The foods that you eat matter for a lot of reasons besides the way that they make your body look. What you eat also plays a huge part in your mental well being and state of happiness. Here are some foods that have been proven to help boost the mood naturally by reducing anxiety and fighting depression.
Occasionally Eat Chocolate
Some studies have found that when people are already depressed, eating 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate each day for two weeks can sufficiently lesson the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Do keep in mind though that 1.4 ounces of chocolate contains 235 calories, so if you add that to your diet every single day you might need to take something else out unless you need more calories. Also this study was done on depressed people, so if you’re not depressed the results might not be as pronounced. But if chocolate makes you happy, it’s fine in moderation. Even better if you switch to cacao to cut out added dairy and fat.
Don’t Skip Carbohydrates
Some studies have found that people on extremely low carb diets experience more anxiety and depression than people who eat low fat and higher carbs diets. These results might be from a serotonin boost that carbs give the brain, or it might be because carbs are really tasty and people just get bummed out when they can’t have them.
Whole Foods in General
People who eat whole foods in their more natural state are just happier than people who eat a lot of processed foods with additives. Whole foods are higher in vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and antioxidants that support the whole body including the brain. Think whole grain oats not cereal bars, grilled chicken not deli meat, and of course lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Fish are one of the best natural sources of omega 3 fatty acids which have been known to boost the mood. Omega 3’s are one nutrient that we need but that the body does not naturally produce, so have to get them through are food. Stick to oily and fatty fish for the highest concentration of omega 3’s, like salmon, sardines, tuna, and trout. Some studies have found that getting enough omega 3 fatty acids can take the place of prescription drugs for people who are manic depressive.
Many people exacerbate their anxiety symptoms by drinking too much caffeine. Not only can it raise the heart raise and the stress response in the moment, but it can also disrupt your sleep which only further makes it hard to be relaxed and happy. Switching to herbal tea for a couple of your afternoon hot drink habits might help in more ways in one. For one thing, cutting down on the caffeine might be able to help a lot. For another thing, herbal teas have a lot of ingredients that have been proven to be soothing. Ginger tea for example has antioxidants that can still give you a bit of a boost but without the jolt you don’t need.