The foods and drinks that we consume regularly can seriously impact our moods and stress levels, and there are some nutrients that can uplift our spirits and others that can make us feel tired and irritable. Thus, when we are in a bad mood, it's important to consume foods and drinks that make us feel happier and more emotionally stable.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on overcoming negative thoughts during the day in order to start fresh and get back to a positive mindset. When we let our bad moods take over, we find ourselves ruminating in the lows and unable to break free. Being positive in the day is the best way to be productive, energized, creative, inspired and just feeling awesome, so when a bad mood approaches, it's beneficial to try and get out of that gloomy state as quickly as possible. While breathing exercises, meditation, exercise, fresh air, and other factors might help kill a bad mood, a terrific and easy way to find that quick solace is to eat the right nutrients to stabilize your emotions and get you back to a happy state. Look to these fifteen foods and drinks to reduce stress and boost your wellbeing.
1. Whole Grains
Complex carbohydrates can relax the body and reduce tension. "Eating carbohydrates, preferably 100 percent whole grains, with protein-rich foods may boost the amount of tryptophan in your brain. Tryptophan is then converted into serotonin, also known as the “feel-good” hormone," says Keri Gans, MS, RDN, CDN, a spokesperson for America's Better Sandwich, over email with Bustle. So if you find yourself in a bad mood in the middle of the day, try enjoying a sandwich for lunch.
Due to their high magnesium and potassium content, bananas have the power to relax our senses and make us feel happier during the day. Enjoying a banana with a little bit of protein makes for a terrific snack, as the extra protein will also keep us full longer. Bananas are also great after a workout to replenish lost electrolytes and re-balance our hormones.
A probiotic, experts suggest that the properties in kombucha can lower inflammation in the body and make us feel happier overall. Probiotics are great for the body overall, as they aid in digestion and in soothing the body. Whether you buy kombucha at a grocery or health food store or make it yourself, it's a great drink to sip with your meals during the day.
Oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna, are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which can fight inflammation and promote the excretion of serotonin, the "happy hormone." Consuming fish two or three times weekly can provide major benefits in regulating mood and lowering stress. Try a can of tuna for an easy lunch, or cook a piece of salmon with a side of veggies and lentils for a hearty dinner.
Good old water is really important for snapping us out of a bad mood and boosting our mental alertness. When we are dehydrated, we might notice a rapid onset of fatigue, nausea, and irritability, and so it's important to stay hydrated and drink lots of fluids during the day. If you feel a bad mood coming on, drink a glass of water and see how you feel in a little bit.
Loaded with healthy fats, potassium and vitamin E, avocados boost serotonin in the body and fight negativity. Plus, they are absolutely delicious! Wake up right with avocado toast topped with an egg on whole grain toast. You can also add avocado to salads for lunch in order to avoid the dreaded afternoon slump.
7. Lean Meats
Chicken, turkey and lean beef contain tryptophan, which has been shown to bust a bad mood and increase serotonin levels. Tryptophan can also make us feel more relaxed, mentally and physically. B vitamins, especially B12, is also great for boosting mood. "They are anti-stress by nature, with the ability to help alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety and tension. They are also a great source of clean energy, which can also promote happiness and mood stability," says Shannon Race, founder of Vital Proteins, over email with Bustle. She recommends her beef liver supplements for added benefit.
Due to their healthy fat content, as well as high protein, magnesium and vitamin E counts, almonds boast many properties that can make us feel happier and stabilize our moods when we are feeling heated and stressed. Nuts are high in protein to make us more alert and to regulate our moods, and they also contain tryptophan to relax tense muscles. Other options include pistachios and walnuts.
Sea vegetables, such as blue algae, spirulina and seeweed have been shown to boost our moods due to a higher serotonin content. Plus, sea vegetable are also high in iodine, which is great for thyroid health and hormonal balance. When our hormones aren't balanced, we are less able to break a bad mood and combat negativity. Eating these foods in a smoothie or in whole, natural form will provide great benefits.
"The superfood beans contain folate, and folate can play a key role in regulating your mood," advises Alicia Ward, VP of Marketing at Beanitos, over email with Bustle. "Beans are also rich in amino acids – one amino acids founds in beans is tryptophan which is used by the body to produce serotonin – serotonin helps the body feel relaxed," she adds. Enjoy beans with fish, salad or ancient grains for bonus happy points!
Berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries, have tons of antioxidants and fiber to boost our moods and make us feel lighter. "Fiber rich foods take longer to digest and can help you extend your energy boost," advises Ward. To increase satiety, pair berries with oatmeal in the morning (even more fiber!) or with a Greek yogurt as an afternoon snack. The extra protein in these items will curb hunger.
12. Sweet Potatoes
High in potassium, sweet potatoes can boost our moods. Toss some in a salad, use as a side for a lean protein, or enjoy baked with a few nutritious toppings and veggies. "When your body is lacking potassium you experience weakness, tiredness and could lead to lack of exercise," advises Ward. "Those that get enough potassium have healthy bones and well developed muscles which can help with being active," she adds, and activity can break a bad mood, as well.
13. Vanilla Greek Yogurt
Researchers have found that the scent of vanilla flavored Greek yogurt can instantly boost our moods and make us feel more relaxed and content. Look for brands that are low in sugar, or get plain but add a hint of vanilla bean or extract to it. However, Greek yogurt on its own, plain, is also beneficial, as it contains probiotics to make us happier. Whichever your preference, add some nuts for additional protein and mood-boosting benefits.
Enjoying a cup or two of coffee might enhance our mood when we are feeling low. Studies have shown that this stimulant can give a quick burst of energy and positivity, and so drinking a few cups can be beneficial for our health. However, don't drink coffee too late in the day, as it can then interfere with our sleep patterns. Also, avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners, as they can hinder those positive effects.
15. Cottage Cheese
Experts suggest that tyrosine can increase our moods and make us feel happier, and it is found in lean dairy, as well as lean proteins, such as meats. Enjoy cottage cheese or yogurt for breakfast or a mid-day snack, and include nuts and fruit for extra antioxidants, protein and fiber. Cottage cheese is high in protein and calcium, which can enhance our moods and satisfy our hunger so that we don't feel hangry later on.
If you notice a bad mood setting in, banish the blues with the right nutrients. Eating a diet that is high in the right vitamins and minerals will help prevent negativity from seeping further and ruining your day. In addition to food, try a few fun activities or relaxation techniques to further reduce stress and get back some energy.
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