Blues Busting Foods
By Dani Taylor
If you’ve been feeling some covid-era blues, we can assure you that you’re not alone. When you are feeling down, your instinct may be to reach for sugary, fatty comfort foods as a way to feel better. This rarely does the trick and often makes you feel worse in the long run. A better option is to add nutritionally rich foods to your diet instead. Not only do these healthy foods improve brain function, but they may keep your gut happy as well.
While there are many factors that influence mood, eating a balanced diet can’t hurt. The following foods contain properties thought to improve your mood and overall health.
Not only are bananas an easy and delicious snack, but they are chock full of vitamin B6 which can boost the feel-good chemicals that naturally occur in your body. They also contain enough natural sugar to stabilize blood sugar and boost your mood. Another bonus is that bananas can improve gut health because of the healthy bacteria they contain.
Although they are best known as breakfast food, oats can be enjoyed for a great energy boost any time of day. Not only do oats contain fiber, but they also provide an iron boost that can help prevent anemia. The slow release of sugar in oats keeps your mood stable and your stomach full. Whether you enjoy them in the traditional style in the morning or in other forms like overnight oats, smoothies, or protein balls, oats are a versatile food that may positively impact your mood.
Serotonin is a valuable chemical found in the brain that helps create feelings of happiness and calm. Choosing foods rich in this chemical can lift your mood naturally and prevent depression. Walnuts are a powerhouse of serotonin as well as essential omega-3 fatty acids. Eat them on their own or as part of a trail mix for a satisfying snack that supports a healthy brain.
Do berries have the power to fight depression? Some experts think so. The antioxidants found in berries are thought to fight inflammation and combat stress. They don’t have to be freshly picked to retain their nutritional value either. Frozen berries are a great choice out of season and can be added to a variety of foods like smoothies, muffins, or frozen yogurt.
Versatile and packed with B vitamins, lentils are an excellent plant protein. Complex carbohydrates and folate add to the nutritional power of lentils by stabilizing blood sugar and mood. Lentils can be added to soups and stew or used as a filling for sandwiches or tacos. However they are prepared, lentils are full of nutritional value and a great addition to your diet.
Although mood can be influenced by many factors out of your control, healthy choices when it comes to food can make a difference. Whether you add some of these mood-boosting foods to established recipes or eat them on their own throughout the day, you are sure to notice an improvement in how you feel when you choose these nutritionally rich foods.