While a greasy plate of fries or sugary snack may temporarily alleviate a bad mood, long-term happiness is rarely doled out at a drive-thru. Fortunately, there are plenty of foods with proven mood-boosting benefits that can help you get happier and healthier with every bite. So, before you dive headfirst into another value meal, add these foods that make you happy to your menu.
Grill up some mackerel and get ready for a happier you. Mackerel is one of the best sources of omega-3s. As mentioned earlier, this fat is linked to reduced symptoms of depression, anxiety, and inflammation. Mackerel is an excellent source of vitamin B-6, which is good news for happiness-seeking people. Aarhus University Hospital researchers linked a vitamin B6 deficiency to an increased risk of depression.
Making lentils a staple on your menu is the first step toward a happier you. Lentils are a good source of anemia-fighting iron and energizing B-6, and they also happen to be a great way for vegans and vegetarians to boost the amount of protein in their diet. Studies have linked high-protein diets to reduced anxiety and depression, so there’s no time like the present to break out your best dal recipe.
Getting happier could be as simple as adding some broccoli to your next stir-fry. Those teeny-tiny trees are not only a good source of anemia-defeating iron, they also pack more than a day’s worth of that old immune system defender and mood-booster, vitamin C, per cup.
Apricots may be small, but they’re a mighty weapon when you’re waging war on a bad mood. These stone fruits are loaded with vitamin C and beta-carotene, which researchers in India have linked to reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Sure, millennials are allegedly spending tons of cash on avocado toast, but hey, at least they’re some of the foods that make you happy. Fortunately, all those monounsaturated-fat-rich avocados are doing more than just pleasing palates; research published in Physiology & Behavior reveals that diets loaded with healthy fats decreased symptoms of anxiety in rats.
Oysters may be best known for their purported aphrodisiac properties, but they’re also pretty stellar at making people happy north of the navel, too. This mollusk is loaded with omega-3s, iron, potassium, and magnesium, all of which have been shown to have mood-boosting benefits.
When it comes to eating your way to a better mood, chicken is pretty hard to beat. Chicken is a great source of mood-boosting, energizing nutrients like B6, potassium, and zinc. Better yet, Australian researchers at the University of Adelaide and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital found that high-protein diets, like those with plenty of chicken on the menu, improved self-esteem and reduced depression in female study subjects.
If you’ve been favoring fish over higher-fat cuts of meat, you might be on track toward banishing those blues. Salmon is a great way to load your diet with omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation throughout your body, improving your mood in the process.
Research published in the Journal of Affective Disorders reveals that depressed study subjects whose diets had omega-3s added to their diets had significant improvements in their symptoms.
9. Chamomile Tea
Now that the temperature is dipping, your circadian rhythm may be thrown off by the decrease of (natural) light, making it harder to sleep at night and to stay on top of your game during the day. Research shows that chamomile tea not only brings on better sleep but improves your cognitive functioning during the day, too. Who hasn’t felt a little worse for wear when they’re running low on sleep?
10. Whole Grain Bread
When your hormones are all over the place (PMS, stress at work, whatever), you wind up craving carb-rich foods because they help comfort your hormonal rollercoaster. But cookies won’t make you nearly as happy (or thin) as a complex carb like whole grain bread. However, unlike cookies, those whole grains can improve the number of good bacteria in your gut, which can have a profound influence on your mood. When you can’t stand the sight of another sandwich, the healthy sources of carbs will help you fill up and slim down.
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