Looking for a way to improve your mood and wipe those blues away? Look to your diet. There are certain foods that can make you feel good, based on the nutrients they consist of and what hormones they activate.
Here, Dr. Dani, PhD, MPH, RD, shares her top mood-enhancing foods.
And, a tip? Eating every 3 hours can help you avoid the sugar crash, and eating a little protein every 3 hours (which can include nuts, seeds, and snack foods) can prolong digestion, she says. For instance, protein, which digests in 3 hours is better than a muffin, which only requires 45 minutes.
"If something is quickly digested, it means there is no more 'gasoline' in your blood or your blood glucose to keep you going. And, "avoid high sugar foods, and eat a good high fiber, lean protein (or nuts) snack, especially, after your lunch," she says.
"Essential fatty acids not easily found in foods other than fish oils that help the brain's health and integrity," she says. "Omega 3 is also anti-inflammatory which in turns allows your body to function properly instead of becoming sluggish due to inflammation processes," she adds.
Aim to eat fatty fish, like salmon and tuna. If you don't like fish, you can have walnuts, which also have omega 3 fatty acids.
High Fiber Veggies
High fiber veggies can help decrease the absorption of glucose from food, and it helps clean the 28 feet of intestines that we have, says Dr. Dani. And, of course, healthy digestion improves well-being and energy levels.
Add more veggies to your diet for a clearer outlook. These include leafy greens, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, and cruciferous veggies, like broccoli. Plus they have high water content, and staying hydrated can improve your mood.
Essential amino acids break down slowly, so your blood sugar and energy do not spike, and therefore do not crash, she says. When we aren't feeling fatigued and low in stores, we can feel happier and more invigorated, which brightens the mood and makes us more productive.
A few great options include lean meats, beans and legumes, ancient grains like quinoa, eggs, and Greek yogurt.
These have great heart-healthy and mood-boosting fats, so they can cheer us up and give us energy. "They digest slowly, and they feed the brain, which is 60% fat, and maintain blood sugar by preventing sugar crash," she says. Therefore, nuts can keep the post-lunch crash away and reset the mood.
If you don't like nuts, avocados also have good fats and magnesium, which can ease tension and anxiety. When we feel more relaxed, we are happier, overall. Try adding nuts to Greek yogurt for a peppy start to the day.
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