Feeling sluggish? A little down? We’ve all been there. As human beings, it is not uncommon to be suddenly overwhelmed by an unexplainable sense of anxiety. Shaking the feelings of glumness and emptiness can be hard, but there are ways to lighten your mood. Exercise and increased human interaction are both recognised mood boosters, but did you know that you can eat your way to happiness? When certain foods are consumed, endorphins – those lovely little chemicals that cause euphoria – are released into the body, effectively altering your temperament. Below you’ll find just four foods that have been known to brighten even the darkest of days.
Do you experience strong chocolate cravings? The delicious taste of chocolate alleviates anything from stress to mood swings; it contains phenethylamine, which encourages the production of endorphins and serotonin, and caffeine, a well-known energy booster. Serotonin is a chemical compound that acts as a neurotransmitter and is vital for bodily functions such as sleeping, eating, temperature regulation; low levels of serotonin have also been associated with depression. Choose chocolate varieties that have high levels of cocoa and remember, while it is easy to reach for that block of chocolate every time life gets a little hard, everything should be consumed in moderation.
Our bodies produce endorphins in response to certain triggers, such as pain, stress or fear. From accidentally eating a jalapeno to mistakenly identifying wasabi, we are all aware of just how painful spicy food can be. Capsaicin, a chemical compound that is found in chillies causes a burning sensation where it is released. To counter this intense, painful feeling, the body then produces endorphins, inundating the affected area; now you know why you can’t get enough of that spicy, Indian food!
Turkey meat is yet another food that can help lift you out of the doldrums. Along with other animal proteins, turkey contains tryptophan, an amino acid that has been linked to increased levels of endorphins and serotonin. The debate continues over whether it causes sleepiness; turkey meat is usually served with other heavy foods such as roast potatoes, so it’s hard to know which is the main culprit.
If you’re not a fan of spicy food, don’t want to get addicted to chocolate and don’t eat meat, fear not. There are other food sources that will have you feeling chipper and healthier in no time. Bananas are a great source of Vitamin B, potassium, fibre and tryptophan. They relieve stress, increase energy levels, help with digestion and are easy to eat on-the-go. Unsurprisingly, many athletes and personal trainers are big fans of this tasty fruit.
Of course, a sustained, happy lifestyle is only achieved through a combination of factors, such as healthy eating and exercise. If you feel as though you are experiencing depressive thoughts and emotions, consider talking to a close friend or seeking the help of a professional counselling service, such asTalking Minds. Please feel free to share your thoughts on this article by commenting below.