MANILA, Philippines – It happens. When the weather outside is grey and gloomy, sometimes you can’t help but feel the same. And, much like your mood, your energy levels may take a dip, too.
You can fight off those blues and energy dumpers with these mood-boosting food:
Rich in the amino acid tryptophan which raises levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin in your body, bananas are a convenient mood-lifting snack. They are also rich in the mineral magnesium, another mood elevator.
Bananas don’t just improve your mood; their carbohydrates and potassium can also give you a much-needed energy boost when you are feeling tired and stressed. Carbohydrates don’t just give energy, either: they actually improve absorption of tryptophan in the brain.
Oats are rich in selenium, which helps stabilize mood by regulating thyroid function. Since oats are a complex carbohydrate, they have a low glycemic index (GI).
This means that unlike high-GI food like white bread and sugar which can give a quick energy rush that disappears all too quickly, oats stabilize blood sugar levels and provide longer-lasting energy.
If you want your oats sweet, use low-GI sweeteners like coconut sugar or stevia.
That is why dark chocolate, which has less sugar and milk and more cacao, is recognized as a healthy food, taken in moderation. In fact, a study found that subjects who ate 40 grams of chocolate every day for two weeks had substantially reduced levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
You can also take your chocolate liquid and hot, perfect for cold weather. Just melt unsweetened tablea in boiling or hot water and add milk and coconut sugar.
Remember, though, that moderation is key. Cacao is still rich in caffeine. Too much caffeine can give a quick energy boost but one that soon crashes into fatigue.
If you find yourself down in the dumps one time too many, you might strongly consider adding oily fish like tuna, salmon and mackerel in your diet. Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids ease symptoms of depression.
Fatty fish are also rich in vitamin D, the lack of which also contributes to depression. A vitamin D deficiency is linked to mood disorders like seasonal affective disorder and major depressive disorder.
No wonder the rainy season can get people down: sunlight, along with its promise of vitamin D, is in shorter supply.
For vegetarians, flax seeds and chia seeds, both rich in omega 3 and vitamin D, are good fatty fish substitutes.
Green leafy vegetables like spinach, malunggay (moringa), sweet potato tops and more are rich in B vitamins. B vitamins, especially folate (Vitamin B9), produce neurotransmitters that regulate mood, the feel-good serotonin included. Studies show that folate deficiency is linked to depression.
You can regularly eat green salads with lettuce and arugula to get your dose of leafy greens. You can also add steamed or blanched leafy greens to your meal.
One healthy and delicious way to eat your greens, though, is to drink them in a green smoothie.
A green smoothie is basically blended fruits and leafy greens. Preparing it the right way ensures a tasty smoothie that you would want to drink every day.
Here is a guide to making delicious green smoothies:
Happy woman with umbrella under the rain photo from Shutterstock
Claire Madarang is a writer, traveler, and seeker. Her wanderlust takes her on adventures like backpacking for 7 weeks straight. Her seeking leads her to different wellness practices like meditation and healthy (mostly vegetarian) eating. Follow her adventures, tips, and epiphanies at her blog, Traveling Light.