They say that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” and via our own research, this is pretty accurate.
While there are a whole host of factors that can play with your mind, when it comes to your diet you really can affect your mood through what goes into your stomach.
At this point, most of you are probably envisaging something of a “rabbit food” diet – based on the type of foods that nobody wants to eat in huge quantities. Fortunately, while there are certainly a lot of “healthy” foods on our list, there are also some nice surprises.
We’ll now take a look at some of these foods and show how they can help you through even the worst day.
We’ve all probably heard about the way in which tomatoes can help to stave off cancer and put your heart in better shape.
Well, their antioxidants also have another use. These have been found to aid with depression considerably and in general, just keep your brain ticking over much more efficiently.
If we were to provide further recommendations, turning to cherry tomatoes would be right up there. These contains higher lycopene in the skin and therefore allow you to reap even more antioxidant benefits.
This is one of the more interesting foods on our list, as the effect that kale can have on people is bordering on the extraordinary.
Kale is a food which contains antioxidants and carotenoids in abundance. The upshot of this is that it can make you have a much more optimistic outlook on life; countless studies have proven the statement.
In fact, while we have honed in on kale for the purposes of this example, if you turn to any vegetable of a deep green color you are likely to experience similar effects.
There’s a reason so many of us are putting it in our smoothies after all!
We’ve mentioned kale, so it should have probably gone without saying that spinach wasn’t going to be far away. This has been classed as one of the ultimate superfoods over recent years, with its vitamins and minerals being absolutely second to none.
As well as the above, it also contains high amounts of folic acid. When this is combined with phytonutrients, the fuel it gives your mind is unparalleled and will provide you with that mental drive to power through your day.
It’s a food which is relied on by fitness enthusiasts, so we shouldn’t react surprised to see Greek yogurt make an appearance on this list.
In short, it’s something which can boost your calcium levels immensely. This has the knock-on effect of ‘correcting’ your brain and stopping it from focusing on feelings like irritability.
The versatility of Greek yogurt shouldn’t be underestimated either. Its consistency might seemingly limit it for some people – but many will turn to it instead of everyday foods like butter and mayo, which can allow you to use it in a lot of your meals.
There might be some raised eyebrows with some of the foods that we mention through this guide, for the simple reason that they’re not necessarily regarded as traditionally healthy options. Well, the same can’t be said of coconut – it’s a food which has surged in popularity over recent years and has made the headlines for all the right reasons.
A lot of these headlines haven’t focused on some of the psychological benefits that this food can prompt. Studies have found that it can reduce feelings of depression amongst people, with the potassium levels certainly aiding with this. With coconuts also containing good amounts of protein and fiber, it means they can help you feel ‘full’ which some people may associate with better moods as well!
To add to all of the above, this is one of the more versatile foods around. From coconut oil to coconut milk, from coconut flakes to coconut flour – it’s available in umpteen forms.
You may have heard the emphasis on ‘healthy fats’ over the years, and this is where peanuts enter the picture.
The fat they contain has been proven to help your brain and specifically, pick you up if you are feeling irritated or cranky.
Like a lot of the foods on our list, we should also point out that peanuts are hugely versatile. Whether it’s eating them in their ‘normal’ form, or turning to peanut butter, the ways in which you consume them can be endless.
It’s a food that probably isn’t the first that gets written on your shopping list – but try and change this philosophy.
Beets have been found to boost your mood substantially and will allow you to become more relaxed. As well as this, there is evidence to suggest that they can make you feel happier and ultimately lower levels of depression.
In terms of specific suggestions, let’s put it out there that you should put your beets through as least processing as possible. This allows the antioxidants and nutrients to be preserved and therefore gives you a much bigger ‘punch’ when you consume them.
For years we’ve been told that chocolate is bad for us and on a lot of occasions, that is completely true. There is one exception, though.
This exception comes in the form of dark chocolate.
Chocolate in most forms (including milk) will make your brain produce endorphins and as we all know, these are the hormones which make us feel happier and less stressful. However, when you turn to dark chocolate the benefits are even more significant due to the amount of antioxidants that are found within it.
Suffice to say, there are limits with this food. In other words, don’t go overboard as dark chocolate can still spike your blood sugar levels. A little treat here and now could very much take you out of that bad mood though!
Raspberries, blueberries and blackberries
In short, berries should be your best friend. We’ve mentioned the term frequently through this piece, but ‘antioxidants‘ are the big factor here again. Berries contain countless antioxidants and in short, this can lower your oxidative stress and instantly make you feel better.
There are other reasons why berries are viewed so favorably as well. If you turn to the folate in these foods, this can be essential for improving your outlook on life. It’s been found that people with low amounts of folate struggle to remain positive – so berries aid with this straight away.
Salmon is another one of those foods which has garnered a lot of positive press over the years and when you look at it in-detail, it’s really no surprise.
It all surrounds the omega-3s. These are mentioned a lot for their ability to guard against heart disease, but they can also work to help you mentally. The fact that Omega 3 is being closely considered as a cure for clinical depression backs up the case emphatically – although we should add the caveat that this is still being investigated so should not replace any forms of medication for confirmed cases.
Nevertheless, to at least help to ‘pick you up’, salmon is right up there.