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5 Foods That Boost Your Mood

I don’t know about you, but this winter has really hit me hard. I find myself getting angry when I look at the forecast; the term “winter blues” has been taken to a whole new level this year. It seems every other day I’m searching for cheap plane tickets to somewhere (anywhere) warm, but everyone else must have the same idea because I can’t find anything. So, instead of complaining about it any longer, I’ve decided to do what I can to change my mood. Sugar and alcohol are one way to boost your mood immediately, but they are both very quick fixes that will invariably leave you feeling even lower than before.

Exercise is a fantastic way to improve your mood! My boot camps through LivingFit Chicago and Cheetah Gym certainly help, but food is really my passion. So here are five foods that can enhance your mental state and help combat the winter doldrums:

  1. Dark Leafy Greens – These vegetables, such as kale, swiss chard, and collard greens, are full of chlorophyll, which is basically liquid sunshine. Chlorophyll allows them to absorb light from the sun and convert it into energy. Chemically, chlorophyll is the blood of the plant and when we consume it, it helps us to oxygenate and breathe life into our cells.
  2. Raw Cacao – Chocolate in its purest form contains over 1,200 phytonutrients. It is rich in magnesium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and manganese.  In addition, It is high in phenylethylamine, which is known as the “love drug” and relieves depression and elevates your mood.  You can find raw cacao at most health food stores, including our very own True Nature Foods. In my house we love putting cacao nibs in our oatmeal, smoothies, or sprinkled on a scoop of almond butter.
  3. Protein – Turkey, fish, chicken, eggs, and beans all contain generous amounts of tryptophan, which is a precursor to producing serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a compound that produces feelings of well-being, and a deficiency can lead to sleep issues, anxiety, depression, and over-eating.
  4. Cultured and Fermented Foods – 90% of our serotonin development occurs in our gut, which means there is a direct link to a healthy gut and a healthy mood. Fermented foods are a great source of probiotics, which promote good gut health. Cultured and fermented foods include kefir, kombucha, and cultured vegetables like sauerkraut or kimchi.
  5. Brazil Nuts – One of the best sources of the mineral selenium. A deficiency in this mineral has been linked to depression, irritability, tiredness, and anxiety. Just 3 Brazil nuts a day will meet your recommended daily allowance (RDA). Try having them as a snack with an apple or in your morning smoothie.

How are you beating the winter blues this year?

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