Even in a typical day, we could all use a pick-me-up, and sometimes your standard coffee or tea can’t provide that extra push to get you up and out of a funk. Luckily, your options don’t end with the barista. That’s where these mood-boosting foods come in. Not only will they give you an immediate kick, but eating more of them over time can help increase your overall energy levels. So, next time you find yourself with a general malaise, try biting into one of these:
At the Nestle Research center in – you guessed it – Switzerland, they have found that eating 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate daily for two weeks reduced stress hormones, including cortisol in people who were already highly stressed.
Pasta-phobia be damned, the right complex carbs are essential to energy levels. Complex carbs give you sugars that are beneficial to your keeping your energy levels up every day. Most professional athletes will load up on complex carbs before something that requires a massive exertion of energy. Researchers also suspect that carbs promote the production of serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical.
Fruits and Veggies
Antioxidants that are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids in fish are associated with lower risk of depression. Folate, a B vitamin found in beans, citrus and dark green vegetables like spinach, affects neurotransmitters that could have an impact on how you feel any day. As always, the more the better. Those with vitamin C or potassium will give you an immediate boost – some studies have shown a banana each morning can make your brain function just as highly as a cup of coffee.
Oily, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, rainbow trout) and mussels will give you omega-3s—a key mood-boosting nutrient and one our bodies don’t produce. Omega-3s alter brain chemicals linked with mood—specifically dopamine and serotonin.
Researchers believe that the spice works almost the same way as Prozac, by releasing more serotonin to the brain with every bite. Try adding some to the next pot of rice, stir-fry or salad dressing and see if you experience an extra skip in your step.
Strange right? Actually, the scent of coconut may blunt your natural “fight or flight” response, slowing your heart rate in times of increased stress. People who breathed in coconut fragrance in a small pilot study at Columbia University saw their blood pressure recover faster after a stressful activity. It might just remind us of suntan lotion, pina coladas and an exotic beach far, far away from your desk – either way, coconut is a must.
There you have it! Five easy-to-enjoy foods, with no cold-pressed juice in sight. What would you add to this list?