It’s not uncommon to use food as a way of making ourselves feel better if we’re stressed, bored or lonely, but more often than not these foods are typically unhealthy ‘comfort’ foods full of fat, salt and sugar which really don’t help our waistlines, and do nothing to cure our negative moods either. However, certain foods contain important nutrients and vitamins which we typically lack when we are experiencing certain negative feelings and moods. Here we have some healthy foods which help boost your mood while also helping you to maintain your new healthy lifestyle.
1. Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are a great source of the mineral selenium, which is often lacking in our diets. Studies have shown increased depression, irritability, anxiety and tiredness in people with low selenium levels, plus selenium is also required for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. As well as being great mood-boosters, Brazil nuts are a good source of filling fiber and muscle-building protein plus they contain plenty of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. Try eating Brazil nuts as a mid-morning snack along with some fruit, or sprinkle chopped Brazil nuts on a salad or stir-fry. Selenium can also be found in our weight loss multivitamins Phen Vites to make sure you’re getting enough of this crucial nutrient every day.
2. Oily Fish
Studies have shown that people who are deficient in omega 3 may be more susceptible to depression and low mood. The omega 3 fatty acids found in oily fish, such as salmon and sardines, make up a large percentage of our brain tissue. Eating a diet high in omega 3 will also keep your brain healthy and improve mood by keeping brain cells flexible, so the brain's messengers – neurotransmitters – can work more effectively. The omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil can also help weight loss efforts as these good fats assist your body to metabolize fat better and act as anti-inflammatory agents helping you to achieve greater weight loss around your waist.
Bananas contain the important amino acid tryptophan and also vitamins A, B6 and C, fiber, potassium, phosphorous, iron and carbohydrate. Mood-boosting carbohydrates aid in the absorption of tryptophan in the brain, and vitamin B6 helps convert the tryptophan into the mood-lifting hormone serotonin. This helps to boost your mood and also aids good sleep. Because of its ability to raise serotonin levels, tryptophan has been used in the treatment of a variety of conditions, such as insomnia, depression and anxiety, and the potassium in bananas is great if you’re feeling tired or stressed. Bananas are great for breakfast as they provide lots of slow-releasing energy, meaning they will keep you feeling fuller for longer; the best ones to choose are slightly green ones, as they will boost your metabolism with their 12.5 grams of resistant starch, more than twice the amount found in a ripe banana.
Lentils are a fantastic kitchen staple; with their combination of fiber and complex carbs they are a great low-calorie way to fill you up, plus they’re high in protein. Also, as a complex carbohydrate, like bananas, they have the added benefit of helping to increase the brains production of the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. This results in a calmer, happier state of mind with less anxiety as stabilizing your blood sugar level is important to maintain a stable mood, as well as stable hunger levels. Lentils are also high in folate – deficiencies in folate have been linked to depression, so topping up your folate levels with Phen Vites is a great way to ensure you’re getting enough. Lentils can also boost your iron levels which will give you energy and therefore put you in a better mood, and iron is also crucial for maintaining a good metabolism. A great way to include lentils in your diet is to use them in homemade soups and stews – to make them easier to digest, soak them for a few hours before cooking.
5. Chicken and Turkey
Eat chicken and turkey breast to increase your intake of the amino acid tryptophan. The body uses tryptophan to make serotonin – one of the most important neurotransmitters affecting mood, as well as to make the hormone melatonin, which helps regulate sleep. They also contain another amino acid, tyrosine, which can help reduce symptoms of depression as well as help us to avoid feeling the blues in the first place. Tyrosine, which is also found in Phen Vites, is used to make the hormone adrenaline – low levels of which have been associated with depression. Both meats are also excellent sources of protein, keeping you full for longer and helping to stave off hunger pangs and cravings.
Certain deficiencies in B vitamins have been linked to depression – serotonin production can actually be hindered by low B vitamin levels. Important B vitamins to look out for include folate, vitamins B5, B6 and B12, which are all included in Phen Vites. Eating leafy green vegetables – such as spinach or broccoli, for example – will help keep your levels up as well as helping to fill you up on less calories. Spinach is great raw in a salad or add it to stir-fries, omelets and soups.
Vitamin D deficiency is linked to many health problems – such as depression, osteoporosis, heart disease and cancer. The best source of vitamin D is sunlight (the action of sunlight on the skin allows our bodies to manufacture vitamin D), but if you aren't getting enough sun, try to include foods that include vitamin D in your diet such as yogurt. The calcium found in yogurt can also help reduce your levels of stress and anxiety, plus it acts as a fat-burner so make sure to include good sources of calcium in your diet.
8. Dark Chocolate
The good news is that chocolate is one of the 'bad' foods you should be eating, as chocolate isn't just a delicious treat, it can give your mood a lift as well. A small square of dark chocolate can cause the brain to release endorphins and boost serotonin levels, plus studies have shown that those who eat a little chocolate each day produce less stress hormones and their anxiety levels decrease. Dark chocolate also slows down digestion so you feel full for longer and eat less at your next meal, and dark chocolate is full of MUFAs which boost your metabolism to burn more fat and calories, plus indulging in a little chocolate will stop feelings of deprivation while curbing sweet cravings.
Boosting your mood is especially important at this time of year, and while this delicious variety of foods will help to top up your feel-good hormones and many of the nutrients we're missing in our modern diets, it’s often difficult to eat a wide enough variety of food while also trying to lose weight. For this reason, we recommend that you add a weight loss multivitamin such as Phen Vites to your daily routine to benefit from many of these mood-boosting nutrients and more, including the serotonin booster 5-HTP which also boosts your mood, suppresses appetite, and helps to regulate sleep patterns. And, for your best chance of success, combining multivitamins with our weight loss supplements, Phen Caps - which boost energy, reduce cravings and curb your appetite - will give you everything you need for a happy, healthy weight loss journey!