When we think of food that makes us happy, it is easy to imagine our sinfully yummy indulgences in the form of ice cream, cakes, cookies, and whatever we fondly call, “my comfort foods.” However, these foods don’t boost our happiness. These foods are consoling us from our negative emotions. See the difference?
Can Food Really Make Us Happier?
Grabbing that pack of chips to drown your sorrows can be very tempting, but that is far from how you actually want to feel. That is not how food can make you feel better, at least not in a sustainable way. This is what is known as bingeing or emotional eating.
The more stressed out or depressed we feel, the more we crave these kinds of foods. However, if you really want to feel good inside and out, the best thing to do is to eat good food that can be both tasty and nutritious.
Recent studies have confirmed that healthy eating impacts not just our physical bodies, but very importantly, our mental health as well. In a time when depression has grown like an epidemic, groundbreaking validation has been found between food and emotions.
What these studies are telling us is that an unhealthy diet made up of sugary and processed foods, foods high in trans fats, refined carbohydrates, and foods that cause inflammation puts us at a greater risk of experiencing depression.
Understanding how the foods we eat directly impact both our long-term health and happiness may hopefully create more mindful eating habits and develop into a more conscious outlook on eating.
To help alleviate the risk of depression, it is best to maintain a healthy diet. This in turn can boost our happiness right now and in the longer term.
Before grabbing your next snack or meal of the day, check out these foods below, as these foods can actually help boost your happiness. We are not referring to comfort foods this time!
Happiness Food List
Avocados contain tryptophan, from which our bodies synthesize serotonin, the feel-good chemical that helps boost happiness and feelings of well-being. A fat-rich food, avocadoes contain healthy monounsaturated fat which is loaded with health benefits. Avocados also help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, decrease inflammation, and help maintain your body’s cells.
Blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, and strawberries contain the nutrients anthocyanins and anthocyanidins which greatly help with depression, anxiety, and stress.
Beets are dense with nutrients and are considered a superfood. They also support serotonin production, the body’s feel-good chemical, which helps to elevate mood. Due to the folic acid content, beets further help stabilize emotional and mental health. As a bonus, it’s an antioxidant powerhouse.
A high-protein diet containing plenty of chicken can be a great boost in effectively reducing depression, according to research. Chicken is rich in B vitamins such as B6, a great mood-boosting nutrient, and B12, which helps calm the mind and body.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Healthy, monounsaturated fat like olive oil can be great at improving a person’s mood. Drizzle it on your salads to enjoy its health benefits.
Probiotic-rich food like Greek yogurt breeds good bacteria in the gut, a key driver of our physical and mental health.
Green tea is loaded with theanine, an amino acid that greatly promotes relaxation. It can help lower stress and anxiety and boost your mood.
Mushrooms are an underrated superfood. They are high in selenium, a key mineral that helps with depression, fatigue, and anxiety, and as well they are also a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) is also present in high amounts in mushrooms. They are the only plant source of natural vitamin D, a key nutrient that can help lift your mood.
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, an essential nutrient that can help lower blood pressure and generally help reduce inflammation in the body. It’s also a great mood-booster! It can be a great substitute for fat-rich meat.
Seaweed is a great source of iodine, a key nutrient that helps fight depression. Iodine is critical to maintaining thyroid health, which also influences the metabolism, energy, weight, and brain, making it an essential nutrient in the body that isn’t easily found in many foods.
An iron deficiency can result in feelings of weakness, irritability, and loss of energy. Spinach is high in iron and folic acid. Eating spinach can help address problems in energy and mood swings.
Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that is found in tomatoes. Lycopene helps fight inflammation (a leading cause of depression) and protects the brain.
Key tip: Drizzle your tomatoes with olive oil to increase lycopene absorption!
Keep this list handy so that you have plenty of mood-boosting foods at your disposal, if and when you need them!