Exercise and dieting can stress our bodies and alter our moods. But the good news is that some foods are full of nutrients that make you feel better while helping you reach your fitness goals. These amazing foods are full of many antioxidants and have many health benefits— they can help you become more concentrated, energetic, happier and more active, helping you to improve in a natural and delicious way!
Here are some foods that can help improve your mood:
Chocolate: It’s not a surprise that chocolate can help you feel better. Serotonin and endorphin are two hormones that our body produces for our mental health. Cocoa is full in polyphenols, which can help you feel better and also think clearly when you are stressed. I recommend using 70 percent dark chocolate, at least, to be sure that you are including cocoa instead of just milk.
A study done at the Nestlé Research Center in Switzerland found that people who were stressed and consumed dark chocolate every day for two weeks reduced the stress hormone cortisol.
Carbs: Carbs can help you feel more energetic and boost your mood. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, said that a low-carb diet can be linked to depression, anger and anxiety. So eat your carbs in moderation— balance is the key!
Green vegetables, fruits or pasta can help prevent depression and improve your mood. Spinach, blueberries, pomegranates etc. can help you boost your energy levels, too.
Bananas: Bananas contain tryptophan, an ingredient that helps produce serotonin. Bananas also contain vitamin B6 and potassium has an important role in stress prevention.
Coffee: Include coffee in your daily routine— but just one or two cups! Too much caffeine can stress you more and can cause insomnia. Select organic coffee and add some coconut oil — healthy oils feed your brain!
Tea: Theanine is an amino acid that is in green, black and oolong tea and helps improve focus.
Water: Dehydration can be linked to depression, headaches and lack of energy! Drink enough water every day.
Omega-3 protein sources: Include food rich in omega-3 like sardines, tuna and salmon, because omega-3s help with healthy brain function — omega-3s alter brain chemicals linked with mood, specifically dopamine and serotonin.
Saffron: Researchers suggests that this spice works in a very similar fashion as many antidepressants, helping to make serotonin more available to the brain.
Healthy fats: Avocado, seeds, olive oil and coconut oil. Including nuts like hazelnuts can boost your energy and helps to your neurotransmitters to work better. These nuts are full of manganese, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium and fiber.
Mood-Boosting Recipe: Almond-Hazelnut Cocoa Drink
2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tablespoons stevia
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup 70% dark chocolate
1/3 cup hazelnuts
Heat the almond milk in a small pan and when steam starts to appear, remove from the heat. Add the stevia, vanilla extract and the chocolate until melted completely. Add the hazelnuts and the banana and blend all the ingredients. Serve in a mug and enjoy this mood-boosting and energizing almond-hazelnut cocoa drink.
Carbs: 19g (4g fiber)