Sometimes you need a little somethin’ somethin’ to perk you up midweek. Even the most chipper among us have off days, and daily stresses can take a toll on your outlook. We get it. While you may want to reach for coffee and sugar and deep fried everything, and/or declare that noon is officially wine o’ clock, you’ll have much better luck warding off a funk with these mood-lifting powerhouses. Eat ’em and get happy!
Walnuts (and chia, flax and pumpkin seeds)
The alpha-linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 fatty acid, found in these nuts and seeds builds brain tissue and helps neurotransmitters keep your brain working optimally. A healthy brain is a happy brain!
This author’s favorite food is chock-full of natural stimulants, most notably phenylethyamine, also referred to as “the love drug”, because it induces the same giddy, romantic feels you get when you’re in love; and theobromine, which has caffeine-like effects minus the post-triple-venti-cappucino crash. Chocolate also contains anandamide, a fatty compound that binds to brain receptors, generating feelings of elation. And, as if that weren’t enough, this superfood ups your serotonin levels, warding off depression. Just steer clear of sugary milk chocolate and stick to the stuff with 70% or higher cacao.
Often billed as a grain, quinoa is actually a pseudoseed. Simultaneously a complex carb and a complete protein, this mood-booster stabilizes your blood sugar levels and keeps you focused. Plus, eating complex carbohydrates increases serotonin levels in your brain. Um… sign us up to live on quinoa and chocolate? Is that how this works?
Kale, collards, spinach, chard — the whole verdant gang — are mega-high in folate, a B vitamin. Folate produces neurotransmitters that regulate, you guessed it, serotonin. Bonus: leafy greens are also packed with calcium, planty proteins, and cancer-fighting antioxidants.
High in protein and folate, as well as energizing riboflavin and B12, eggs are also remarkably high in vitamin D — the same vitamin found in sunshine. Sunny side up, indeed! And while it’s true that egg yolks are high in cholesterol, when eaten in moderation, the spirit-lifting benefits of eating yolks far outweigh the consequences.
These little stress-busters make you feel anything but blue. Blueberries contain magnesium and manganese, which alleviate irritability and insomnia symptoms; as well as anxiety-banishing vitamins C and E. So eat blue, be merry!