NEED A MOOD BOOST?
We all suffer from low moments, but what’s surprisingly unknown is the relationship between your emotional state and your nutrition. It came as a surpise to me too, but this concept makes sense! Consider the following, when you eat, your body breaks down the food you ingested at the molecular level to allow for nutrient absorption to be transported throughout your bloodstream.
No doubt, certain foods and their corresponding nutrients can have a prolific impact on brain chemistry, and choosing the right foods and actions can boost your mood.
YOU ARE WALKING FOOD!!! It’s true! YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!
Your food becomes a part of your blood, your body tissue, organs, muscle, even hair and nails! Why wouldn’t it become a part of your emotional well being too?
This should come as good news! It means you can directly influence and even manipulate your mood with one simple action: EAT! Now if you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ll know the message cannot stop there! Eating burgers, fries and milkshakes might temporarily alter your mood by releasing dopamine, the pleasure hormone, but it won’t work towards long term, sustainable happiness. Just as is the case with weight loss, repeated daily action provides more lasting results; it’s no different with your emotions. Having a healthy daily diet affects your brain and your happiness, as well as the added benefits of weight loss, energy, and health!
According to the American Council on Exercise there are at least 6 food-based variables that influence your mood. And, they aren’t hard to find or to incorporate throughout the whole day!
TO IMPROVE MORNING FOCUS
- DRINK WATER Start your day with a tall glass of lemon water, and aim to drink 50-70% of your body weight in fluid ounces daily. Our brains are approximately 75% water, so it just makes sense that hydration is critical for mood and all bodily functions. If that’s not enough, a study conducted by Researchers Matthew Kempton and Ulrich Ettinger found that your brain actually SHRINKS when you are dehydrated!!!! They found that your brain’s cognitive function and subsequent performance were compromised when you are dehydrated!!!
- EAT CHIA SEED PUDDING Rich in omega-3s, chia seeds act like “brain food” to support neurotransmitters for clarity of mind and for your happy neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine to boost mood. In a small mason jar, mix 1/4 cup chia seeds with 1 cup coconut milk, along with a drizzle of natural sweetener such as honey, agave, or a sprinkle of monk fruit. Allow mixture to soak for several minutes and mix in fresh blueberries for antioxidants. Grab my chocolate chia seed pudding recipe for extra, chocolatey yum in the morning!
TO PREVENT THE LUNCHTIME SLUMP
- EAT AVOCADO/SALMON TOAST There are two essential omega 3 fatty acids– EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which are found in cold water fish, such as salmon. Omega 3 (EPA/DHA) has proven to have positive effects on depression, emotional well being, and learning disabilities. Throw a bunch of mood-boosting foods on a multi-grain slice of bread and you have one satiating and flavorful mood-boosting lunch! TO MAKE: toast multi-grain bread, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, top with greens, salmon and avocado slices, and top with toasted seeds or nuts; season with a sprinkle of seasonings. The ingredients in this lunchtime toast provide an abundance of phytonutrients, omega-3s, zinc, magnesium, B-vitamins, and amino acids, all of which support your happy hormones serotonin and dopamine for a happy afternoon.
- SUPPLEMENT WITH FISH OIL For those who don’t prefer eating fish, alternatively, fish oil supplements may be included in your daily routine. Fish oil is among the best sources of biologically-active, heart-healthy EPA and DHA. Just monitor for proper doses, contamination, quality sources.
SLIDE THROUGH THE AFTERNOON WITH HIGHER VIBRATION
- DRINK A KOMUCHA/EAT FERMENTED FOODS One of your most critical neurotransmitters, GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), is provided in fermented foods or beverages. GABA inhibits or blocks excitatory action in your brain, decreasing the rapid fire of nerve impulses that can create anxiety, stress, and lack of sleep. GABA also impacts your vision, motor control, and even muscle tone, so it’s important to support effective GABA levels by decreasing caffeine intake and exercising, doing yoga or meditation. In one study, an hour of yoga naturally boosted GABA by 27%! And while GABA is NOT contained in any fresh foods, it’s provided in fermented foods and drinks.
- FOODS TO INCLUDE: kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, miso, and tempeh. And look to add foods with GABA boosting capabilities such as brown rice (germ), greens, sprouted grains, barley, chestnuts, sweet potatoes, and nutrients including magnesium, probiotics, B6, passionflower, Omega 3, l-theanine, kava, iron, and zinc.
- DRINK AFTERNOON GREENS Packed with chlorophyll, alkalizing and healing greens, as well as potassium, this smoothie helps to move your body to a higher vibration, so you avoid that 3 P.M. afternoon slump.
- BASIC GREEN SMOOTHIE: mix all to a smooth consistency in your blender
- 1 cup kale or collard greens firmly packed, stems removed, coarsely chopped
- 1 Granny Smith apple, coarsely chopped
- 1 frozen banana
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 cups water (plus more if needed)
- BASIC GREEN SMOOTHIE: mix all to a smooth consistency in your blender
- TAKE AN AFTERNOON WALK OUTSIDE Not new to the “make you happy” scene, vitamin D, obtained from sunlight maintains healthy dopamine and serotonin levels…your “happy hormones!” With more individuals working inside and less outdoor recreation, Vitamin D is lacking in many individuals. So take a quick, lunchtime walk in the sun to boost your vitamin D!
BEAT THE EVENING BLUES
- EAT EGGS A member of the B Vitamin family, Choline, is primarily found in egg yolks and is associated with preserving the structural integrity of our cells and plays a critical role in our cognitive health by regulating nutrients coming in and toxins leaving brain cells. Ultimately, Choline diminishes anxiety. Why not prepare an easy Sheetpan Chickpea and Egg Medley for dinner?
- CHOOSE QUALITY CARBOHYDRATES AND PROTEIN Tryptophan is serotonin’s building block, and it is contained in protein rich foods such as nuts, seeds, tofu, cheese, red meat, chicken, turkey, fish, oats, beans, lentils, and eggs. Carbohydrates initiate the chemical process that allows tryptophan to enter the brain and subsequently to release serotonin. Alertness, rest, and happiness all rely on a healthy dose of serotonin, and it starts with carbs and proteins of the clean variety!
- INCLUDE PLANTS Greens and plant matter provide phytochemicals that act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, which are critical to protect your brain cells and your entire body by reducing oxidative stress, and chronic inflammation. According to the CDC, Inflammation has consistently been linked to the top 15 chronic diseases. A plant rich diet is critical for memory, learning, health and HAPPINESS!!!!
TO SLEEP WELL
- DRINK CHERRY JUICE It’s a well researched but little known fact that tart cherries activate melatonin release for quality sleep, so you wake up refreshed the next morning. Cherry juice alone won’t make you lose weight or instantly create a healthier you, but rich in anti-oxidants, and very high in anti-inflammatories, concentrated tart cherry juice supports overall health.might just be the tipping point for better sleep, the little known secret to health and weight loss.
In my Health Made Easy program, you will add these nutrients, decrease pain and inflammation, and increase your happy hormones for about the same cost as your daily Starbucks, which you will inevitably also kick to the curb!