While it’s obvious that eating a balanced diet—plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans—will do the body good, there are also specific foods that are a mood boost remedy (and no, none of the options are doughnuts, ice cream or your favorite sweet treat, no matter how good they might taste).
Peggy Kotsopolous, RHN and nutritionist for The Little Potato Company, offers a few of her mood-boosting food picks that will help you mind your mental and keep the #quarantine15 at bay.
Cacao contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which promotes a happy, elated feeling, alleviates stress and depression and gives you the same feeling you get while falling in love. Chocolate also contains a neurotransmitter known as anandamide, which can alter dopamine levels in the brain, causing a sense of peace and relaxation.
High fiber, unprocessed carbs, like Creamer potatoes from The Little Potato Company, help us feel less anxious for longer periods of time with their stress-busting nutrients, including vitamins B and C, antioxidants and calcium. Studies also show that carbs can improve mental performance and help mitigate stress-induced depression. They increase serotonin levels in the brain, our feel-good neurotransmitter, and promote a feeling of calmness.
Almonds are especially high in vitamin B2, which helps produce anti-stress hormones, and have tons of magnesium, which supports a relaxed mind and body and promotes nervous-system health. Almonds also contain high levels of zinc, which is crucial for the immune system (an area that often takes a beating when you’re stressed).
Holy Basil (Tulsi) Tea
Holy basil is an herbal plant used historically in Ayurvedic medicine to reduce fever, strengthen the immune system, calm nerves, and act as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Studies have shown that holy basil can lower cortisol and blood sugar levels to help our bodies cope with stress. Research has also shown that ursolic acid and triterpenoic acids, both of which are found in holy basil, effectively improve the body’s response to stress and reduce the amount of cortisol released during stress.
Salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are the most important fat for your brain and for alleviating stress, anxiety and depression. Omega-3 fatty acids help fight anxiety and depression by improving the reception of our mood-lifting neurotransmitter serotonin. If fish isn’t your jam, look for plant-based sources, such as chia seeds, flax seeds and walnuts.