Could you use a little pick-me-up? I have some good news if you’re a little down in the dumps or battling those winter blues. You can increase your happiness with the power of food. That’s it. No prescription. No pills. No side effects. Just healthy, feel-good foods are proven to combat depression and boost your mood.
I love using food as medicine because you’re committing to a lifestyle change. It isn’t a temporary “quick fix.” The foods on this list can help promote a long-term increase in happiness when enjoyed regularly.
So get ready to nourish your body and soul with delicious foods that increase your happiness, boost energy, and satisfy your cravings. And they do satisfy; chocolate AND carbs are included. (You’re welcome.)
Just having a good reason to eat is enough to bring on happiness. It tastes good, instantly boosts your mood, and makes you feel more vibrant and energized! Eating small amounts of dark chocolate (about 1.4 ounces) a few times a week reduces cortisol and other stress hormones. Skip the sugary milk chocolate and go for the darkest organic chocolate.
If you’re an athlete, grab an occasional glass of chocolate milk. It provides a great protein/carbohydrate combination that helps you recover after intense workouts and improves your mental and physical performance.
There can be too many good things, so remember that your nutrition is balanced and in moderation. Making smart choices and maintaining that balance will keep you healthy and happy!
It is a big one! Many people assume that they need to significantly increase their protein intake to feel better if they’re feeling down. It is not recommended. Too much protein is detrimental to your mood (hello, grouchy and irritable!) and can cause serious health concerns. To safely boost your mood, aim for a balance of some protein mixed with complex carbs (oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, etc.). This combination is what your brain needs to stimulate the production of serotonin – that all-important mood-regulating hormone.
It is the perfect combo for those cold, dark winter months when we tend to feel a little blue and crave carbs. Whip up a great meal with your tribe and feed your soul!
These foods do wonders for your mood! They give it a real boost and help keep depression away. They can also help lower your risk for heart disease, reduce inflammation and regulate neurological function. Omega-3s increase dopamine – the neurotransmitter that helps regulate your brain’s pleasure and reward centers. Excellent food choices include salmon, flaxseeds, sardines, anchovies, egg yolks, herring, mackerel, and tuna.
Fruits & Vegetables
I love how easily we can add these healthy whole foods to our lives! How simple is it to grab a banana or a handful of berries on your way out the door? Broccoli, spinach, and sweet potatoes are quick and easy to prepare. It’s such a win-win! You get hydrated, energized, and a significant mood boost with such little effort. Add fruits and veggies to your meal plan for a big psychological payoff.
Remember that food is more than just nourishment; it’s medicine. We’re in this together, so let’s encourage each other to enjoy these foods that will bring on the happy and fight the blues. No pharmacy is required.
Make healthy living a part of every day.
The light in me honors the light in you. Namaste.
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- Use food as medicine. Talk to your doctor about how you might enhance your happiness with food instead of pills and supplements.
- Try new things. Incorporate healthy new recipes into your life. Making (and eating!) feel-good meals with your tribe is a great way to bond and have fun.
- Make a plan. Prepare meals and snacks in advance. You’ll always have something healthy at the ready, which helps keep you stress-free and happy.