What 3 Foods Improve Your Mood

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If there’s one thing that used to get me down this time of year, it’s those short, gloomy days and long, rainy nights. I know how it is trying to find time to get out for a run or hit the gym for a little cardio workout.

We have busy lives, right? Emails to look after, kids to race off to after school activities, meals to prepare and such.  

It’s no surprise with our busy schedules and all the rain and snow, many of us feel down this time of year. We need sunlight to keep our moods and our sleep patterns in balance. Vitamin D, which we absorb primarily from sunlight, fights depression and cancer, boosts the immune system, reduces the risk of heart disease, and soothes inflammation. But what do you do when the sun is not available?

So what can you do to fight those winter blues?

Well, before I get into the food part, I want to mention that regular physical exercise is another key habit for your overall health and happiness.

No matter how gloomy you feel, even a ten minute walk will noticeably lift your mood. When I feel the need for a mood boost, I jump on my spin bike for 30 minutes. When I am on the road, I use these 5  cardio exercises to keep me in shape and stay invigorated!

Adam’s Top 5, No Gym Required, at Home, Cardio Exercises

1. Jumping Jacks – do them for 2 minutes without stopping – 3 sets of 2 minutes
2. Line Hops – Use something to act as your line on the floor. Jump back and forth over the line for 2 minutes – 3 sets
3. Quick Feet – Using the same line on the floor, jump forward and backward over the line for 2 minutes – 3 sets
4. Squat Jumps – From a squat position jump as high as you can and land back in a squat for 2 minutes – 3 sets
5. Cross Crawl – Raise your arms, then lift your right knee and bring your left elbow down to meet it. Repeat this on the opposite side and continue to alternate as fast as you can for 2 minutes – 3 sets.

Other notable at home quick exercises are sit-ups (I do 3 sets of 100) and pushup (3 sets of 15). 

Try combining a few of my favourites above to make yourself a custom home or road 20-30 min workout, 2-3 times per week. If you don’t have 20 minutes, start with one exercise for 2 minutes and work you way up to where you are doing all 5 for a total of 30 minutes. Just moving your body will set the intention in motion.

If you are not familiar with one or all of these exercise, please google them to ensure you get the right technique before starting.

OK, Adam, enough with the exercising. Tell me which foods will help boost my mood!

It’s hard to get excited about exercise and healthy eating when you’re down in the dumps. A bad mood is prime time for bad “comfort food” cravings – such as those starchy, fatty, salty, sweet, and above all, highly processed goodies.

Feeding your body the key nutrients it needs to produce mood lifting hormones like serotonin, will make you happier and allow you to make better decisions, keeping you healthier.  

Here are 3 amazing bad mood busting foods I consume often. I contribute these foods to helping me remove depression from my life and allowing me to live free of frustration, anger and anxiety, which I used to experience daily several years ago.

1. Buckwheat

Those carbohydrates you’re craving? There’s a reason for that! Carbs increase tryptophan levels in the brain, supporting the production of the mood-lifting hormone serotonin.

But potato chips and mac ‘n’ cheese – however much we love ’em – aren’t the best carbs for the job. The simple carbohydrates in processed foods are absorbed so quickly they cause a spike and a crash in your blood sugar levels that pretty much cancels out any mood boosting benefits they may have.

Buckwheat is a great source of complex carbohydrates. To keep your blood sugar levels stable, fight cravings and support the production of serotonin, try eating 2 tablespoons on top of every meal.

2. Flax or chia Seeds

If there’s one nutrient that has been proven time and time again to support good brain health and fight anxiety and depression, it’s Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. They’re such a powerful mood and concentration booster that mild cases of depression can often be treated with omega oil supplements alone.

Flax seeds are the highest dietary source of Omega 3 fatty acids, with chia seeds coming in a close second. Both are also rich in Omega 6.

What I love about seeds is that you can throw them on anything. Sandwiches, salads, pizza, soups, you name it! Even that mac ‘n’ cheese you’ve been craving!

I love seeds so much I even created my own line of organic seed mix called Ra Energy available on grocery shelves in British Columbia, Canada and soon (within 2 weeks) you can order them direct at www.RaEnergyFoods.com

Not only does Ra Energy have flax and chia, but it also has my favourite food on the planet, hemp seeds, as well as sprouted buckwheat (sprouting makes food easier to digest and converts into energy more efficiently) and unhulled sesame seeds (unhulled doubles the iron and calcium content of sesame seeds). Oh Yeah! 

3. Cacao

Do you automatically reach for the chocolate when you’re having a bad day? Cacao – the plant chocolate is derived from – is one of nature’s most powerful mood boosters, but there is a difference between store bought chocolate (even dark chocolate) and living chocolate.

Filled with hundreds of beneficial compounds, raw cacao stimulates the production of endorphins and serotonin. It’s also a powerful antioxidant and a dietary source of tryptophan.

To get the most out of the health benefits of cacao, avoid the super-sweet, ultra-processed cocoa products like candy bars, chocolate milk and cocoa powder. Instead, look for cacao beans, cacao butter, cacao nibs and cacao powder to play around with making your own living chocolate at home.

Need some chocolate making inspiration? Here are 3 of my chocolate recipes to help get your started.

Healthy Aging Chocolate Mousse

Guilt Free Chocolate Bar

Melt in Your Mouth Fudge

Other notable mood boosting foods are walnuts, asparagus and green leafy vegetables such as swiss chard, kale and spinach.

I have now armed you with 5 of my favourite, no gym required, cardio exercises and 3 of the most powerful mood boosting foods known to man. What do you plan to do with this information?

Here is my one day action plan to get you started right away.

Step 1: Start your morning by waking up 30 minutes earlier and drink a big glass of water.
Step 2:
Spend 10 minutes doing one set of each of my top 5 cardio exercises.
Step 3: Eat a morning bowl of your favourite cereal topped with Ra Energy or your own mix of seeds such as flax, chia, hemp, sesame and buckwheat.
Step 4:
Eat a large green salad for lunch and top it with 1/4 cup of buckwheat and or other omega boosting seeds (same as above).
Step 5: Enjoy a guilt free piece of raw chocolate (see recipes above) as an afternoon snack.
Step 6:
Add 1 tablespoon of Ra Energy or your own seed mix to whatever you eat for dinner.
Step 7:
If you are like me and crave something sweet after dinner, wait 3o minutes after eating and then drink a large glass of water. If you are still craving something sweet, enjoy a small bite of living chocolate but no later then 2 hours before your bedtime.
Step 8: Wake up and follow steps 1-7 again. Oh Yeah!

If you enjoyed this post, please share it socially with your friends and loved one. I appreciate your support in spreading the Power of Food love. 

Do you have a tip and or trick for fighting the seasonal blues? Have you got a special chocolate recipe you’re dying to share? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

I also invite you to join me in starting your days right with my 14 Day Breakfast Reboot Plan. For more raw vegan recipes and weight loss solution, make sure to join my newsletter at Power of Food!

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About Adam Hart

Adam Hart is the bestselling author of The Power of Food. When not on stage speaking, Adam can be found helping one of his many corporate clients in awakening an abundance of energy through his highly engaging stress management solutions.Contact Adam to book a demo for an enhanced corporate wellness experience.

Comments

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