10 Healthy Foods That Naturally Elevate Your Mood
If you’re feeling a little bit down because of the cold and snow, you’re not alone. Research suggests that one in five Canadians experience the winter blues. But did you know that a growing body of research suggests that some foods can help you shake that emotional funk? They’re not a cure-all for people suffering from serious mental conditions, like depression or seasonal affective disorder. But if you need a little pick-me-up, give these foods a try.
Brazil NutsIf you’re feeling down or under the weather, chomp down on a handful of these puppies. They’re filled with selenium, an essential mineral that has been linked to heart and brain health. It can also prevent some cancers and thyroid disorders, according to America’s National Institutes of Health. Selenium also ensures your metabolism keeps you processing energy efficiently throughout the day.
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Whole-Grain BreadNot that you need another reason to love bread, but the complex carbohydrates in whole-grain pain have been shown to boost serotonin levels in the brain. That has a calming effect and can fight anxiety, according to the Mayo Clinic. If, for some bizarre reason, bread isn’t your thing, you can also try quinoa.
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SpinachThere’s a reason Popeye ate spinach before he saved the day. It’s chock full of vitamin B9, better known as folate or folic acid. Our bodies use folic acid to control the production of serotonin, our happiness hormone, and create new cells. A deficiency in folic acid has been linked to depression and birth defects.
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WalnutsRich in Vitamin E, melatonin, antioxidants, and amino acids, walnuts have been shown to improve people’s moods in honest-to-goodness scientific studies. But experts warn they’re not a panacea for serious mental conditions, like depression.
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Dark ChocolateDark chocolate isn’t just a decadent dessert, it’s also a superfood that can improve your disposition. While it’s missing the sugary sweetness of milk chocolate, it makes up for by boosting your endorphin and serotonin levels. Harvard’s School of Public Health also published a study featuring the benefits of flavanols, a plant chemical found in dark chocolate, in lowering blood pressure.
Just remember to keep your delicious and healthy snack away from your happy dog as dark chocolate is toxic for your pooch.
OrangesVitamin C has long been recognized as a mood-booster and there’s no better source of the nutrient than oranges. Some studies have even shown Vitamin C can help reduce anxiety and ease depression, though research in those areas is still preliminary.
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Oily FishHealth supplement makers love extolling the virtues of their added omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids since they are linked with lowering your risk of depression. But why buy an expensive bottle of gel capsules when you can grab a filet of salmon or rainbow trout for dinner instead?
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EggsThey’re a great source of protein and that’s especially important in the morning when your body is screaming for fuel. According to the Mayo Clinic, a couple of morning eggies will boost your energy levels, even out your blood sugar and keep you feeling full until lunch.
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OatsToo many simple carbohydrates in a meal can result in your mood taking a sudden nose dive after an initial rush or energy. To experience a pick-me-up without the crash, try adding a bowl of steel cut oats into your meal plan. They boast a low glycemic index number, which means your body will release energy into your bloodstream at a slower rate, giving you a longer lasting feeling of pleasure.
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BlueberriesHigh in flavonoids, a nutrient found in plants, blueberries have been shown to ward of depression in young adults. Also, while the science is still new, some studies suggest that extracts of blueberries, strawberries, grapes, and plums can help combat cognitive disorders, like dementia.
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