that keeps your blood sugar on track is your friend.
Our mood and emotions may be complex but making small steps towards feeling our best may be as simple as eating healthy. What you eat matters. Grab one food from our mood-boosting food list today and help yourself brighten up your day.