Food has been offering us comfort since our caveman days, and it still does. It’s no wonder that at the end of a hard day, you find yourself flopped down in front of the TV, munching away on a bag of salted potato chips or eating something equally unhealthy! But while these appear comforting at first, the effects are extremely short lived. When they wear off, you’re left feeling worse than before, because now you have the added guilt of having consumed so much junk! But not all comfort food is bad; some of them are loaded with nutrition along with mood boosting benefits. We’ve listed 7 healthy foods that boost your mood and not to mention that it is awesome for your health!
1. Dark Chocolate
Everyone’s favorite comfort food – chocolate! But of course, we’re talking about the heart healthy dark variety here; the milk chocolate does nothing for you except add inches to your waistline. Chocolate is found to increase endorphins and serotonin levels, which enhance the feel good feeling in your brain. Have just a couple of squares and go for the 70% cocoa kind; they offer the maximum health benefits.
Dairy products in general contain lots of calcium, folate and magnesium. Yogurt in particular has probiotics which soothe your gut. It is also a good source of protein which stimulates the production of dopamine and norepinephrine which are directly related to your mood. Go for the low fat variety and boost its nutritional benefits by adding some fresh berries and nuts.
There’s a reason that people who go on low carb diets eventually cave in; no one can stand the resultant irritability! Carbohydrates provide you with energy and play an important role in increasing serotonin levels in the brain, and has a direct correlation to your mood. But too many refined carbs can backfire, so stick to whole grains and ensure you eat it with adequate protein and produce.
4. Citrus fruit
A citrus fragrance is universally considered refreshing. Just a whiff and almost instantaneously, you feel better! Of course, the Vitamin C in them plays a role, a deficiency of which is found to be related to depression and mood swings. Even the zest is found to be beneficial in boosting your mood. Try to have the fruit itself; otherwise, you can also juice them or include a squeeze in your tea.
Bananas are a mood boosting superfood; they contain tryptophan, potassium, phosphorous, carbohydrates and vitamins. All these make bananas a guaranteed comfort food, along with satisfying hunger pangs and regularizing your bowel movements. After all, no constipated person is ever in a good mood!
6. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are great for boosting your mood, and its not just because of the satisfying crunch they provide. They are excellent at increasing serotonin levels, cure hunger cravings and improve metabolism. They’re the ideal snack to be munching in front of the TV, rather than those oily fries!
Our grandmothers were on to something when they tried to make us drink glasses of milk steeped in saffron strands. The world’s most expensive spice has many health benefits, one if which is increasing serotonin levels. Studies have found that just a pinch of saffron is sufficient to ease symptoms in women suffering from PMS.
Along with hunger, dehydration can also trick your brain into feeling upset. Always keep a bottle of water handy to sip from, so that you can ensure hydration at all times. This is especially important during monsoons, when the damp weather might cause SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and people don’t feel as thirsty.
Most conventional comfort foods perk you up by providing an instant spike in your sugar levels. Healthy versions soothe you slowly, and clear your mind allowing you to think clearly and confront your problems with a fresh perspective. So the next time you’re feeling down, you know what to reach out for!
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