If the winter weather has given you a serious case of the blahs, it’s time to fight back – with food. Research suggests that certain foods can help improve your mood, reduce your stress, improve your outlook, and even fight depression. Did one of your favorites make the list?
- Chocolate. Is there any question? Of course, chocolate makes you feel great. According to a study by the Nestle Research Center in Switzerland, eating dark chocolate every day for two weeks reduced stress hormones (cortisol) in highly stressed people. When you do indulge, be sure to do it in moderation as chocolate does pack a high calorie punch.
- Whole Foods. A recent study of nearly 3,500 people published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, reported that people who eat a diet rich in whole foods (fruits, veggies, nuts, beans, etc.) are less likely to report feeling depressed than those who ate lots of desserts, fried foods, processed meats, refined grains and high-fat dairy products.
- Fish. Oily, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, rainbow trout) and mussels are high in omega-3s — a key mood-boosting nutrient. Omega-3s alter brain chemicals linked with mood — specifically dopamine and serotonin. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression, aggression, and suicidal tendencies. Dopamine is a reward chemical that the brain releases in response to a pleasurable experience.
- Tea. A study in the Journal of Nutrition showed that drinking caffeinated black, green or oolong tea may elicit a more alert state of mind. Researchers believe theanine — an amino acid present in these tea varieties — may work synergistically with caffeine to improve attention and focus. To reap the benefits, the study’s results suggest drinking 5 to 6 (8-oz) cups of tea daily.
- Greek Yogurt. Low levels of calcium can produce anxiety, depression, irritability, impaired memory, and slow thinking. Greek yogurt has more calcium than you’ll find in cow’s milk or traditional yogurt, plus the probiotics help aid in digestion and can even ward off colds.
This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be an exhaustive examination of the subject matter nor a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your primary care physician or healthcare provider before beginning any diet or exercise program.
Active Medi-Weightloss® patients should consult the experts at their location on whether the foods are appropriate for their stage of the program.