It’s becoming more and more apparent to me that we truly are what we eat. Obviously food affects our health and weight, but I’ve learned that food can affect the condition of our skin and hair, as well as our mood! Junk food-laden diets are not only bad for our bodies, but can really affect our moods as well! 

The food/mood link has been on my mind a lot since the weekend. On Friday, I went to the movies and gobbled down a big box of Sour Patch Kids a.k.a a block of refined sugar. The next morning I woke up feeling super panicked and had a really bad anxiety attack. Not to mention I got an uncharacteristic zit right on my cheek. I can’t help to think the sugar is to blame. While of course the Sour Patch Kids were delish, the price to pay does not seem worth it to me! 

Luckily there are tons of foods that are not only healthy for our bodies but for our minds too!

1. Grapes are full of mood-enhancing vitamin C and natural sugar which provides an energy boost. 

2. Bananas increase the production of serotonin and dopamine, two neurotransmitters responsible for tranquility and happiness. 

3. I had no idea asparagus was such a powerful mood enhancers. Asparagus is one of the highest plant-based sources for tryptophan which creates serotonin, the neurotransmitter mentioned above. It’s been shown that those who struggle with depression also have folate deficiencies, and asparagus happens to have very high levels of folate. 

4. Not only are avocados soooooooo delicious and great for your skin and hair, but they also happen to raise dopamine levels and increase endorphins. Like I really need another excuse to eat more avocado! 

5. Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, a phytonutrient that protects vital brain fats in addition to stopping pro-inflammatory compounds that are linked to depression. Lycopene is found in tomato skins, so up your intake by popping a tomato that is mostly skin: cherry tomatoes! 

6. Just thinking about raw honey is making my mouth water! Honey is as sweet as sugar with none of the negative effects. As I mentioned earlier, refined sugar causes me to have anxiety attacks, and it can also unleash disease causing free radicals into the body. Why not appease your sweet tooth with a little bit of honey? Raw honey reduces inflammation in the brain, which is linked to depression. As an added bonus, eating raw honey that’s derived from your area also eases seasonal allergy symptoms!

7. Another food rich in vitamin C, strawberries happen to be a great source of potassium as well, which helps generate nerve impulses. A flavonoid called anthocyanidin is responsible for strawberries red color, which also helps boost our moods!

8. Almonds are not only high in fiber and good fats for skin and brain health, but they also increase dopamine levels!

9. I can speak from experience about a lack of B vitamins causing depression and lowered moods. Vitamins B6, B12 and B3 are all essential to producing serotonin and can be found in leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale. 

10. A lack of vitamin D can also be to blame for depression as well as other diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease. Sun exposure is the best source of vitamin D, but you can bolster your levels by including vitamin D-rich foods like yogurt in your diet.

11. I love how immediately noticeable dark chocolate‘s mood boosting effects are! It turns out that the reason dark chocolate makes you feel so good is because it improves blood flow to the brain! Make sure you’re indulging in a small amount of pure dark chocolate, not a milk chocolate blend!

12. I’m sure you’ve all heard that green tea touts many health benefits, but it turns out it can improve your mood too. Green tea contains L-Theanine, an amino acid that decreases stress and anxiety. Green tea also has a calming effect while simultaneously increasing alertness and focus. 

13. Walnuts are great for your mental health due to their high levels of omega-3 and antioxidants. They also contain a great deal of magnesium which is shown to reduce irritability, anxiety, depression and insomnia. 

14. Not only is it one of the prettiest leafy greens on the market, chard is also an awesome source of magnesium! Apparently magnesium is a nutrient most of us aren’t getting enough of! Chard is delicious in soups, pastas and casseroles. 

15. Okay so maybe this is not a food, but this is a majorly important one! How many times have we heard that we need drink more water?! Even the slightest degree of dehydration can impair our brain’s ability to function properly. I know that when I’m dehydrated, not only am I total space case, but I get a little cranky too! Lately I’ve been encouraging myself to drink more water by making tasty blends. Above is one I made with finely sliced lemon and muddled mint. So refreshing! [via Buzznet]

Lovelies, are you eating foods that improve your moods? 

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