Foods that make You Happy
Food affects your mood. I don’t think there really is any denying that. Have you ever been dragging all day because you haven’t eaten enough and are just downright cranky? Ive definitely been there.
I think that many people underestimate the power that food has on their mental state. I mean a lot of people probably realize it when they are acting like a monster because they have reached a point of hanger so extreme that someone just looking at them wrong sets them off. I think we have all been there.
I also think that many people don’t realize how crappy the food they are eating is making them feel because they do not know how great they can really feel. As someone who has boundless energy daily, sleeps great, and has energy to exercise, study, and get through school, I want to share my tips with you on how I do it all without dragging by 4 pm.
Basically, I attribute most of my energy to the foods that I eat. The foods that I eat give me the energy to exercise, focus in class, and cook healthy food.
I am going to share what foods work for me and give me the most energy, along with foods that have been proven by science to boost energy, mental clarity, and happiness. Keep in mind that I am not a dietitian but am simply sharing my knowledge and experiences with my readers.
The human brain demands a constant supply of glucose. So where should we get that glucose? From whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and starches. The brain also needs some healthy fats to nourish it which you can get from plant sources!
Here’s the low down on the foods that will make you a vibrant unicorn with the energy level of an energizer bunny.
One of my favorite ways to eat avocado is mashed up with some garlic, lime, and black pepper with veggies for dipping (carrots specifically)! Avocados have high levels of antioxidants that prevent oxidative stress and inflammation from free radicals. Avocados are also high in copper and iron which aid in regenerating blood thus leading to increased oxygen content to the brain.
Beans & Legumes
Chickpeas are any healthy eaters best friend. Not only are they delicious, filling, and super versatile, they are packed with vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 helps with the production of neurotransmitters which send signals back and forth between the brain and the rest of the body. Vitamin B6 has also been shown to be an effective method to combat/treat premenstrual depression.
Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants which fight the production of free radicals, which can damage molecules in cells and contribute to ageing and diseases like cancer. Chia seeds are also loaded with omega 3 fatty acids which are important in brain function.
All berries are high in Vitamin C and blueberries are anti-oxidant powerhouses. Blueberry molecules (anthyocyanins) also increase brain cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the primary memory organ in the brain and processes/stores both short term and long term memory.
Spinach/ Leafy Greens
Spinach and other leafy greens such as kale, collard greens, and romaine are all packed with iron. Iron deficiency is fairly common in our society and iron deficiency has been linked to memory difficulties. The red blood cells in the body need iron to be able to function properly. My advice to get more leafy greens into your diet is to add many handfuls of greens to your morning smoothie to help you feel energized and healthy.
Complex carbohydrates release glucose slowly which helps the body to stay full longer while providing a constant stream of glucose to the brain. Whole grains help to release serotonin which is a mood boosting neurotransmitter. Try brown rice/ wild rice, whole grain/ healthy breads (I’m talking those ones from the freezer section like Ezekiel), farrow, couscous, etc.
Tomatoes are another antioxidant powerhouse as they contain lycopene. Tomatoes have been linked with numerous health benefits from lowering heart disease, promoting oral health, bone health, and improved mood.
Everyone knows that bananas are one of the best sources of potassium out there. What you may not know is the bananas are also a great source of tryptophan and vitamin B folate, both of which have been shown to regulate mood and lower depression.
Dark Chocolate (sans milk)/ Raw Cacao
As if you need a reason to indulge in a little dark chocolate right?? Well it is loaded with polyphenols which have been shown to increase mood and improve brain focus. I love the Endangered Species brand of dark chocolate because it is Vegan, fair trade, and eco-friendly! I advise going for the dark chocolate that is free of milk and is high quality- it tastes best and won’t make you feel sick!
Edamame is a great source of magnesium. Magnesium plays over 300 different roles in the body and helps maintain and protect your health. One of magnesium’s main roles is to increase serotonin which is a major contributor to happiness. It has a long history as a part of homeopathic remedies due to its astound ability to regulate mood. Its the perfect side dish to pair with sushi, is great in stir fry, and mighty delicious on its own!