When a sour mood pervades your day, a half-dozen giant bakery cookies or a jumbo bag of salty chips may be what your cravings demand, but junk food won’t give you the good mood solution your brain is really anticipating. Here are five delicious, good for you foods that will more effectively boost your mood.
Hip, hip hooray. Even thinking about chocolate can be a mood booster, but this universally loved treat can actually tweak your brain chemistry and biologically bolster your mood, too. Chocolate raises brain chemicals, such as phenylethylamine and endorphins, that produce a natural euphoria. In addition, dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients associated with heart health and cancer-fighting properties. Healthy people are happy people.
Salmon, tuna, and mackerel are loaded with good for you omega-3s, which have anti-inflammatory benefits, which can alter your brain chemistry to improve your brain function as well as ward off mental disease, such as depression. Your bad mood tendency may be to order a salty, fatty meal from the nearest drive-thru, but noshing on a succulent piece of broiled salmon is a far healthier and more effective solution to beat the blues.
This may seem like an ordinary food with no link to good moods, but sweet potatoes are a naturally sweet carb-rich food that is a stellar alternative to refined-flour sweets, which you inevitably crave when your mood is heading south. High-carb foods stimulate the release of serotonin, a brain chemical that regulates mood as well as appetite and sleep. When you’re mood is under the weather, instead of heading for the junk food aisle, oven bake a batch of sweet potato fries and slowly savor them one at a time.
A superfood chockfull of calcium, protein, probiotics and other health-promoting nutrients, yogurt is a creamy, dreamy go-to when you need to improve your mood. Particularly beneficial to battle the bad moods of PMS, the calcium in yogurt can also calm your carb-needing menstrual cravings. A tasty balance of carbs, protein, and fat, yogurt is an excellent snack or part of your morning meal. Go for Greek-style yogurt and limit your intake of the high-sugar artificially sweetened brands.
When you feel like you’re going to go bananas, reach for one. Teeming with tryptophan, a building block for the happy hormone serotonin, B vitamins, which can combat stress, and potassium, a mineral that can enhance your mental alertness, bananas are the perfect mood pick me up any time of day. These everyday fruits can also give you a sustained energy boost.
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