The food we put in our bodies plays a big role in how we feel, both physically and mentally. In fact, according to a 2015 Harvard study on nutritional psychology, a diet high in sugar can lead to improper brain function and worsening diseases like depression.
Fortunately, there are plenty of foods that can do exactly the opposite for our bodies, providing the nutrition and mood-boosting benefits we need to feel recharged and healthy.
Good news chocolate lovers: dark chocolate (specifically chocolate with a cacao percentage of 70 percent or higher) is packed with antioxidants that can help remove harmful chemicals from the body naturally. Eating high-quality chocolate also releases endorphins in the brain, which are responsible for making us feel happy.
Minimizing the amount of “bad fats” we eat, while increasing the amount of “good fats”, can lead to improvements in basic brain functioning. Foods like salmon and tuna are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which can boost serotonin levels and improve mood.
For their small size, blueberries have a powerful dose of antioxidants that are known to boost brain functions like memory and protect from the effects of aging. Throw a serving of these berries into low-fat yogurt for even more brain boosting benefits!
Most teas are known for their relaxing properties, and while sipping on green tea might provide you with feelings of calm, it also has small amounts of caffeine, which, if enjoyed in moderation, can give you a slight boost throughout the day without the jitters coffee can give.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are high in fiber, protein, and good fats. They can also keep you fuller for longer, which can help you avoid reaching for sugary snacks during the day. Enjoy just a handful of your favorite nuts and seeds at a time, though—even good fats can be harmful if consumed in excess.
Though relatively new to the culinary world (at least in the US), adaptogens can help not only your brain function better, but reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improve immune system function. Maca, ginseng, and reishi are among the most common, and can be used whole or in powder form.