The science is clear: Today’s hurry up, dine out, mindless eating habits can zap our energy, productivity, and happiness.
Think you don’t have time to try a better approach?
Get started with our simple shopping list.
They’re an excellent source of a plant chemical known as “quercetin.” Found only in plant foods, quercetin can increase mood-boosting chemicals like serotonin and dopamine in the brain.
It’s packed with brain-protecting Omega-3 fatty acids. Not getting enough Omega-3s is linked to depression and impulsivity. Extra Omega-3s may actually boost the effectiveness of psychotherapy for people in treatment for depression.
3. Garlic and onions
They don’t just offer a wallop of flavor. They also serve as “prebiotics” for gut health. Scientists keep finding more ways a healthy gut can regulate mood. Forget wimpy powder. Chop or mince the real thing!
4. Green tea
It’s not just the moderate amount of caffeine in green tea. Another chemical known as L-theanine supports relaxation and calm while taking the edge off the caffeine effect.
5. Old-fashioned oats
When you eat lots of fiber (think whole grains and vegetables), your body produces by-products that help to reduce inflammation—and the risk of anxiety and depression.
There’s a double whammy with this fermented food, as long as you avoid the sugar-sweetened versions. Live cultures of helpful bacteria support a healthy gut-brain connection. Plus, the vitamin D prevents inflammation, which raises the risk of anxiety and depression.
This spicy pickled cabbage is known as a “functional food.” That is, it has health
benefits beyond basic nutrition. More research is needed, but fermented foods
seem to support a healthy gut, reducing behaviors associated with anxiety and depression.
You may know them as garbanzo beans. Either way, they’re a great protein source for people looking for the brain-boosting benefits of a plant-based diet. They also provide B vitamins, which support brain cell function.
If you’re looking for cell-supporting antioxidants, these tasty berries are one of the richest sources. Plus, a bowlful tastes like dessert, which may help curb your cravings for energy zapping sugar.
Leafy greens like kale are an excellent source of tryptophan. The brain uses tryptophan to produce serotonin, the neurotransmitter largely responsible for feelings of happiness and well-being.
As a special treat, chocolate may have properties that improve mood and reduce tension. But remember, the key is to choose real chocolate (dark is best), and in moderation.