Let's face it. These days, many of us are relying on comfort food and wine to get us through the emotional turmoil we've encountered during this particularly overwhelming year.
The world has never been quite like this. Overnight it seems as though many of us had to start working from home, move cities, and we've been unable to see friends and family the way we used to.
It comes as no surprise then that depression and other mood disorders are on the rise. Luckily, we have tools to tackle these, such as therapy. One tool that can be a valuable part of the puzzle when it comes to elevating mood is the food we eat.
There is a profound connection between food and mood. Overconsumption of sugary, processed foods creates an inflammatory environment ripe for depression. So does whole food do the opposite?
There are experts at major universities studying nutritional psychology. And there have been studies showing that a whole foods diet filled with fruits, veggies, olive oil, nuts and seeds, legumes, and some meat can be an effective part of beating depression.
When it comes to mood fluctuations and PMS, food plays a significant role. Have you ever had a week of drinking, eating late-night pizza, guzzling coffee in the AM, and getting poor sleep? Then your period comes, and WHAM! It's super heavy; you're exhausted; your cramps are horrible, and you feel extra irritable. It's no coincidence.
Have you ever had the opposite occur? You're eating great, working out, sleeping well, hydrating, your period symptoms are much more manageable, and your mood is more stable.
All of our daily inputs add up to create our inner world.
Our brains require specific nutrients to thrive. Deficiencies in omega 3's, B vitamins, vitamin D, magnesium, and more can leave us feeling kind of crummy all of the time.
Supplements can play a major role in getting us out of a deficiency state, but food should always take center stage. The food that you eat sets the foundation for overall health.
Here are some of our favorite mood-boosting foods to incorporate daily:
Wild fatty fish and seafood: If you're looking for optimal omega-3 content, look no further than fish and seafood. They contain EPA and DHA, which have been shown to lower rates of depression. Foods like oysters are particularly packed with nutrients including B vitamins, zinc, and omega-3's.
Berries: You might have heard that berry consumption is linked to a longer lifespan. The deep purple and blue color in foods like blueberries come from anthocyanins, which have been shown to boost overall cognitive health and reduce symptoms of depression.
Nuts and seeds: These are our favorite. Foods like pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and other nuts and seeds contain tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin. And we all know that serotonin is our happy neurotransmitter. Tryptophan also helps us get a good night's sleep since it's the precursor to melatonin. Try our beeya seed cycling bundle for a healthy dose of seeds that contain tryptophan and other important nutrients for brain health and hormonal health.
Fiber-rich foods: They say your gut is your second brain. The status of your gut significantly impacts your mood for better or worse. Eating fiber-rich foods like green leafy vegetables keeps your digestive system running smoothly and keeps your good gut bugs thriving.
Balance your blood sugar: This isn't a food, but it's a critical piece of the mood puzzle. You create blood sugar imbalances when you skip meals, down coffee, or eat a heavily processed diet consistently. When your blood sugar is on a roller coaster, you feel up and down, tired and wired, jittery, anxious, and more. So next time you're feeling off, reach for a protein and fat-rich snack and notice how you feel. Just nourishing yourself alone can solve a lot of problems.