Feel Good Foods

What you put on your plate directly impacts your mental health and overall mood. A diet high in sugar and highly processed foods can lead to inflammation in the body and brain. Among other things, this inflammation can impair decision-making and intensify stress, depression, and anxiety. In order to function effectively, your body and brain require a variety of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Give your mental health a boost by incorporating the following foods into your diet.

During times of stress it’s common to eat comfort foods that temporarily soothe and distract us. Salty, greasy, sugary things taste good but don’t offer a lot of nutritional benefits. It’s normal to crave these foods, but when it comes to nutrition and stress, one of the best things you can do for your body and mind is to reach for whole foods like fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grains. Treats have their place every now and then, but try adding nutrient-rich foods to your plate more often. Notice if you feel a difference in your mood. Reach for these feel good foods to make your body and your mind feel better!

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates, like whole grains (oats and brown rice) and starchy vegetables (potatoes and corn), provide a steady source of energy for your brain.

Fatty Fish

Fatty fish, like wild salmon, tuna, and rainbow trout, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote overall brain health and may help manage depression and anxiety.

Lean Proteins

Lean proteins, like fish, turkey, chicken, eggs, and beans, help keep serotonin levels balanced and improve overall brain function.

Nuts & Seeds

Nuts and seeds, like almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, and pumpkin seeds, are a great source of magnesium, which has been found to improve sleep quality.

Fermented Foods

Fermented foods, like yogurt, kefir, and pickled vegetables, contain probiotics that have been shown to reduce anxiety and stress hormones.

Fresh Fruit

Fresh fruit, like oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, berries, and bell peppers*, are all high in vitamin C, which can lower the stress hormone cortisol and blood pressure during high-stress situations.

*Yes, peppers are botanically a fruit!

Sources:
  • Nutritional Strategies to Ease Anxiety
  • Healthy Guy, Healthy Mind: 5 foods to Improve Mental Health
  • Vitamin C: Stress Buster
  • Nutrition and Stress