There is a very strong connection between food and mood.
It’s undeniable and has been proven by science over and over again.
But it still, often, gets overlooked! Someone feels consistently depressed or anxious, but their nutrition is rarely the first thing they address in order to feel better.
Food IS medicine, and it’s the first line of defense for ANYTHING that feels off in your body OR in your mind.
Eating is something we do every day, multiple times a day. And, each bite takes us closer to health and happiness, or closer to dis-ease and discomfort.
The Standard American Diet, filled with too much sugar, refined carbohydrates, processed foods, and other inflammatory variables, wreaks havoc on the body and brain by creating inflammation, leaching vitamins and minerals from the body, and destroying health at a cellular level.
But, the fix is SIMPLE!
Add in the good stuff!
Add in lots of vitamin/mineral-rich fruits and veggies, whole grains, leafy greens, FRESH foods. And, pay close attention to your sugar intake, being conscious about crowding it out as much as possible.
In a recent study, participants only changed their food intake, adding in 3-5 servings of fruits AND vegetables each day, adding in healthy sources of protein, and limiting processed/packaged/fake foods that contain too much sugar, and guess what?! Within 3 SHORT weeks, their symptoms of depression changed dramatically!
Wanna try it?! Great!
Here are a few delicious foods that are powerful for brain health that you can begin ADDING IN right now.
Whole grains like quinoa!
Quinoa is a considered a superfood and can be very beneficial in improving mood and energy. It’s gluten-free, high in protein, and contains all 9 essential amino acids. It’s tasty, too!! I suggest making a large batch on Sunday and enjoying it throughout the week. One of my favorite things to do is to put it in my salad! It really makes the salad a complete and satisfying meal.
Fresh fruit and veggies!
Of course! What’s easier than this? Grab an apple for an afternoon snack. Enjoy some carrots and homemade hummus. Indulge in a glorious green smoothie, packed with spinach, kale, and fresh fruit. Those fresh veggies and fruit load your body up with living enzymes, vitamins, and minerals that bring health to every cell! You’ll rev up your energy levels, you’ll lift brain fog, and you’ll feel better able to take on the day’s challenges and opportunities with a smile on your face!
Who doesn’t like a handful, or two (or three) of blueberries? They are another superfood for brain health. Packed with nutrients and high in antioxidants, those little blue powerhouses lower cortisol which lowers stress and anxiety. They are high in mood-lifting vitamin C, and they also have a very high water content, which is imperative for brain health. So, add them into you smoothie or on top of your salad. Or, just eat them by the handful and enjoy their sweet nutrition!
4. Fish, anyone?
When we think about brain health, we have to think about the role of omega-3’s. Low levels of omega-3’ fatty acids are associated with depression, anxiety, and other not-so-charming mood fluctuations. So if you want a healthy brain and healthy mood, omega-3’s are, well, essential. And, most of us don’t get enough. You can also find omega-3’s in flaxseeds, chia seeds, and edamame.
It’s the nut shaped like a brain! Isn’t it cool how God works?! This nut is especially powerful for brain health because it’s loaded with omega-3’s, protein, and it helps to reduce inflammation in the body. They also help to increase serotonin levels making us feel happier and calmer. Add in these yummy nuts to your daily nutrition (about a handful) and watch your mood improve!
And, one more thing.
This isn’t food, but it IS imperative for an improved mood and better brain health.
PLAY! Your body is made to move, so get movin’!
Find some kind of physical activity you will look forward to doing and go do it consistently. Walking is one of the VERY best things you can do for brain health. When you move your body, you relieve brain fog, get oxygen flowing throughout the body, and feel-good hormones are released! You’ll have a MUCH better day (healthier AND happier) if you bring PLAY into the mix!
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