Just when you thought you’d mastered the essential art of self-care, here comes perhaps the easiest way to help create harmony in your day and improve your mood. Nope- its not a mani-pedi or 20 minutes with a good book. Instead, you can eat your way into a happier you. Really!!*
- First and most importantly, you need to balance your protein, fat and carbs in each meal and snack.
- Then, schedule your sugar intake to help maintain focus.
- Finally, work in some gut-healthy foods to help keep anxiety at bay.
Enhance your mood with the following feel-good guidelines!
To Feel Happy: Balance your Macronutrients
- Try and get omega-3 fatty acid foods like salmon, flaxseed, and hemp hearts. Omega-3s help maintain nerves in the brain that are responsible for quick decision-making.
To Stay Focused: Time Your Sugar Correctly
- There’s some evidence suggesting that the foods we tend to seek out under stress, which are really high in sugar, can create inflammatory response in the body and brain.
- What’s worse, when you give into your sugar cravings, that midafternoon sweet becomes a habit – and it’s hard to focus on work when all you’re thinking about is snacking. (More bad news- Diets high in sugar and fat have been linked to more depression symptoms!)
- You don’t have to swear off sugar. Just understand its effects on you, and tune in to whether you’re eating so much of it that you don’t feel the way you’d like to.
To Keep Calm: Try Probiotics
- Much research indicates that the gut micro biome, the billions of good bacteria living in your digestive tract that influences everything from your body’s ability to absorb nutrients to your immune system, has a direct line of communication to the brain.
- Our anxiety and stress can either lead to or result from GI discomfort, creating a vicious cycle.
- Probiotics may help reduce stress, anxiety, low-moods, and mental fatigue- which are all signs of depression. Think of them as the dietary equivalent of a daily meditation practice.
- You can take probiotics in supplement form or eat probiotic rich foods, like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso.
*Portions of article reprinted from: Real Simple Magazine, February 2020.