For quite some time, you feel unexplainably blue or moody (not only for girls experiencing PMS but yes you may relate to this!). All you want to do is to curl up in bed, devour your choice of food, and there you go—next thing you know is you already charged-up to do your daily routines.
Truth about comfort food
Comfort food is described as a meal that gives distinctive pleasure whenever you are on your low. Each individual has a personal choice of comfort food, and sometimes it is acquired by memory or taste which are linked from our happier times.
On a broader view, stress-eating or emotional-eating is our coping mechanism when we are depressed. We do not eat just to satisfy our hunger, but also it is an indication of self-reward, finding comfort and stress reliever. Have you experienced being moody and eating as much as comfort food as you like because you feel like you deserved to be rewarded? I guess it is common to all. With that manner of thinking, obesity might kick-in.
Eat it up—in a healthy way
Not to confuse with comfort food, mood-enhancing meals are foods that contain substances that aid the release of natural neurotransmitters in our body that contribute to boosting our state of well-being. Whether you want to admit it or not, our personal choice of comfort food is a bit unhealthy (who wouldn’t like pizza, ice cream, and doughnuts?).
It does not matter if they don’t fall under your list of comfort foods, but giving them a shot won’t hurt most especially if you are on a strict diet. Below are healthy feel-good foods that you can eat to pump-up your mood:
Keep calm and eat chocolate. Depending on the amount to be consumed, chocolate is known to reduce stress. The darker the chocolate, the lower the number of unhealthy ingredients. In addition to this, the flavonoids present in dark chocolate (an antioxidant that gives the bittersweet taste) promotes a variety of cardiovascular benefits. Dark chocolate has been found to increase serotonin and endorphin levels (feel-good hormones), thus improving one’s mood.
Amino acids (building-blocks of protein) affect your mood by causing the brain to secrete tyrosine—a neurotransmitter found in protein-rich foods and increasing levels of the neurotransmitters that make you more alert and active: dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine is responsible for the assertiveness and sense of motivation while norepinephrine promotes concentration and also motivation. Sources of dietary proteins are meat, poultry or fish.
Aside from fiber and potassium, banana is also known as a fruit rich in vitamins B6, C, phosphorous, iron, healthy proteins, and tryptophan. Because it is packed with necessary nutrients needed by the body, you can quickly assess that consuming a single banana can affect your aura. To break down the effects, sucrose, and fiber help boost and sustain energy; carbohydrates aid in the absorption of tryptophan in the brain and vitamin B6 converts it into mood-booster serotonin; potassium regulates body fluids and works on body muscles.
Stir up! Our favorite morning drink is popular for activating numerous neurotransmitters that is why there are vast therapeutic uses of caffeine, with respect to proper use. As a mood enhancer, coffee’s effect on the nervous system is mainly brain and nerves stimulation and also facilitating overall cognitive function. It enhances the blood flow in the brain and invigorates the mind.
Who wouldn’t like curry? Apart from its culinary use, curcumin, a polyphenol found in turmeric and is responsible for the yellow-orange color in curry, boosts dopamine and serotonin levels to fight depression. As described above, these neurotransmitters are responsible for good moods and clear thinking. In addition, curcumin blocks monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)—enzymes that break down these neurotransmitters.
6. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 is the healthiest form of fatty acids that can also improve one’s well-being. According to a study, there are 20% reduction in anxiety to people taking omega-3, while past research has shown omega-3 fats acts as antidepressant in preventing signs of depression without no reported side effects. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids: Tuna, salmon, peanut butter, also available in supplements.