Unfortunately, stress is very common with most people and can be a negative part of everyday life. Whether it’s your ‘to do’ list is a mile high, running late for work, struggling to pay the bill, or kids throwing a fit, you can definitely feel it… a chemical reaction that causes your muscles to tense up and your heart to race, it’s undeniable.
If left untreated, stress can really wreak havoc on your overall health and wellness. It can start with subtle things like making you more susceptible to a cold or getting sick, even raise your blood pressure which will increase your risk of diabetes. Stress can also make you more likely to have depression.
Exercise and meditation are very healthy ways to reduce stress, but many don’t know that certain nutrients in food can really help as well. If you happen to be feeling blue or your mood is not where you want it to be, stock up on some of these foods below to get that much-needed boost.
Serotonin is a chemical that has a wide variety of functions in the human body. It is sometimes called the happy chemical because it contributes to wellbeing and happiness according to Psycom. It also is used to transmit messages between nerve cells and is thought to be active in constricting smooth muscles, and it contributes to wellbeing and happiness, among other things. It is thought to play a role in appetite, emotions, and motor, cognitive, and autonomic functions. It appears to play a key role in maintaining mood balance. Low serotonin levels have been linked to depression. So as you can see, it is very important.
Here are some healthy foods that can help boost your serotonin levels, as well as your mood:
Green Tea & Black Tea
These teas contain L-theanine, which is an amino acid that helps increase dopamine and serotonin products. Like serotonin, dopamine is another “feel-good” chemical in your brain that helps promote pleasure.
Sometimes green tea can have more caffeine than a cup of coffee, but the L-theanine in the tea can counteract the caffeine stimulant to help promote more feelings of joy and relaxation.
Really, I know what you’re thinking... Chocolate is healthy?!? Yes, dark chocolate has resveratrol which is an antioxidant. Not only is it healthy but this antioxidant helps stimulates the release of serotonin in your brain. And we know serotonin makes you feel more relaxed and happy. What’s better than that?! Well, the nutrients in dark chocolate help improve blood flow and can help lower blood pressure. But just like everything in life, don’t overdo it. One ounce of dark chocolate a day is the best amount, plus to get the most benefits, eat chocolate that is non-alkalized and 70% cacao or above.
Another great food to boost your serotonin levels is eggs. Eggs have amino acids that make feel-good chemicals. They are one of the best ways to start your day because they’ll prevent blood sugar swings, boost your energy level, plus the mood-boosting effects, what’s not to like? There are also so many ways to fix yummy eggs and it’s not just a breakfast food! Whip of an omelet, have a boiled egg for a midday snack, have some soft and fluffy scrambled egg and include some of your favorite veggies to have a balanced meal.
Here at Mauricettes, we are all about becoming the best versions of ourselves and we believe that starts inside out. That’s why we go above and beyond to formulate our vitamins to support your best life.
If you’re starting to stress and want something quick to grab, try a banana. They’re lower in calories and readily available, plus have plenty of B6 vitamins. If you have a deficiency in vitamin B6 it will decrease your serotonin production. They’re also rich in potassium which can help decrease a raised blood pressure.
Cooked spinach is a great source of folic acid and adding more folic acid in your diet will increase the serotonin levels in your brain, which will calm your mood. If you find your mood being low, fix yourself a salad with plenty of spinach or another vegetable that is a good source of folic acid like lima beans or root vegetables. It will be sure to boost your spirits and your folate intake.
Omega-3s is another mood-boosting essential! A deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids will reduce the efficiency of movement in neurotransmitters such as serotonin. We talked about serotonin earlier, so we know how important it is to help keep your mood balanced. So check out these great foods high in omega-3s:
Cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines are abundant in omega-3s, which is amazing, not only for your heart but stress management. These fatty acids are essential in protecting your neurons from damage that stress causes. Adding more cold-water fish in your diet is especially helpful for those who deal with chronic stress. Aim to eat salmon, or other fatty fish twice a week for best results. They’re more of a “meatier” fish, so they’re great at satisfying your appetite as well.
If you’re not into fish, maybe try nuts to get your omega-3. This is especially essential for vegans and vegetarians since they can't have fish. Flaxseeds, walnuts, pecans, almonds are all wonderful and a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. They can be added on top of a salad, spruce up your oatmeal, thrown in with your smoothie, or even grab a handful and eat for a snack. There are so many fun ways to get your omega-3s through nuts and even many healthy snack bars you can grab when you’re in a rush! So no excuses not to get your essential fatty acids and what a quick way to boost your mood when you’re feeling down.
If you have chronic stress, it can really reduce themagnesium in your body and low levels of magnesium will increase your susceptibility to stress which is, unfortunately, a compounding effect. When you stress, does it also cause you to feel anxious, irritable or agitated? If so, you might be deficient in magnesium. Try some of these foods rich in magnesium:
Leafy Vegetables & Vitamin C Enriched Foods
Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and chard contain lots of magnesium to help anxiety, irritability, or agitation due to chronic stress. They’re also high in B vitamins and vitamin C. A mild to moderate deficiency to vitamin C may also be associated with increased nervousness and anxiety. Vitamin C will also help protect your immunity and against toxins, along with helping improve your mood. More foods high in vitamin C include oranges, bell peppers, potatoes, broccoli, as well as leafy greens.
Swiss Chard is an extra special leafy green because not only is it packed with magnesium, but it can help balance out your cortisol levels. Red peppers are packed with Vitamin C as well, which in greater amounts helps control your cortisol levels. Just ½ cup of red peppers contains 158 mg of vitamin C which is more than a 6 oz. of orange juice. Cortisol, which both of these foods help with, is important because it is the primary hormone responsible for stress. It prepares your body for fight-or-flight reactions by flooding your body with glucose for immediate energy. It is especially important for men, who tend to have higher levels of cortisol than women.
Tryptophan is an amino acid needed for normal growth in infants and for nitrogen balance in adults. It is an essential amino acid perMedline Plus. This means your body cannot produce it, so you must get it from your diet. The body uses tryptophan to help make niacin, melatonin, and serotonin, which we know is incredibly important for regulating mood balance. A decrease in tryptophan can lead to aggression. Check out these foods that contain tryptophans:
We all know protein is important to help us feel full but it is also important to fill your diet with high-protein foods like oats, bananas, dried dates, and low-fat dairy products because they’re the best source of tryptophan. Again tryptophans are not produced in our body so we have to get them from our diet.
Pumpkin seeds shouldn’t be used just in fall because they’re high in tryptophan and zinc, which makes them a calming snack. They can help balance your blood sugar in any season and can be spiced by baking them with all sorts of seasonings like sea salt, turmeric, ginger, and pepper.
All of Mauricettes high-quality vitamins and minerals are proudly formulated right here in the United States by some of the best clinical & formulary herbalists in the industry in an FDA registered, cGMP certified, and allergen-free facility.