Can food improve your mood? Of course, but not in the way you think. That pizza, ice cream, or drive through junk food you think you’re craving to make you happier isn’t the food that sustains a better mood. Just like one workout doesn’t make you healthier, one meal doesn’t sustain a positive mood. A lifetime of workouts and a diet consisting of good-mood foods will dramatically change the way you see the world.
What to add:
Raw fruits and vegetables
To improve your mood, be sure to add raw fruits and vegetables to your meals. While some cooked fruits and vegetables still have health benefits, raw fruits and vegetables best maintain the nutrients and vitamins that impact our moods. They have been shown to combat depression and promote a healthier brain chemistry.
Fruits like bananas, grapefruit, citrus, and berries are the top fruits to add to improve your mental and emotional health. To get the most out of your raw vegetables, add dark leafy greens, cucumbers, celery, red onions, and mushrooms.
Don’t be afraid of fat—the good fat, that is.
We have been conditioned to be wary of fat in our diets, but don’t let the word mislead you.
Healthy fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are essential to a healthy diet and actually help your body absorb the nutrients and vitamins your body and mind need. Healthy fats are also associated with improved heart health and reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes. It’s also, fortunately, relatively easy to add to your diet.
Reach for healthy fats in foods like avocados, olive oil, nuts, and eggs. Even dark chocolate is a heart-healthy approved topping!
The key for adding fat to your diet, though, is to limit it to only healthy fats. Fried take out is covered in the unhealthy fat and does not count! Even healthy fats should be consumed in moderation, so be sure to check and respect the recommended serving sizes and calorie counts. Think a few nuts, not a bowl of nuts!
How to make it work every day:
If you’re already packing salads for your workday lunch, it’s easy to punch it up to improve your mood. Starting with a salad full of raw vegetables, you can add a hardboiled egg, an avocado, and a small amount of extra virgin olive oil to add healthy fat to your healthy salad. A simple, small dessert of dark chocolate and fresh berries finishes your good-mood lunch.