For those of you who have read my about me page, you know that I have been researching and improving my health for over 18 years. Last year I completed a sports nutrition certification and realized, yet again, how many of the health issues we face today can be altered and slowly improved with just the right tweak in our diets. I believed so much in it, that in just 1 year, I had completely turned my life around from removing the foods that were causing me pain and “flare-ups” of my diseases. Depression was not going to get me once I identified what foods made me worse.
So today, I was minding my own business gathering ingredients for a nice big salad, when a processed food display jumped right up and tried to grab me. <<< not really, but it almost did. Chocolate is my weakness. But this chocolate was on something that is a known flare for me and causes me to crash so much right after eating it I feel like I can’t move. I become that tired. So I knew what I had to do and I want to help you do the same. Let’s grab some of these great foods instead!
5 Great Foods to Boost Your Mood:
- Go bananas! <<< technically I linked to my favorite dry snack, but I love this version of dried bananas. So what do these yellow fruits help us with? Bananas employ mood-lifting power, with their combination of vitamins B6, A, and C; fiber; tryptophan; potassium; phosphorous; iron; protein; and healthy carbohydrates. What happens in the body? You get a quick boost from the fructose as well as sustaining energy from the fiber, which helps prevent a blood sugar spike and ensuing drop in energy as well as mood. Mind you, this is natural and not some made up thing like “high fructose corn syrup”. <<< icky for autoimmune responses…well just plain bad honestly. So I always stay away from that. At our house, we tend to use bananas in smoothies, but if they have been there and are ripe, I will actually cut them up and put them in the freezer for later use as “banana cubes” in my blender.
- Sunflower seeds (or butter) <<< I love this stuff times 10. I was doing research a few years ago on a theory I had that my prior acid-blocking supplements (completely weaned myself off them using natural remedy) were causing an issue with my magnesium levels. Why is this important? Magnesium, in addition to regulating mood, is vital for many body functions to operate normally. Magnesium deficiency can be responsible for feelings of fatigue, nervousness, and anxiety (triggers increase in adrenaline), and it’s been linked to various mood disorders. However, stable magnesium levels can help the body and mind achieve a calm and relaxed state. Some scientific studies have shown magnesium supplementation to be beneficial in treating major depression, suicidal tendencies, anxiety, irritability, and insomnia. Boom! There it was yet again. That feeling to go down the right path and unravel the mess my doctors, no offense to anyone, had caused in my gut.
- Dark chocolate is the bomb dot come in my world. <<< the one linked I often see in my grocery store as a savior if I am desperate to have something chocolate. I have to read all ingredients, but this one is safe for me. The organic cacao powder is my go-to for smoothies, baking and drinks of the hot kind. Yummy. How does this help me? Sorry men, but PMS time, seriously, come in the house with this in the shopping bag. Here is why: Among its many nutrients, cacao beans contain a slightly stimulatory, mood-boosting caffeine derivative called theobromine. Theobromine, a molecule with a structure similar to caffeine, has been shown to support mood and increase focus:) I am big into plant-based or phyto healing, so as this chocolate melts on your tongue, a number of reactions occur, including the release of serotonin in the brain and mood-elevating endorphins in the body. Yummy.
- Pass me my green tea y’all. <<< I linked my all-time favorite recent discovery of this muscle recovery tea I drink after a hard day of yoga. So why is tea, especially green tea helpful? Tea, the green variety more so, provides catechin antioxidants that have been shown to support brain function and promote proper balance of the stress hormone cortisol. Further, a toasty mug of tea can supply you with L-theanine, an amino acid that might promote you being alert a bit more. Also a report published in Public Health Nutrition showed that study participants who sipped four or more cups of green tea daily reported having a more positive mood. I recently started making my green tea 30 minutes ahead of time in the fridge using cold water and mint leaves. I then drink it cold and I know that provides a metabolism boost as well.
- Walnuts were also on my list of foods to eat. <<< again, I have to be careful. No glaze, no almonds (I personally found out they cause me stomach pain…who knew? Autoimmune is a tricky navigation.), no additives. JUST walnuts! Why are they helpful? Walnuts contain a handful of components that contribute to the elusive good mood, including omega-3s, vitamin B6, tryptophan, protein, and folate. Higher blood levels of omega-3s have been linked with better mood and lower rates of depression, while lower blood levels of omega-3s have been associated with higher rates of depression and negative feelings. Boom! Grab you some walnuts friends. Or nutty friends…either way. Normal suggested dosage of omega-3 oils is one gram (1,000 mg) per day. You’ll get about the same amount, as well as a healthy dose of fiber and protein, in just half an ounce of walnuts. I put them on my yogurt, but yogurt is a whole different story, so read the ingredients! I personally have been enjoying some Brown Cow yogurt…but prior to that is was the Stonyfield Farms kind. Again, navigate so that you can actually read all the ingredients as I discuss in my 4 Weeks to Wellness course. You don’t want things you can’t read going into your body. It really does flare all kinds of things that are just bringing you down.
Thank you guys for reading this and go out and clean your pantry today! Stock up for better health!