Every one of us has indulged in comfort foods, foods that give us a sense of peace or home or nostalgia. Unfortunately, those comfort foods don’t always provide us the comfort we desire, and we are left seeking another means of fulfillment. Scientists are now starting to understand that many of those “comfort foods” don’t really comfort us because they do not properly support our gut biome and other biological systems. And we now understand there is a strong connection between what we eat and our mental health. If you truly want to eat for comfort, check out these 7 foods that can help you eat yourself happy.
1. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate, that over 70% cocoa, is good for our physical and mental health. It contains antioxidants that make our platelets less sticky, reducing the risk of blood clots, and reduce our risk of chronic inflammation and insulin resistance. It also contains neurochemicals such as serotonin, a neurotransmitter that aids in mood regulation and cognitive function. When we eat very dark chocolate, we are effectively eating to support our minds and our bodies.
Quinoa contains a high percentage of flavonoids, which protect the brain; iron, which helps increase oxygen levels in our blood to support brain health; and riboflavin or Vitamin B2, which helps maintain brain and muscle health. It also is a complete protein, contains high levels of magnesium, and contains twice as much fiber as other grains, which helps feed the beneficial bacteria in our guts. Adding quinoa to your daily diet is an easy way to benefit your whole self.
3. Dark, Leafy Greens, Poultry, and Beef
Dark, leafy greens, poultry, and beef contain high amounts of Vitamin B6, which convert tryptophan, an essential amino acid, into serotonin, a neurotransmitter that aids mood, learning, and appetite control. Spinach, kale, bananas, papaya, oranges, and cantaloupe also contain significant amounts of B6, so it is easy to eat a varied diet and still acquire this essential nutrient.
Coffee can improve our moods? Are any of us coffee drinkers shocked? Now, though, we have evidence. A study conducted by a Harvard professor demonstrated that drinking coffee can reduce our risk of depression by up to 1/3. According to Dr. Alan Levitan, its positive effect is due to its anti-inflammatory and microbiome-promoting properties. Caffeine can also block receptors in our brains from binding with chemicals that cause fatigue and some depression. Now you can drink your morning coffee knowing that you are doing yourself some good.
5. Green Tea
Green tea is one of the healthiest foods for us. Not only does it have positive physical effects on our bodies such as lowering our blood pressure and cholesterol, increasing our metabolisms, and reducing inflammation due to the antioxidants it contains, but it also contains theanine, an amino acid, which helps reduce stress and anxiety. Green tea is also versatile. It can be brewed as a delicious beverage or included in smoothies and savory meals.
6. Salmon or Walnuts
Salmon or walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to improved mood and reduced symptoms of depression in patients participating in dozens of studies. Walnuts also contain high amounts of magnesium, a mineral linked to relaxation. Other good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are seaweed, chia, hemp, and flax seeds, edamame, and kidney beans. Dark green, leafy vegetables, milk and yogurt, and legumes offer healthy doses of magnesium.
Berries are truly a superfood. They taste delicious, look beautiful, and contain anthocyanins, an antioxidant that reduces inflammation that has been linked to depression. In fact, anthocyanins are found in many foods with red, purple, blue, or black skins, such as plums, cherries, black and red grapes, red cabbage, red onions, black beans, black rice, and wine. Berries, though, contain the highest amount of anthocyanins, particularly Aronia berries.
Adding Superberries Aronia berry products to your healthy diet can help you achieve the happiness you desire. Combining frozen berries with yogurt or oatmeal for a delicious, simple breakfast provides you with antioxidants, magnesium, and iron, all mood boosters. Blending Aronia berries into a vinaigrette to serve over kale salad or a salsa to server over salmon is another delicious way to choose happiness. Because Aronia berries are so versatile, you can easily incorporate them into your everyday quest for true comfort foods.