Mind-body connection? Of course you understand what that is – we have even talked about it on this blog …. Remember Mediation without the Woo-Woo or Stillness? But what about thinking about putting good things in to impact our mental state? Yep – eating a healthy mix of fruits, veggies and plant based protein- including these 5 foods can impact your mood!
You (well – we) may want to think about this the next time we are feeling low and reach for a bag of salty chips or a big bowl of ice cream. Unfortunately, due to their high sugar or sodium content, these foods usually deliver a short-term mood boost followed by a subsequent “crash” of feeling worse afterwards. Instead, reach for one of the feel-good foods.
The next time you’re feeling low, go nuts! Nuts such as walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, and almonds all help increase levels of serotonin—your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitter. Different nuts also have additional mood-boosting benefits. Brazil nuts, for example, are among the foods with the highest levels of selenium, a mineral which has been shown to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Two handfuls of cashews also contain enough of the amino acid tryptophan to give your brain a feel-good boost. Yippee – as cashews are absolutely one of my favorites!
Remember Popeye? (I yam what I yam!) He may have been onto something. Leafy greens like spinach are rich in a B vitamin called folate, which helps your brain produce dopamine. Dopamine is a feel-good chemical that’s known for its calming sensation.
You probably already know that berries are rich in antioxidants, which keeps your immune system strong and fights off free radicals. But antioxidants also help improve brain and cognitive function, lifting you out of a blue mood. Berries help prevent the release of your body’s stress hormone, cortisol. The next time you’re feeling unwanted stress, reach for a handful of berries – tasty and help reduce stress? Yes, please!
If you’re a tomato lover, you’re in luck! Tomato skin is full of antioxidant called lycopene that fights inflammation-related mood swings and depression. Since lycopene is found in the skin of tomatoes, cherry tomatoes are a smart choice because they give you more tomato skin per surface area than regular tomatoes…plus, they make for a perfect portable snack.
We have already talked about the benefits of dark chocolate – but of course I had to include it again! You might already know that dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, but it’s also been shown to improve your mood. And no, we’re not talking about candy bars laden with artificial ingredients, but real dark chocolate that’s at least 70% cocoa. Eating a few squares of dark chocolate per day can give you an instant “feel good” boost! Perfect – just perfect!
So – hopefully these options will help you the next time you need a snack!
Move your body, put good things in and ENJOY every day!