It happens to all of us. From time to time we just can’t help but feel DOWN! And whilst we can’t always do much to avoid all the disasters life throws at us we can control many of the things that influence our mood. Here are 10 foods that you incorporate into your diet that are scientifically proven to make you feel HAPPIER! Perfect to incorporate into your diet as we approach the end of the summer and those winter blues start to hit.
(1) Swiss Chard
Photo by Alex
Never heard of it? It’s commonly used in Mediterranean foods and the Mediterraneans are some of the happiest people in the world. It’s a leafy green vegetable, but critically it’s absolutely FULL of magnesium. Magnesium has a key role in the body in biochemical reactions that release energy. More importantly however, studies have shown that there’s a strong link between low levels of magnesium and depression. So east Swiss Chard to boost your magnesium levels and improve your mood. And it’s do easy to grow in your vegetable garden.
Not only is it absolutely delicious, it also contains high levels of folate and tryptophan. Now here’s a monumental bit of news. Studies have shown that low folate levels are detected in 50% of cases of depression. And tryptophan is a chemical precursor to the brain’s “happy substance” serotonin. So, eat asparagus for a double whammy of mood boosting nutrients.
We all know that honey is much healthier natural sweetener in comparison to table sugar. But the healthiness doesn’t stop there. Honey is rich in kaempferol and quercetin which reduce inflammation the brain and help keep it healthy. Sweeten your mood by replacing table sugar with honey in your diet.
(4) Cherry Tomatos
Tomatos are an all round superfood. There are so many health benefits to increasing your dietary intake of tomatoes. In terms of boosting your happiness cherry tomatoes contain lycopene which also prevents inflammation within the brain. For an added boost eat your cherry tomatoes with olive oil which helps your body to absorb the lycopene. A winning combination!
Coconuts are always found in the most unhealthy deserts! However, coconuts contain large quantities of medium chain fatty acids which are important for brain health. And if your brain’s healthy you feel happier. Avoid the highly calorific coconut milk and stick to dried coconut shavings. Being overweight is a recipe for depression.
Blueberries are conventionally known as the “super berry” due to their high levels of anthocyanin which has been linked to a huge range of mental benefits including improved cognition. However, all berries contain high levels of vitamin C which has been shown to be helpful in combating stress.
Fattening if eaten to excess but if eaten in moderation these can lead to a big boost to your mood. They contain huge amounts of zinc, and there’s a strong link between depression and low zink levels. Our bodies are also unable to store zinc meaning that it’s important to top up your zinc every day. A one ounce serving of cashews contains 11% of your daily zinc intake.
(8) Camomile Tea
Out of all the natural products mentioned on this list the effects of camomile are probably the most instantly noticeable. Have a nice cup of chamomile after a stressful day and you fell better almost instantly. It works! A study from the University of Pennsylvania tested chamomile supplements on 57 participants with generalized anxiety disorder for 8 weeks, and found it led to a significant drop in anxiety symptoms. And it’s scientifically proven to help induce sleep. And we all feel so much more able to deal with whatever life throws at us if we’ve slept like a baby.
(9) Green Tea
One of the most healthy drinks on the planet, and yes, it can also make you feel happier. It contains high amounts of an amino acid called theanine which scientists believe is a brain booster. You should be drinking two or more cups a day.
Everybody should be eating oatmeal for breakfast – period! The healthy impact on your cardiovascular system is well established. In addition however, it causes your brain to release serotonin which has a soothing effect and makes you feel calm and relaxed.