Eat for Happiness

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Did you know that the foods you eat can have an effect on your mood?

What we eat and the things we do affect our brain, biology and mood balance. There are certain foods that can make you feel better by helping to increase the feel good chemicals in your body and maintain a balanced biology. A happy body is a balanced well nourished body. Eating these happy inducing foods infuse your body with nutrients, allowing the brain to produce neurotransmitters that give you a natural high. 

If you are suffering from excess stress, anxiety and/or depression don’t overlook the role of nutrition.

Keys to eating for happiness:

  1. Eat to support a healthy gut – pre and probiotics to make sure there is more good than bad bacteria in your gut
  2. Avoid processed foods and unhealthy oils (no fried foods)
  3. Identify and remove any intolerant foods from your diet
  4. Focus on anti-inflammatory foods – brightly colored fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices
  5. Eat balanced meals that include protein, healthy fats and lots of fiber filled and antioxidant rich vegetables

Superpowered Happy Foods:

Avocados, cold water fish, shiitake mushrooms, raw/sprouted nuts and seeds, berries, leafy greens, herbs and spices.

Happy Foods Shopping List:

Research has shown that eating foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids are not only super healthy, but can also increase happiness, lessen symptoms of depression, and quell anxiety. Nutrients that combat depression and boost mood are calcium, chromium, folate, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, vitamin D, and zinc.

Protein Carbohydrates Fats

Eating protein at each meal helps to balance hormones and mood and increases energy. It also helps with concentration and memory, mood swings, unstable blood sugar levels and trouble maintaining or losing weight. 

Tip: Always pick organic, humane, free range options. Protein needs will vary by person. A moderate serving of protein is about the size of a deck of cards. Proteins high in the amino acid tryptophan, like turkey, are especially good as tryptophan is needed to produce the happy neurotransmitter serotonin.

Best options:

  • Grass fed beef (limit to 2x a week)
  • Bison
  • Lamb
  • Pork tenderloin
  • Halibut
  • Wild salmon and other cold water fish
  • Oysters
  • Turkey
  • Chicken 
  • Eggs
  • Beans (Chick-peas)
  • Lentils
  • Nut and seed butters
Focus on low glycemic, nutrient dense carbohydrates that are high in fiber. Watch intake and focus on balanced meals. Overeating can cause a spike in blood pressure. Complex carbohydrates help enhance the proper absorption and balance of two important mood regulators tryptophan and serotonin. 

Tip: If you are watching your weight, be mindful of your intake of starchy carbohydrates. Starchy carbohydrates eaten at your last meal can help with sleep. Brightly colored vegetable based carbohydrates are best. Also, watch high sugar fruit intake and always eat with a protein.

Complex carbohydrates: 

  • Gluten free pasta
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Amaranth, Barley, buckwheat
  • Squash

Best options:

  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Beets
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Berries
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Oranges
  • Peas, fresh
  • Savoy
  • Soybeans
  • Spinach

Supportive Herbs and spices:

  • Rosemary
  • Saffron
  • Ceylon Cinnamon
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric
Fats are the most concentrated source of energy of any macronutrient. Also, your brain needs a balance between omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6. Keeping these in balance help with inflammation levels  in your brain and therefore improve depression symptoms.

Tip: Omega-3 plays an important role in brain health and the body does not naturally produce Omega-3s, so the fatty acid needs to be consumed from outside sources.

Best options:

  • Grass fed beef
  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Nuts and seeds (chia, flax, almonds,  walnuts, brazil nuts, pumpkin, sunflower)
  • Avocado
  • Wild Salmon, trout and tuna are highest in omega 3s

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