Because many people live a fast-paced lifestyle and have a very hectic schedule, they are forced to eat quick meals on the go. Today’s packaged meals are lacking in essential nutrients. They are also packed with processed chemicals. If you constantly eat the wrong types of food, then you may become lethargic, anxious and grouchy.
It is also important to note that a diet that is lacking in essential “happy” nutrients can cause us to gain weight. You are much more likely to overindulge on high-calorie foods when you are feeling stressed. This is how the never-ending unhappiness cycle goes: You eat bad foods, then you feel bad after you eat them. You feel so bad that you start eating worse, and then you feel even worse than you felt before.
Fortunately, you can shrink your belly and boost your spirits by eating brain foods. Yes, feeding your brain the right foods can boost your energy, improve your mood and keep you from reaching for the chip bag. Below are 11 foods that contain the essential nutrients that keep your brain and body healthy.
Mussels are very high in Vitamin B12, which happens to be a nutrient that many of us are lacking. Vitamin B12 helps insulate brain cells. This not only helps boost mood, but it also helps keep your brain sharp. Mussels also have small amount of selenium, zinc and iodine, which are nutrients that support thyroid health. What is another benefit that can be reaped from eating mussels? Mussels are low in fat and calories, but they contain a large amount of protein. That is why mussels are one of the healthiest seafood options that you can find.
2.) Swiss Chard
This leafy green is rich in magnesium. This nutrient helps increase energy levels. There was a 2009 study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry that showed that increasing one’s intake of magnesium can help reduce depression. Swiss Chard is not the only food that is rich in magnesium. Halibut, soybeans and spinach are some of the other foods that are an excellent source of this nutrient.
3.) Blue Potatoes
Blue potatoes are hard to find in the supermarket, but you should definitely look for them the next time that you go to the farmer’s market. Anthocyanins are antioxidants that give the blue spuds their color. Anthocyanins help reduce the inflammation that can decrease one’s mood. They also help boost short-term memory. Additionally, the skin from the blue spuds are rich in iodine, which is a nutrient that keeps your thyroid healthy. Black beans, egg plants and berries are examples of other foods that are rich in anthocyanins.
4.) Grass-Fed Beef
Grass-fed animals have higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, in their bodies. CLA is a happy fat that blasts belly fat and reduces stress hormones. Grass-fat beef is also low in fat, but contains more omega 3 fatty acids than grain-fed beef. Want another great grass fed option? Try lamb. Lamb is packed with iron, which is a nutrient that helps keep the mood stable.
5.) Dark Chocolate
The cocoa from chocolate improves blood flow to your brain and gives you an instant boost in concentration and mood. However, snickers do not count. Cocoa is the ingredient that is good for your body. Pure dark chocolate is your best choice. You should not overdo a good thing. There is a study that was recently published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology that said that you only need to eat a few ounces of pure dark chocolate per day.
Asparagus is one of the best plant-based sources of tryptophan. Tryptophan helps create serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood. Asparagus also contains folate. Studies have shown that 50 percent of depressed people have low folate levels. Eggs, turkey and tuna are other sources of tryptophan.
7.) Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt has more calcium than regular yogurt or milk. Calcium helps your brain release those feel-good neurotransmitters. People who do not get adequate amounts of calcium are prone to irritability, anxiety, slow thinking, impaired memory and depression. Greek yogurt is also abundant in protein.
Honey has kaempferol and quercetin, which are two compounds that keep the brain healthy, reduce inflammation and ward off depression. Additionally, honey does not raise your blood sugar as much as regular sugar does. You should add some honey to a bowl of oatmeal or a cup of tea. However, you should not overdo it. Honey contains 64 calories and 17 grams of sugar per tablespoon.
9.) Cherry Tomatoes
Tomatoes are abundant in lycopene, which is a nutrient that fights the inflammation that causes depression. It also helps protect your brain. Lycopene is in the skin of the tomato, so you should put some cherry tomatoes in your salad instead of slicing one tomato. You can also add olive oil to your tomatoes. Olive oil can help increase the body’s absorption of lycopene. You should also try organic tomatoes because they have more lycopene.
Coconut is filled with medium-chain triglycerides. Those fats improve your mood and brain health. You can put some coconut shavings in your oatmeal or yogurt. You can also put some coconut shavings in your smoothie.
Eggs are filled with B vitamins, iodine, zinc, omega 3 fatty acids. All of those nutrients help boost mood. They are also high in protein, which can give you energy and keep you feeling full longer. Furthermore, a study that was done in 2008 showed that people who ate two eggs for breakfast lost a lot more weight than people who ate a bagel for breakfast.
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