What Real Foods Do the Trick?
Let’s start here in the West and then journey across the globe to find some ancient Eastern secrets.
In the Western world, three factors fuel smiles.
1. Hydrate Well
While not a food per se, water is the most essential nutrient for life and happiness. Drinking plenty of water stimulates circulation to carry nutrients to the brain and remove toxins from the blood. Being slightly dehydrated not only limits fitness performance, but is often associated with headaches too.
After some water, try small meals every few hours.
2. Stabilize Your Blood Sugar
Consuming small meals throughout the day keeps the brain happy. Unless you’re following a low carb diet, the brain will use sugar as its primary fuel source. Fluctuations in blood sugar from prolonged periods of time without food may predispose a person to bouts of irritability, mental fatigue, anxiety and depression.
(For more on how to lose weight safely and effectively with a low carb approach, click here).
So try small snacks, like healthy nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts and brazil nuts) to keep your blood sugar more stable throughout the day.
Once you’ve hydrated well and got your blood sugar under control, try some L-tryptophan and Omega-3 sources.
3. Consume Sources of L-tryptophan and Omega-3s
MIT research shows that neurotransmitters (brain signals) benefit from certain amino acids (protein builders), including L-trytophan. Eating food sources with L-tryptophan support a happy brain.
Good sources of L-tryptophan include sesame seeds, egg whites, raw soybeans, and spirulina.
Like L-tryptophan, Omega-3s also work as mood boosters. There are three types of Omega-3s:
ALA (alpha-linolenic acid)
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).
We can get ALA from walnuts and vegetable oils like canola, extra virgin olive and flaxeed. And, we can get EPA and DHA, typically known as fish oils, from salmon, halibut, swordfish and flounder. Omega-3 supplements work too.
(To see tested and true Omega-3 supplements at the best value, click here).
That sums up the Western view, now let’s travel overseas to the East.
According to Eastern Medicine, mental depression is experienced in the mind, but usually rooted in a “stagnant liver”. Therefore Eastern food therapy seeks to boost our moods by harmonizing, stimulating, detoxifying and rejuvenating the liver.
Let’s begin with some harmony.
4. Try Eastern Mood Boosters
#1 – A little honey helps harmonize the liver. Mixing it with apple cider vinegar is even better for mood boosting.
Next, let’s get spicy.
#2 – Various spices like cumin, fennel, dill, ginger, black pepper, horseradish, rosemary, mint, and lemon balm support positive moods by stimulating the liver.
#3 – Perhaps the easiest way to support mood boosting is with a super salad, one with all the good stuff. Eastern medicine says we can rejuvenate the liver for better moods with kale, watercress and collard greens. We can also detoxify it with celery, lettuce, cucumber and mushrooms.
Put them all together in one super salad and you’ve got a mood-boosting meal that makes everyone happy. Yum.
OK, we’ve reached the end. It’s time to wrap it up!
To boost our moods, we can benefit from both Western and Eastern strategies.
- Hydrate Well – Drinking sufficient water supports a happy brain and body.
- Stabilize Your Blood Sugar – Consuming small meals throughout the day may keep irritability, mood swings, and depression at bay.
- Consume Sources of L-tryptophan and Omega-3s – Both support positive moods. L-tryptophan sources include sesame seeds, egg whites, raw soybeans, and spirulina. Omega-3s are found in fish and healthy nuts and seeds such as walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds and flax seeds.
- Try Eastern Mood Boosters – Eastern medicine finds honey to be a harmonizer of the liver, which supports good moods, especially with apple cider vinegar. Stimulating spices like cumin, fennel, dill, ginger, and black pepper stimulate the liver for happy effects. To detoxify the liver for a better mood, go with cucumbers, celery, lettuce and mushrooms. To rejuvenate it, try kale, watercress and collard greens.