Did you know that you can eat the blues away? No, I’m not talking about stress eating or “emotional eating”—stuffing yourself with junk food in an attempt to combat stress or anxiety—but I’m talking about real, honest-to-goodness mood-boosting foods! These foods will help to lift your mood, decrease anxiety, and promote feelings of wellbeing. You don’t have to overeat, as just a small portion of these foods will do the trick. If you want some foods to lift your mood, here’s what to eat:
You read this right! Bacon is rich in amino acids (protein), but specific amino acids that can help to reduce anxiety and depression. When you eat these amino acids, they are converted into brain neurotransmitters that affect the way your body processes and produces the chemical signals of depression. All high-protein foods can encourage a healthier brain and reduce your risk of depression and anxiety; bacon just happens to be the most delicious!
The caffeine in coffee doesn’t just shut off the signals that your body sends to your brain when you’re tired; it also can help to raise dopamine levels. Dopamine is a “feel good” chemical that protects your body and brain from depression, anxiety, and stress. A shot of caffeine makes you more sensitive to the dopamine you’ve already produced, so it takes far less of this neurochemical to have a more visible effect. Thanks to caffeine, you can feel happier, at least for a little while as the coffee does its thing. Just make sure to avoid too much coffee, as that might trigger anxiety again!
A study conducted in Australia discovered that red wine is good for your mood as well as your heart. People who suffered from major depression went on a healthy diet that included red wine along with whole grains, lean meats, fruit, and veggies. After just a few weeks of this diet, the depressive symptoms decreased visibly, even with no other change to the dieters’ lifestyle. An excessive amount of alcohol (more than five drinks per week) can be bad for your health, and specifically increase your risk of depression. However, in moderation, a glass of red wine here and there can do wonders to lift your spirits!
Some experts believe that gluten has been linked to depression and anxiety, so eating gluten-free starches like sweet potatoes can help you get more critical carbohydrates in your diet as safely as possible. Your body and brain both need carbs in order to function, and a low-carb diet is connected to depression. Low GI carbs (including sweet potatoes) will deliver the carbohydrates your body requires without increasing your risk of diabetes or gluten sensitivity.
Egg yolks, tuna, sardines, olive oil, and other healthy plant-based and animal fats play a critical role in your mental, emotional, and physical health. High levels of Omega-3 fatty acids are required to produce the neurotransmitters that send emotional signals in your brain and diets high in healthy fats have been linked to reduced anxiety and depression rates.
Did you know that turkey contains a special protein that is needed to produce serotonin, the feel-good chemical that helps you to sleep at night? Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, and studies have indicated that low serotonin levels have been linked to all sorts of emotional and mental health issues, including higher depression rates and even suicidal tendencies. Eating more tryptophan can help to restore healthy serotonin levels in your brain, so it’s a good idea to add more turkey to your diet!