Feeling down in the dumps lately? Maybe it’s the grey winter weather. Whatever is at the root of your sluggishness, a few nutritious and delicious foods can lift your mood and offer health benefits. Eat your way to cheeriness!
When you’ve got the blues and you can’t shake them off, chances are you’re snacking on something sugary, fatty or salty (or all three!). Processed “comfort food” is what many of us reach for when we’re feeling down. But eating like this only sends you on a blood-sugar rollercoaster, and you won’t feel a bit more chipper at the end of the ride. What’s worse, you’ll likely find those jeans fitting a little snugger than you’d like them to.
So, rather than French fries, ice cream and candy, try noshing on these five foods to lift your spirits. Soon those grey skies will seem to clear up and you can put on a happy face.
Admittedly, not what comes to mind when one thinks of comfort food — but salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which in studies appear to lift mood. If you’re not a fan of fatty fish such as salmon and herring, try a fish-oil supplement, or incorporate some flax seed into your diet.
Stressed out? This veggie is high in magnesium, which has been shown to improve your ability to manage stress. And if that stress has been keeping you up at night, you’ll also benefit from the improved sleep magnesium provides.
Being deficient in iron may be the cause of that sluggishness you can’t seem to shrug off. Black beans, which are high in protein and iron (and vegetarian friendly!), may help you find the energy you’ve been lacking. Not to mention that black beans are an excellent source of fibre, providing 6 grams in a 3/4 cup serving.
Popeye got it right with his spinach obsession. It makes not only the body strong but your brain, too. This leafy green is high in folate — as are broccoli, bok choy, asparagus and kale — and folate supports brain function, particularly when it comes to the neurotransmitter that enhances mood. Spinach is also high in iron, which can boost your energy and improve concentration.
Been tossing and turning most nights? Tart cherries help boost your serotonin levels — serotonin being a brain chemical that regulates mood and sleep. They also contain melatonin, a hormone that helps manage your internal clock. Consider this a natural alternative for helping you get a better night’s sleep.