If you're still fighting off the lingering effects of seasonal affective disorder with unhealthy comfort foods, try eating some of these seven foods instead. They're healthier than cheesy chips and proven to make you feel happier.
How couldn't it be? Not surprisingly, chocolate is a certified feel-good food containing chemicals proven to alter mood. Caffeine, for starters, is known to make us bouncy and awaken our muscles. As another bonus, the compound anandamide has been singled out for positively affecting anxiety and depression. So keep eating chocolate!
Oysters are one of the most zinc-rich foods we have, resulting again in lowered anxiety and depression. Clams are full of vitamin B12, a vitamin that your doctor has almost certainly reminded you to ingest more of due to the brain's need to make mood-improving dopamine and serotonin. Unless you suffer a shellfish allergy, try these as an indulgent way to get your brain boost.
The world runs on coffee! Here's why: Women who drank more than two cups of coffee per day were 15% less likely to suffer from depression. This is partly thanks to beloved caffeine, which can increases dopamine and serotonin levels within 30 minutes.
Vitamin D is literally the sunshine we need to keep going, as our body converts sunlight into this mood-balancing and health-regulating nutrient. Salmon, and other foods packed with omega-3 fatty acids, are already good for you. But did you know that salmon is also rich in vitamin D? A deficiency in vitamin D is proven to contribute to depression and mood swings. If you can't get out in the sun a little bit each day, try eating vitamin D rich foods like salmon, tuna, mackerel, beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks.
Eating your vegetables is not only great for overall health and weight loss, but their nutrients also make your brain happier. Broccoli has trace levels of chromium, a mineral in which many of us are deficient. Chromium increases brain function by regulating insulin and metabolizing food, which in turn stabilizes mood. If you've ever had wild mood swings from a blood sugar crash, eating more whole foods like fresh broccoli could help.
Keeping a stash of nuts at your desk is a good idea. Almonds, peanuts, and cashews are all well stocked in magnesium, a mineral that greatly aids serotonin development in the brain. Lacking adequate levels of magnesium in your diet can have a visibly negative impact on your mood, contributing to depression. Keep almonds and other magnesium-rich snacks around for an afternoon pick-me-up.
Probiotics are well known as a force of good in your gut, but did you know that fixing your gut could also help fix your brain? When your digestive system has an flora imbalance in favor of "bad" bacteria, it can generate negative signals to your brain that lead to distressed and depressed behavior. A healthy balance of good bacteria such as lactobacillus rhamnosus can keep you calmer and more even-keeled throughout the day. Plus, the calcium in yogurt (especially when paired with vitamin D) helps regulate mood as well.