Image if food could cure the world…
It’s a nice thought and although food may not be a cure-all for everything that comes at us in this world, it has been proven to fight and prevent ailments such as heart disease, some types of cancers, inflammation, depression, and anxiety when eaten the way it was meant for us. I call these happy foods, because it is exactly that. It is food that nourishes and heals the body and makes me happy.
Once I began changing the way I viewed food, I began eating to nourish my body rather eating for the heck of it. Although it wasn’t always easy, once I start creating healthy habits and setting goals to eating these happy foods, it started to become natural. Now I’m now only adding these happy foods to my diet, but many more.
I have found that throughout my days I now have more energy, sleep better at night, and (this is the big one) am much HAPPIER. I could not believe how much my attitude has been effected by my food choices. From how I talk to my coworkers and customers to how I treat my family at home. Now don’t think I was a horrible person before, but some days I really had to try and try hard to keep that smile. Most days that smile is natural and I don’t have to fight with my own anxiety throughout the day. Not all days are perfect, but far better than I ever could have hoped, all from giving my body the right nutrition.
Here are my top 10 happy foods I’ve added to my plant-based diet to quail off disease and lift my spirits!
Apples are amazingly high in antioxidants. Fun fact: antioxidants have been proven to decrease inflammation in the brain and body. What’s so happy about that? Well, inflammation has been linked to some mental health issues such as depression. I don’t know about you, but kicking depression in the butt certainly makes me happy!
Bananas make you happy! Without going too deep into the science of this delicious yellow fruit, bananas contain an amino acid called tryptophan. This lovely amino acid is turned into serotonin, a wonderful chemical to lift your mood and help you feel relaxed.
Particularly black beans are a great source of magnesium. One of the many health benefits of magnesium, is energy production. Don’t let the bad rap of beans gassy nature deter you from getting the energy maximizing magnesium they contain. As an added bonus you’re getting an wonderful helping of protein.
Berries have many healthful benefits from memory retention to decreased inflammation. They contain many antioxidants known as flavonoids. According to Penn State, these flavonoids are responsible for reducing inflammation in the body. Increased inflammation may cause many health risks, one of which being depression. If you have depression, a possible cause may be inflammation. Reducing that inflammation may help give you that boost to kick the blues. Adding berries to your diet could be the first step to healing that inflammation in your body.
5. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate really puts in the effort to try and make you happy. It works in three different ways to control your mood. For one, it stimulates the production of endorphins causing a feeling of pleasure. It also contains serotonin which acts as an anti-depressant. And it doesn’t stop there… According to ACS Publications, dark chocolate has also been shown to reduce the levels of the stress-hormone cortisol in the body. So increasing pleasure, anti-depressant, and anti-stress? Yes please!
6. Green Tea
The wonderful effects of green tea has certainly convinced me to start adding green tea to my diet (without the processed sugars and additives of course). Not only does this beauty affect the brain, but the body as well. According to healthline, green tea improves brain-function by improving mood and memory and decreasing anxiety. This along with the fat burning effects green tea has is a win-win in my book.
It seems pretty common that we need vitamin D for healthy bone growth, but come to find out, a vitamin D deficiency can be linked to more psychiatric issues such as depression. According to the British Journal of Psychiatry, those with vitamin D deficiency were shown to have higher risks of developing or worsening the depression illness. Luckily, mushrooms are surprisingly high in Vitamin D and may help combat those moody days. For an extra kick in vitamin D, trying placing your mushrooms out in the sun for about 30-60 minutes before cooking them.
Another wonderful food full of antioxidants! See a pattern here? Antioxidants do an amazing job of decreasing inflammation therefore decreasing depression. When we eat all the processed refined junk food the western world is so use to, we lose all these wonderful effects. It’s no wonder we see an increase in mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, not to mention obesity in this new world. Try replacing your rice with quinoa and enjoy the wonderful flavor along with the anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant effects it has to offer.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, a folate deficiency is linked to depression. The concern with a nutrition deficiency such as folate deficiency is that it can sink those with depression into a depressive cycle. Those with depression tend to eat less and not get the full nutrition their body craves. This creates the vicious cycle that hinders those with depression from overcoming the disease. Spinach is a great resource high in folic acid and may be what you need to help kick those blues.
Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids! A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry has shown a correlation with the decrease in fatty acids in the Western Diet and an increase in psychological disorders. Snacking on Walnuts and other foods high in fatty acids may help with depression.
Try adding these wonderful happy foods to your diet and see what effects take place for you. Remember, letting your body heal takes time. When I changed my diet, my anxiety didn’t go away over night, but it did go away. I had to work for it everyday and make sure I was putting the right foods into my body everyday.
I hope you enjoy adding these foods to your diet and see amazing changes take place because of it. Remember to always ask your doctor when making any changes to your diet and exercise program.
Good eats my Peeps!