The Healthy Power of Eating Well
By: Lilly Miller
There is no doubt that we are currently living in quite an uncertain and often frightening time, being forced to isolate ourselves at home, excluded from the outside world. This sort of separation tends to lead to negative feelings and emotions, such as loneliness and depression, which is why it’s vital for our overall well-being to foster a positive mindset. Thankfully, simply by preparing and serving a wonderful meal, we can satisfy our basic needs, while at the same time practicing mindfulness, nurturing a healthy mindset, and living a healthy and balanced lifestyle. So, here are some of the best and most powerful mood-foods that will help lift your spirits during this unpredictable time:
Dark chocolate to lower stress levels
Research has finally confirmed what most of us have already known – chocolate does indeed make us happy. Apart from a low sugar content that fuels our brain without being unhealthy and damaging to our bodies, dark chocolate also contains other ingredients like caffeine and theobromine that have been known to lower stress levels and boost our mood. Chocolate is also rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, which could possibly promote blood flow to the brain, ultimately boosting health and supporting proper mood regulation. After all, chocolate simply has an incredibly pleasurable texture and flavor, lifting our spirits simply by enjoying this delicious snack.
Fatty fish for brain power
Representing a group of essential fats, omega-3 fatty acids are highly beneficial for maintaining optimal brain functions, improving our memory, behavioral aspects, and overall brain performance. However, our brain can’t seem to produce enough of these important chemicals on its own, which is why it’s vital we obtain it through a healthy and nutritious diet. Fortunately, certain types of fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna and herring, provide us with a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, allowing for a healthy and balanced diet that not only improves mood and alleviates depression, but also has numerous benefits for our heart and metabolism as well.
Nuts and seeds to improve well-being
From peanuts, walnuts and cashews to sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, nuts and seeds are a magnificent source of fiber, proteins and healthy fats, as well as a certain amino acid called tryptophan, which is vital for producing higher levels of mood-improving serotonin. They might also be rich in selenium and zinc, two chemicals that encourage proper brain functions, and even alleviate symptoms of depression. The great news about this is that nuts and seeds are usually quite important ingredients in many different types of Chinese food, which not only helps to promote a healthy and nutritious diet necessary for maintaining overall well-being, but is also an incredibly rich, flavorful and delicious way to enhance your daily meals.
Beans and lentils to boost your mood
Apart from being rich in protein and fiber, beans and lentils are also chock full of other mood-boosting nutrients. They represent some of the best sources of the vitamin B complex that is known to increase the production of certain neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine, all of which are quite important chemicals for regulating our mood and improving happiness levels. What’s more, B vitamins also play a crucial role in nerve signaling, an essential function that allows for proper communication between nerve cells, helping to alleviate depression and other mood disorders. Beans and lentils are also a great source of magnesium, zinc, iron and selenium, which might help to lift your spirits as well.
Fermented foods for overall health
From yogurt and kefir to kimchi, kombucha and even sauerkraut, fermented foods don’t only work to improve the health of our gut, but might also help to enhance our spirits as well. These foods contain live bacteria cultures that act as probiotics in our system, helping to promote proper digestion and support the growth of healthy microorganisms in our bodies that allow us to maintain optimal health. Fermented foods could also encourage the production of serotonin in our brains, improving our mood and lowering stress levels in the process. However, it’s important to note that not all fermented options are healthy and beneficial, as beer, wine and certain bread types are best avoided in a balanced and nutritious diet.
If you need something to cheer you up and help you live a healthier, more mindful and positive lifestyle during this demanding period in time, these incredible nutritious foods will help to lift your spirits and improve your mood, while giving you the opportunity to truly enjoy cooking and eating meals once again, allowing you to power through this ongoing uncertainty.
About the author: Lilly Miller is a freelance writer, who focuses on interior design, well-being and sustainable living. She loves to experiment on daring new home decor trends and write about it as a regular contributor on Smooth Decorator. Settled in Sydney for the time being, Lilly shares home with two loving dogs and a gecko named Rodney. You can find her hanging out on Twitter.
“Poetry creates the myth, the prose writer draws his own portrait.” – Jean – Paul Sartre