“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” right? For many…yes. But for some, this time of year can be hard, sad, stressful and isolating. As many of us are enjoying the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, party after party, wrapping and decorating, giving and receiving, others may really be struggling. My heart goes out to them all.
Today, I’m here to share some very top-level, natural ways for boosting your mood–not just during this time of year but throughout. Before I continue, I want to point out that I am not a psychiatrist or a psychologist. I truly believe with my whole heart that this country has a huge problem when it comes to treating and diagnosing mental health disorders. If you or someone you love has been struggling with any sort of mental illness, I encourage you to talk to someone immediately. My hope with this post today is that if you’re feeling a little more down than usual, a little sad or depressed or simply just not like yourself, that these simple, natural, mood boosting techniques can really help you out.
It’s always incredible to me how food can heal us, how supplements (the right ones) can really aid in protecting us both mentally and physically and how little lifestyle changes can make big every day impacts. Let’s start with my personal favorite way to naturally boost your mood. I bet you’re not surprised to learn that it can be done through your diet.
The following foods have proven over the years to be mood boosters. Start your shopping list now!
Whole Grains: Choosing whole grains and high fiber foods helps to keep your blood sugar stable and blood sugar stabilizing foods have proven to affect your mood by helping to regulate brain neurotransmitter secretions. Women should be getting on average 25 grams of fiber daily, while men should be getting close to 38 grams.
Fruit: Kiwi, bananas, sour cherries, tomatoes and plums are all fruits that are very high in serotonin (a natural mood booster) and ideal grocery store items for anyone looking to boost their mood naturally. They also do a great job in healthfully satisfying a sweet tooth and sweet treats have long been proven to increase any mood!
Omega-3s: Many studies in the U.S. and abroad have found that people that consume diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of fat found in cold-water fish such as salmon and mackerel, were less likely to suffer from depression than other people whose diets where low in this important fat. Other foods that are rich an omega-3 fatty acids and easily purchased at your local grocery store are flaxseeds, walnuts, soybeans, kidney beans and black beans.
Beans and Peas: Legumes, including lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas are all a big part of the beloved Mediterranean diet (which I talked about at length here). These high fiber foods were singled out by a study in 2013 as playing a big role in preventing and managing depression over your life span.
Hot Cocoa: We’ve talked about the health benefits of chocolate on the blog before but resent research has looked at the mood and cognitive benefits of having a chocolate drink every day for a month. Chocolate contains a type of antioxidant called polyphenols, which have proven to boost mood. Research showed that the individuals in the study that drank the chocolate with the highest level of polyphenol count experienced the greatest boost in mood, feeling more content and calm afterwards.
Coffee: Remember my post on the health benefits of coffee? Well, recent studies suggest that a cup or two of caffeinated coffee a day has the potential to boost your mood both short term and long term. As we know, caffeine provides an immediate pick-me-up but not just that, the physical properties in coffee beans have shown to also help protect against depression.
Now, let’s talk supplements and vitamins. As always I point you to your general practitioner when it comes to adding these things into your everyday routine. The following vitamins and supplements have proven to help naturally boost your mood (without requiring a prescription).
Vitamin B: Research shows that folate, B6 and B12 absolutely assist with improving moods.
Vitamin D: Low vitamin D has long been associated with depression and most of the population is deficient when it comes to this essential micronutrient. All you need is 15 mins a day of sunshine or supplement with 200 iu’s Vitamin D a day.
Fish Oil: 2-3 grams a day has proven to aid in mood boosting.
Lastly, I really believe a healthy diet rich with the above mentioned food and vitamins coupled with a healthy lifestyle can surely cure what ails you. I encourage you to take time for you this holiday season. Often times we get too invested in the everyday grind that we forget to take care of ourselves. Make time for some physical activity, break up the day with a coffee with a good friend, change up the monotony of your regular routine with a new restaurant, a new drive home, a visit to a new store. Start each day with positive thoughts about what you are grateful/thankful for and get some rest!
I hope this post helps in putting the happy in “happy holidays” for you this year. I’m grateful that you’re here and I look forward to providing even more content in 2019 to help you live your most healthful years ahead. “Happy” Holidays. Xx Janine