Add these smile making super foods to your diet and see how much better you feel...
So we all know there are lots of things you can do to improve your mood like happy music, sleeping in a freshly made bed and buying that pair of shoes you’ve been lusting over. But you can also put a smile on your dial by eating the right foods. Here’s a list of 10 that have been scientifically proven to make you happier and get you feeling joyful for spring.
Words: Sarah Brooks-Wilson | Image: Grace Alyssa Kyo
1. Dark chocolate
Even thinking about chocolate brings a smile to my face but research backs its happiness benefits. The antioxidants in dark chocolate trigger the walls of your blood vessels to relax, lowering blood pressure and improving circulation. It also contains magnesium, a mineral that has been shown to alleviate PMS symptoms, including fatigue, depression and irritability. So don’t feel guilty anymore.
Surprisingly underrated, this super food has unique nutrients that help with mood regulation. Shrooms are rich in selenium and a deficiency of this mineral (which doubles as an antioxidant) is linked to a higher risk of depression, anxiety and fatigue. They are also the only plant source of natural vitamin D and scientists have found that those who upped their vitamin D intake experienced an enhanced mood.
You don’t really need to be told how much your morning cuppa brings you happiness. But consuming a coffee is not only linked to a boost in energy, but kindness and pleasure. Coffee beans are actually the seeds inside the bright red berry, sometimes called coffee cherry and like all plant foods both the berry and seeds are rich in antioxidants, which we know are good for us.
This humble nut is an excellent source of magnesium which studies have shown can be used to manage and reduce the symptoms of depression – as well as phosphorous and those antioxidants again – so add them to your nut stash and crush a few on your porridge in the morning to get those happy hormones going.
Yes, this super food is still around. Not only is it packed with mineral like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium it also contains copper, zinc and iron and is extremely high in the flavonoid quercetin which in particular has been shown to have a significant anti-depressant effect. Make a winter salad with warm quinoa, roasted veggies, haloumi and chicken.
There are certain flavours in this nutritious fruit that have a chemical similarity to valproic acid, which is a prescription mood stablising drug, according to research conducted by Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies. The flavonoid anthocyanidin found in them also reduces inflammation, which has been associated with increased rates of depression. So get that blender going now.
If you’ve been getting into the turmeric lattes, then you’re on the right track to happiness. This yellow spice, most known for its use in East Asian cuisine contains curcumin, which enhances mood and fights depression. Add to winter curries and muffins for an extra hit.
While an apple a day keeps the doctor away, eating fruit like apples produces a calming effect, creates more energy and increases overall happiness, according to the British Journal of Health Psychology. Eating slices smothered in nut butter makes a great afternoon snack.
Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, B12, iodine, selenium and DHEA can improve mood and fight depression, as they are all vital for a healthy happy brain. Healthy fats like these keep your skin and hair in good condition too and lets face it, if those two things are glowing that’s enough to induce happiness!
Everyone knows that the good old narna is full of potassium, but what you may not know is that they also contain typtophan, a brain chemical that helps to regulate mood. Bananas is also a good source of B vitamin folate and having low levels of this vitamin has been linked to depression. So put one of these on the Barbie with a few chunks of dark chocolate in foil and you’ve got a winning combination.