It is a known fact that emotions play a huge role in our human experience. Did you know that happiness, a built in motivator that we strive and struggle for most of our lives, is actually as simple as a chemical reaction taking place in the brain? Interestingly enough, the foods that we choose to eat directly impact our moods and state of being through the nutrients they contain (or lack thereof). I have always had a strong connection with food and over the years I have come to understand a thing or two about what I eat how I feel physically and emotionally. Some words of wisdom: It is best to choose wisely what you decide to feed your body!
We all have our days in which we may need to unwind, de-stress or have a little “pick me up”. Here are some foods that you can easily incorporate in your diet that can put a smile on your face and make you feel like you are over the moon (happy) in no time:
1. Dark Chocolate
Dark Chocolate (70% or higher cocoa content) is full of antioxidants (polyphenols, flavanols, catechins and more) and triggers the walls of the blood vessels to relax, lowering the blood pressure and improving circulation. It also reduces the level of stress hormones in the body while giving your brain performance a boost! Dark chocolate contains high levels of manganese that helps with premenstrual syndrome symptoms; relieving fatigue, depression and irritability. Also, it is known to trigger a euphoria similar to a feeling of being in love!
Oh my, I love you chocolate.
Regular coffee consumption has demonstrated ‘positivity’ in those who drink it. Having a cup of joe in the morning has been studied to boost energy (yes, there is a caffeine connection there), trigger feelings kindness and even pleasure. It is also linked to associations with friendship, affection and LOVE. Studies have shown that women who drank 1-2 cups of coffee a day were 15% less likely to develop depression.
Caffe Latte please, with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
3. Yogurt (Probiotic Rich Food)
Healthy bacteria in the digestive tract are known to reduce aggressive thoughts and negativity! This means the type and amount of bacteria in your gut impacts directly your mood (it’s called the gut-brain axis). The probiotic presence along with the high calcium content found in yogurt are the perfect way to get those happy vibes going on, quite literally.
Breakfast? Yogurt. Lunch? Yogurt. Dinner? ummm, yogurt.
4. Green Tea
In a study with over 400,000 participants, Green tea was shown decrease the levels of psychological stress by 20% in those individuals who drank 5 or more cups a day. It has tons of other benefits, including anti-aging effects, through its high anti-oxidant load, as well as fat burning properties for effective weight management.
Green tea? Yes, make it 10!
Popcorn has high levels of tryptophan that directly stimulate the production of serotonin in the brain, i.e. a happy chemical. Therefore, it has its way of boosting your mood and making you feel more relaxed, less anxious and even sleepy! Other foods that are famous for their tryptophan content are turkey, certain fishes and even seeds and nuts. It works so well that foods rich in this amino acid are given by nutritionists to depression patients to help them balance their brain chemicals.
Party? I’ll bring the popcorn.
*Happy Eating lovelies!*