Six Mood-Boosting Snacks To Keep Close When You’re Feeling At Your Lowest
Dr. Ashley Margeson
Feeling low? I always ask myself when the last time I ate was. And while 9 times out of 10 my mid-afternoon crash is because I didn’t eat enough at lunch; I try to focus on reaching for something that will feed my brain long term (and not just that sugary, high calorie treat that only lasts for so long!)
I keep an arsenal of these foods littered in the office lunchroom and in my desk so that I can grab a quick bite when I need it, and here are six of my favourites.
Nuts & Seeds
One of my favourite easy snacks, they provide tryptophan, an amino acid responsible for producing mood-boosting serotonin. Almonds, cashews, peanuts, and walnuts, as well as pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds, are excellent sources. Moreover, nuts and seeds are a large component of both the MIND and Mediterranean diets, which may support a healthy brain. Each of these diets promotes fresh, whole foods and limits your intake of processed items. AND a 10-year study in 15,980 people linked moderate nut intake to a 23% lower risk of depression.
Chocolate is rich in many mood-boosting compounds. Its sugar may improve mood since it’s a quick source of fuel for your brain. And it may release a cascade of feel-good compounds, such as caffeine, theobromine, and N-acylethanolamine — a substance chemically similar to cannabinoids that has been linked to improved mood.
Fermented foods, which include kimchi, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut, may improve gut health and mood. The fermentation process allows live bacteria to thrive in foods that are then able to convert sugars into alcohol and acids. These healthy amounts of bacteria then help contribute to the production of serotonin in our guts.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects many facets of human behavior, such as mood, stress response, appetite, and sexual drive. Not to mention that research is becoming very strong in showing that people with a healthy gut biota experience lower rates of depression.
A fatty fish that is filled with mood boosters: it contains sky-high levels of Vitamin B12, as well as omega-3s, selenium, protein, Vitamin D and choline.
Mash them up with lemon, parsley and sea salt or make a veggie + sardine hash.
Interestingly enough, eating more fruits and vegetables is linked to lower rates of depression. Although the mechanism isn’t clear, a diet rich in antioxidants may help manage inflammation associated with depression and other mood disorders.
Berries pack a wide range of antioxidants and phenolic compounds, which play a key role in combatting oxidative stress — an imbalance of harmful compounds in your body. They’re also particularly high in anthocyanins, a pigment that gives certain berries their purple-blue color. One study associated a diet rich in anthocyanins with a 39% lower risk of depression symptoms. Definitely easy to keep around!
I love these little things in a simple chia seed pudding. Topped with berries and some pumpkin seeds it’s the best mid-afternoon pick me up. Chia seeds are a plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, and they contain a wealth of additional nutrients like protein, fibre, calcium and iron. This mood boosting food is also a good source of magnesium, nature’s relaxant mineral, and it can help reduce stress and anxiety.
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