4 foods to improve your energy and mood
There is a direct connection between what we eat and our state of mind. Many times the food we eat influences our mood and, of course, the energy to face each day. Now more than ever, we must select what we fill our pantry with and what we put on our plates.
It is a reverse journey: just as there are foods to improve energy and raise our mood, there are also foods that are harmful to our mood and vitality. In times of confinement, it is essential to watch over our health, and food is a primary factor. More than ever, it is necessary to eat in a healthy and balanced way.
Research at Binghamton University in New York found that young people under 30 who eat fast food more than three times a week have higher levels of mental distress. This is because fast food is rich in saturated fatty acids and Omega-6s, which can cause a low-grade inflammatory response in the body that, in turn, is linked to anxiety and depression.
Our digestive system is referred to as our second brain, as the walls of the intestines contain an enormous number of neurotransmitters that influence our mood and energy.
Since what we eat influences directly how we feel, here are four foods that should not be missing from your pantry to maintain a good mood and humour.
1. Cocoa, a source of polyphenol and tryptophan
Many studies attest to its action on our state of mind. For example, a recent study from the Swinburne University of Technology in Australia showed that those who consumed cocoa showed more significant signs of happiness and good humour daily.
This is a product with large amounts of polyphenol and tryptophan, which help us to be more relaxed. Also, and consumed in moderation, it contains antioxidants, reduces blood pressure, and lowers bad cholesterol (LDL).
A tip: add a spoonful of cocoa to your smoothies.
2. Kale, an explosion of essential vitamins and minerals
Kale is rich in essential vitamins and minerals (copper, potassium, iron, or phosphorus) that elevate both mood and energy. Not only that, but a recent study published by Creighton University, Omaha, showed that kale’s calcium is absorbed better than milk.
A tip: Take it raw, so it doesn’t lose its essential nutrients and add it to salads with a splash of oil.
3. Lentils, a wealth of protein and iron
Vegetables should be a must in your pantry, especially when it is forced to stay at home longer. And within them, lentils are an important source of protein and iron, nutrients that are essential for mood and energy levels. They help maintain blood glucose levels and prevent tiredness from catching up with you in the middle of the day.
Besides, a recent study published in the scientific journal Clinical Nutrition highlighted the protective effect of lentils on the risk of cancer mortality due to their high content of polyphenols, predominantly phenolic acids and flavonoids.
A tip: if you have digestive problems, try taking them as a puree, and you will notice the difference.
4. Goji berries, the perfect anti-ageing remedy
For thousands of years, goji berries have been recommended by traditional Chinese medicine to increase energy and balance hormones. They help fight stress and improve mood and memory, among other benefits.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, goji berries are an excellent source of hard-to-get micronutrients, such as vitamin A, which is more than four times the daily amount.
A tip: add them to your stews to give them a sweet and tasty touch.