We all know that a well-balanced diet is crucial to our physical health and fitness, but did you know research shows that what we eat has a major effect on our moods, too? As in, there are actual foods that make you happier and calmer just by eating them.
Mood foods if you will.
If you’re feeling down or just kind of “blah,” grab a pen and start a grocery list. The following foods can boost your mood, reduce stress, and potentially fight depression--now that’s a reason to snack!
1. Green Tea
Not only can sipping a mug of green tea soothe your senses and warm you from the inside out, the ingredient L-theanine (an amino acid) actually helps fight anxiety, ward off stress, and encourage relaxation. Making it the perfect drink to start and end your day with!
Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries not only taste delicious in every single form, they’re incredibly powerful mood-boosters. Their high Vitamin C content helps cope with cortisol levels (a stress hormone), and the naturally occurring flavonoids boost mood, improve memory, and reduce inflammation. Toss a handful on your morning granola, pack a few in your lunchbox, or blend some up in a post-workout smoothie—your taste buds and mood will thank you.
3. Dark Leafy Greens
Nearly half of all Americans aren’t getting enough magnesium—a mineral that does a lot for us—including reducing anxiety. Dark leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard have tons of magnesium! Which means you can reach your daily vegetable count and boost your mood at the same time. Killing two birds with one stone? How bold, babe!
4. Oily Fish
Turns out your sushi addiction might be a good thing—as long as your munching on oily fish like salmon, tuna, herring, and mackerel. These fatty fish are full of omega-3 fatty acids, a mood-boosting nutrient that our bodies don’t naturally produce. Not to get all geeky, but omega-3s actually alter chemicals in our brains linked with mood, like dopamine and serotonin, making us calmer and happier humans. Anyone down for a sushi run?
5. Dark Chocolate
In case you needed another excuse to eat chocolate, here’s one: Eating it can produce near euphoric moods in some people, aka—it actually makes you happy. Science says so. Not that we needed science to prove what we already knew to be true. Researchers believe this mood-boosting effect is thanks to the antioxidants found in dark chocolate (try to stick to 70% or higher cocoa) which can reduce stress hormones and encourage happiness.
Try saying the word “avocado” without a smile on your face, it’s nearly impossible. Turns out eating them has the same effect. Avocados are rich in folate (a B vitamin), which helps the body produce and regulate serotonin and dopamine—happy hormones! They’re also full of monounsaturated fatty acids which help keep your heart healthy and strong. By eating avocados regularly, you’re taking care of your heart, boosting your mood, and satisfying your taste buds. For an even greater mood-boosting effect, wear these while you eat them.
Listen girl gang—sometimes you eat foods for the sheer pleasure of it—not because of health benefits. Pizza is one of those foods that induces happiness just at the thought of it. The flavor combination of warm melty cheese, rich creamy sauce, and golden buttery crust is all but guaranteed to boost your mood. Life is all about balance, and if a few slices here and there make you happy, go for it! And don’t you dare feel bad about it.
Here at Bold Body we’re all about living your best life, positive vibes, and finding happiness in the little things. Sometimes those little things are a handful of berries, a slice of avocado toast, or a square of rich dark chocolate. Whatever you’re snacking on today, be bold and enjoy.