If you tend to lean toward low energy and/or depression, the foods you eat can either be culprits or heroes. Ingesting certain items can make you feel worse. But the good news is, there are foods and snacks that will actually help improve and boost your mood.
Moods, Hormones, Depression, and Inflammation
Sometimes we fall into phases of the dumps. Most of the time the cause is a chemical imbalance. If we’re stressed out all the time, the overload of cortisol eventually wears us down. If we’re not sleeping properly, our “body clock” falls out of rhythm and can lead to mild depression.
Probably one of the biggest culprits for causing the blues is the food we eat. If our diet is full of processed foods, wheat, refined sugars, our ability to process vitamins will be weak. If we’re malnourished, our brain responds by acting blah.
Over 80 percent of our serotonin (feel good) hormone lives in our gut. If our digestive system isn’t functioning optimally, it makes sense that our serotonin levels will be imbalanced. Then, how are we expected to feel good?
In fact, there can even be inflammation in your brain from certain foods. Reducing toxin overload will definitely pick up your spirits. Try choosing these healthy snacks and see if your mood gets the positive boost you’re seeking.
Grab a handful each day, and you’re sure to benefit nutritionally. These nuts contain Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, which are neuroprotective compounds. They’re also high in antioxidants.
For women, walnuts have been found to help reduce nausea in pregnancy. But for men, in particular, these nuts have been shown to improve their mood by up to 28 percent. They also contain melatonin, which manages our circadian rhythm, helping us sleep better. Most everyone’s in a better mood after they’ve had a good night’s rest.
This middle-eastern dip is so versatile and yummy. Its main ingredient is chickpeas, also know as garbanzo beans. Garbanzos are super high in folate, which is vitaminB9.
Studies have shown that many people who are depressed are also low in folate levels—sometimes even deficient. Perhaps that’s because low B9 levels are associated with low levels of serotonin. Garbanzo beans are higher in folate than even spinach and broccoli!
Hummus is generally a mixture of the beans with pureed sesame seeds, olive oil, garlic, and other spices. In most markets today, you can find plain hummus and also various flavors like: sun-dried tomato, sriracha, and avocado. It’s perfect for carrot, celery, or sweet potato chip dipping.
Sunflower or Pumpkin Seeds
Grab a handful of seeds for snack, and you’ll find yourself happier for a couple of reasons. First off, there’s an element of satisfaction in crunching and chewing. Secondly, these seeds (along with hemp, flax, and chia) have the good fats. They help our bodies absorb nutrients from the other healthy foods we eat.
Happy belly makes for a clearer and balanced mind. So, don’t be afraid to snack on healthy grub. In fact, embrace it—it’s worth trying if it makes you feel better. Check out Thrive for other tips on nutrition and positive living.