When your daily life kicks you in the butt, you might need help to get back on track. Music is always helpful, a few minutes of meditation does wonders, and a long soak (without people knocking on the bathroom door) is like the Holy Grail for women with kids.
Here at Daily Superfood Love – as the name implies – we love to work on our bodies (and our moods) from the inside out using delicious, nutritious superfoods and every day powerhouse foods.
The right foods work to balance physical, mental, and emotional upheaval and the more you use food as medicine, the healthier you will become in every aspect of your life.
Choosing the right foods to feed your body will also fuel your spirit and make you stronger. You will look better, feel better, and be better from the cellular level. Here are some of our favorite foods to lift your spirits and keep you balanced to face the hectic pace of your life.
10 Mood-Boosting Foods to Keep in Your Kitchen
1. Cacao (Dark Chocolate): I’m going to start with one of my personal favorites because when you’re looking for a treat to satisfy those sugar or salt cravings, you can’t go wrong with high-cacao chocolate. It makes you feel “fuller” than other snacks or treats and that’s going to go even further to helping you control your weight.
It’s packed with powerful antioxidants such as anthocyanidin, catechins, and resveratrol that scavenge free radicals and protect your heart, lower inflammation, and could even inhibit the growth of cancer.
The best part about cacao is that it makes you feel amazing because it releases “feel good” hormones in your body such as serotonin and dopamine (among others). A single one-ounce square is enough to feed your sweet tooth, keep you healthy, and make you smile.
Remember, the higher the cacao percentage, the less room there is for dairy or sugar, and that means dark chocolate might take some getting used to if you’re partial to milk or white chocolate (brimming with all the bad stuff that leads to obesity and diabetes).
Try a variety with nuts or berries (these only improve the health benefits) and pair it with your favorite coffee or tea (also amazing for you) until your body is accustomed to a “sweet” that isn’t your usual fare.
2. Leafy Greens: Are we trying to tell you that foods such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard make you feel good? Yes, we absolutely are. These simple veggies are rich in folate, magnesium, and vitamin C that help your body convert amino acids into happy-inducing serotonin and dopamine.
High in fiber, low in calories, and an excellent glycemic index make them ideal for diabetics and those working to control their weight.
They’re also an amazing addition to your diet if you are pregnant or often experience feelings of sadness. Low folate levels have been linked to an increased risk of depression.
Try them steamed or lightly sautéed to release all the incredible benefits or add them to your morning smoothie for a powerful energy boost that will keep you going strong all day.
3. Bananas: One of the best additions to your daily nutrition plan is the cheerful humble banana. It’s high in fiber and potassium as well as magnesium, a nutrient that most don’t associate with the fruit.
Magnesium is a critical mineral that is under-reported in the media. Without it, your risk of early death is double that of those who get plenty of it in their diet. Magnesium stimulates more than 300 enzyme interactions and causes every part of you to relax – from muscles to mood. Other foods rich in magnesium are nuts, beans, and garlic!
Even better, bananas make you feel full, aid in better digestion, and the vitamin B6 helps to stabilize blood sugar. Did we mention they’re delicious in shakes, cereal, and yogurt?
4. Wild-Caught Fatty Fish: We talk about the powerful benefits of omega-3 fatty acids a lot because it’s critical to brain health well into old age. Omega-3s feed your brain so well that neurotransmitters function more efficiently, reduces body-wide inflammation, and improves overall circulation. When you can think clearly, you feel better.
Fatty fish that is wild-caught is always the safest bet to minimize bacteria and added antibiotics that your body doesn’t need.
Add wild salmon, tuna, trout, and sardines to your eating plan for improved brain cognition and better mood. Other great sources of omega-3s are nuts (especially walnuts), coconut oil, and krill oil.
5. Pastured Eggs (the whole thing!): Forget all the negative press that eggs receive. The entire egg (whites and yoke) are excellent for your brain, energy levels, and mood. The cholesterol in them is the HDL “good” kind and they’ve been shown to improve heart health, not damage it.
Pastured eggs are true free-range eggs. They come from hens that roam freely around outdoors, where they can forage for their natural diet. Eggs from pastured hens have more of the good stuff than standard factory farm eggs:
7 times more beta-carotene
3 times more vitamin E
2/3 more vitamin A
2 times more Omega-3s
They fill you up, provide premium amounts of protein and critical amino acids (your cell building blocks), as well as iron, are a great source of healthy fat (your brain needs healthy fat to function), and give you a little of all the most important vitamins and minerals your body needs to face the day. People who start their day with eggs also lose more weight!
The best part is the choline content of eggs. This nutrient is essential for brain and central nervous system health but experts estimate that only 10% of people in the United States are getting the amount they need in their diet. Grass-fed butter, ghee, nuts, beans, and broccoli are other great sources of choline.
6. Probiotics: Gut health is crucial to brain health. Your digestive system is often referred to as the “second brain” in your body. Keeping a good balance of healthy gut bacteria will also improve your overall mood. Serotonin is manufactured in your gut so keeping it in peak condition matters more than just being “regular!”
Eating foods that are abundant in healthy gut flora benefits every cell in your body. Greek yogurt, kefir, tempeh, pickles, and other fermented foods will feed your good gut bacteria and tip the balance of total body health and improved mood in your favor.
7. Brazil Nuts: Although technically a seed not a nut, these rich delicious nuts are packed with magnesium, phosphorous, and thiamine. Thiamine is part of the “B Vitamin complex,” that helps boost your mood, prevent nerve damage, prevents brain disorders, and protects heart health.
Sunflower seeds and macadamia nuts are also high in thiamine. Multiple studies have shown that cashews and almonds have the chemical effect of pharmaceutical antidepressants such as Prozac on your brain, without the side effects!
With the added bonus of tryptophan and fiber, including nuts and seeds to your eating plan is going to go a long way toward elevating your mood, improving basic brain cognition, and raising overall energy levels. They’re wonderfully portable so when you dash off to work or your child’s soccer game, take a baggie of nuts or seeds for a quick snack!
8. Coconut Oil: If you’ve been feeling down or a little “foggy” lately, try taking a tablespoon of extra-virgin organic coconut oil every morning. It feeds your brain directly in ways other substances cannot while lowering inflammation and lubricating your cells. It is one of the healthiest fats you can consume and it equals nothing but energy and goodness to your body.
Civilizations all over the world who consume coconut oil as a regular part of their diet are some of the healthiest and longest-lived people in existence. It’s so easy to include it in your shakes, your coffee, or your meal preparation and you’re going to feel and see the benefits.
To learn more about this incredible food that you need in your life, read the free report here.
9. Spirulina: If there is one food that would literally sustain you all by itself, it is spirulina. These little blue-green algae are considered the most nutrient-dense food in existence. Spirulina is being studied as a way to end world hunger because it provides everything your body needs to survive. More than two-thirds of these tiny algae are protein but they also boast rich levels of B vitamins, omega-3s, magnesium, folate, and so much more.
Talk about a mood-boosting food! There is nothing negative to say about spirulina other than the fact that it doesn’t taste the best…you aren’t going to enjoy it as you would dark chocolate or bananas. The best way to add the powder to your personal nutrition plan is by putting a couple of scoops in your morning shake. Within a week, you’re going to feel the difference this tiny plant life provides.
10. Lemon Water: One of the most common causes of negative mood is dehydration. Experts estimate that more than 70% of the population in the United States is perpetually dehydrated. Symptoms of dehydration include irritability, inability to concentrate, dizziness, poor urine output, dark urine, fatigue, and skin that appears “shriveled.”
While drinking water is necessary to your survival, adding fresh lemon ramps up the benefits many times over. It also tastes great!
Lemons are bursting with vitamins and minerals! Give your immune system a helping hand, balance your internal pH levels, detoxify naturally, invigorate your skin, and control body weight by drinking lemon water every day.
Use a sealable glass container to squeeze a full lemon into filtered or distilled water each morning and drink it throughout the day. If you struggle with sensitive teeth, alternate between lemon water and plain water.
Mood-Boosting Foods and Beyond
There are many food choices you can make to raise the level of nutrients in your body. Everything inside you depends on a healthy combination of vitamins and minerals. Some honorable mentions in our mood-boosting food list were berries, beans and legumes, sweet potatoes, maca root, green tea, coffee, and ginger.
One vitamin you probably need more of in your life is vitamin D.
While you can get it from foods (coconut milk, fatty fish, and mushrooms have small amounts naturally), the absolute best source for this essential vitamin is sunshine. Spending 10-15 minutes in the early morning or late afternoon with your face and hands exposed to sunlight will give you all the vitamin D your body requires. Make sure you’re getting enough calcium as well!
Food can be your medicine. Check out our Daily Superfood Love Encyclopedia for articles on dozens of foods you know (and a bunch you might not have heard about yet) to give your body, mind, and spirit the love and nutrition it needs.
Live stronger and longer…through the power of food.