Choosing healthy foods can actually impact your mood in a positive way, helping to relieve tension, stabilize blood sugar levels, and send your stress packing.
10 Best Foods to Beat Stress
Had a long day at work? Kids acting out all day? Feeling a financial or relationship strain? Grab your fork and dig into the following stress-busting superfoods.
Dark leafy greens like kale or spinach, are rich in folate, which helps your body produce mood-regulating neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine.
Turkey is a good source of tryptophan, an amino acid (protein building block) that your body converts into serotonin. Pumpkin seeds, nuts, and free-range organic eggs are also rich sources of tryptophan.
One of the secrets to improving your mental health is in your gut, as unhealthy gut flora can have a detrimental impact your brain health, leading to issues like anxiety and depression. Beneficial bacteria have a direct effect on brain chemistry, transmitting mood- and behavior-regulating signals to your brain via your vagus nerve, which I discuss in this article.
As explained by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a medical doctor with a postgraduate degree in Neurology, toxicity in your gut can flow throughout your body and into your brain, where it can cause symptoms of poor mood, autism, ADHD, depression, schizophrenia, and a whole host of other mental and behavioral disorders.
It should be crystal clear that nourishing your gut flora (by eating fermented foods and avoiding processed foods and sugar) is extremely important to support a positive mood.
Found in salmon, sardines, and anchovies, or supplement form, such as krill oil, the animal-based omega-3 fats EPA and DHA play a role in your emotional well-being.
The antioxidants which are found in blueberries help your brain to produce dopamine, a chemical that is critical to coordination, memory function, and your mood.
The cooking process involved in making bone broth is a large part of the reason for its health benefits. The act of boiling and simmering the parts of animal mentioned above causes the ligaments and bones to release a number of healing compounds such as collagen, gelatin and amino acids.
If you’re like me, you get a nice mood boost whenever you sink your teeth into a bar of pure chocolate. There’s a chemical reason behind it called anandamide, a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that temporarily blocks feelings of pain and depression.
I know it’s not technically a food, but a daily dose of sunshine will help stabilize your mood. Serotonin, the brain hormone associated with mood elevation, rises with exposure to bright light and falls with decreased sun exposure.
Low vitamin D levels are also associated with an increased risk of panic disorders. While you can get some vitamin D in foods like salmon, egg yolks, and mushrooms, your best solution for optimizing your levels is through sun exposure.
Magnesium is well-known for its role in helping to regulate your emotions and enhance well-being. Dr. Carolyn Dean, a medical and naturopathic doctor, has studied and written about magnesium for more than 15 years. The latest edition of her book, The Magnesium Miracle, details 22 medical areas that magnesium deficiency triggers, including anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.
Avocados provide close to 20 essential health-boosting nutrients, including potassium, vitamin E, B vitamins, and folate, and, according to research published in the Nutrition Journal, eating just one-half of a fresh avocado with lunch may satiate you if you’re overweight, which will help prevent unnecessary snacking later.