Fight Fire with Food: Healthy Treats That Will Instantly Lift Your Mood
Life is hard. Sometimes it hits us with one punch after another until we’re left feeling overwhelmed and defeated. And battling a number of bad feelings can make us desperate to escape them – including unhealthy eating habits, which run rampant among women, especially when we’re stressed. Stats show that Americans (what is it with us??) consume way too much sodium, sugar, and bad fats, and not enough vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, dairy products, and oils (makes me want to move to Italy and deny ever having touched a french fry).
But never fear! I’m here to tell you that there are ways to combat stress and sadness, and keeping unhealthy eating patterns at bay—I kid you not. So, the next time you feel like turning to the fridge after a bad day, don’t. Girl, you are better than that. Instead, here is a list of snacks that will actually help lift your mood—not make it worse (like the tragic, post-break up binges we’ve been known to go on often do…can I get an amen?!).
These have some pits that won’t gross you out (too far? LOL.) These bad boys are rich in good fats and folate, and bring a litany of health benefits, from protecting your heart to your digestion. Given their texture, they’re also perfect to add to smoothies to froth it up (spoiler: they’re in a yummy recipe at the end of this article!) They’re also just curvy and cute, much like us women, so what’s not to love, really?
Easy, yummy, and mess-free. Also, healthy fats, antioxidants, and protein. Enough said. A handful of nuts for an afternoon snack can stave off cravings for things like, I dunno, chocolate? (My cravings hit full force around 3:00 o’clock, FYI.)
Absolutely the last food I’d like to eat before I die. I’m tickled that this made the list because they’re so freaking delicious! Strawbz carry tons of vitamins, including A and C, and boost happy chemical production in your brain. Yez plz.
Even if you’re “clambivalent” about seafood, try these to mix it up with this new protein on your plate. Loaded with B12, clams are a fantastic anti-depressant (studies have shown that depressed with low levels of B12 felt much better after three months of consuming it regularly.)
You’ll feel simply “radishing” after chowing on such a nutritious snack. With their pop of flavor and crunch, these plump little veggies likely lift your mood by raising levels of dopamine and norepinephrine.
These juicy little booties are both good for you and great workout inspo (here we come glutes day!) Their antioxidant cocktail of beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin (plus depression-fighting vitamin B6) all lead to a heightened mood. I personally love dried apricots, but watch the sugar, as they tend to ramp up in dried fruits.
Can’t forget my fellow sweet tooths (or would it be sweet teeth?) Like a great summer tan, the darker, the better. Research has linked dark chocolate’s concoction with increased levels of calm and contentment. Ahhhhh.
Opt for wild-caught. This lean mean slice of protein boosts both brain health and your mood, thanks to a hefty helping of mood-stabilizing omega 3’s (which, by the way, our bodies do not produce on their own!) It also carries an extra punch of vitamin B12, a big player in warding off depression and maintaining mental health.
Rich in iron and mild in flavor, oats are one of the most versatile and simplest grains to incorporate into your diet. One pack of fortified instant oatmeal contains 11mg of iron (women need 18mg per day.) Iron, a common source of deficiency in women, is important to keep up your energy, fuel muscle strength, and distributing oxygen.
Caffeine junkies, rejoice. Coffee has been linked with decreased levels of depression in women. It increases dopamine and serotonine within 30 minutes. Bless. Up.
You are a K-W-E-E-N, so treat yourself like one! While it might seem like nothing else will comfort us after a crappy day like downing a pint of gelato whilst binging Black Mirror (Hello, nightmares?!), we assure you, it’s not. There is absolootely a happy medium to strike between (1) obsessive eating habits and (2) finding foods you love that make your body happy. Fuel yourself with good foods, and your body will give back fantastic benefits that will keep you feelin’ 100%.