Have you ever felt heavy and sleepy after having lunch with your co-workers?
They invited you to go with them to their favorite restaurant, which serves local caloric dense foods and you couldn’t say no.
After lunch, you feel a little foggy in your head. You want to do something productive, maybe work a little bit on your side hustle, but your body says no.
How Food Affects Our Mood And Energy Level
You knew brain fog was a real thing and can be caused by stress and sleep deprivation.
But did you know, that your food choice might be the cause as well?
According to many recent studies, the amount of food you ingest plays only a minor short-term role when it comes to your mood and energy level.
Meanwhile, the type of food and its macronutrients has a much bigger long-term impact on your well being than you might think.
Studies show, that some food can even be considered for treatment and prevention of brain-based disorders like depression or anxiety.
Isn’t It Great?
By making small adjustments in your daily diet, you can feel better, be much healthier, have more energy and keep clarity throughout the day.
An Ultimate List Of Antidepressant Foods
What kind of feel-good foods have such superpowers? Tell me now!
All right, all right, there is no secret behind feel-good foods.
You probably know them already, but for whatever reason don’t include them into your daily diet on purpose. All of them could make a list of foods our mothers told us to eat when we were younger.
It is not a coincidence.
Many feel-good foods, too, are repeatedly showing up in recommended healthy diets. Don’t worry, broccoli is not among them, nor are avocado toasts. It is not always about having the best chemical composition.
To be considered as a feel-good food, it should also sweeten our lives and lighten our moods. Below is the list of my favorite feel-good foods.
Ready? Here we go.
Peanuts are my single most favorite food supplement of all time.
They take up about 1O% of my daily calorie intake and I eat them after dinner and before the workout.
Did you know that peanuts are not technically nuts? They are a byproduct of legume crops, therefore they are not mentioned, when you someone recommends healthy nuts.
Nevertheless below are the reasons you should consider eating peanuts.
1. Peanuts lower your cholesterol level
Majors studies show, that peanuts can lower your cholesterol level, even though they are high in fat and are calorically dense.
2. Helps you maintain your blood sugar level
Studies also discovered, that eating peanuts for breakfast can keep your blood sugar level in check throughout the day, even after a high carb meal.
3. Strengthen your memory
Vitamin B3 in peanuts offers many health benefits, including improved brain function and memory capacity.
4. Protect you with antioxidants
Peanuts contain unique unspellable macronutrients that act as antioxidants.
5. Helps you with losing weight
Whenever you get cravings, grab about 20-30g of unsalted roasted peanuts. It should be enough to fill you up and keep you going for the next 3-4 hours.
Avoid salted ones as too much salt will make you bloated and will increase your hunger.
Finally, be careful and don’t eat them if you are allergic to nuts.
Banana is my most favorite fruit ever. I eat at least one almost every day, mostly before the workout and after dinner, together with peanuts.
Simply because bananas are known to contain all kinds of natural sugar, sucrose, fructose, and glucose combined with some fibers.
1. Boosts your energy level
With so much sugar-packed inside, a banana will give you an immediate energy boost.
Only two bananas alone will provide you enough fuel to endure a 90-minute exercise. No wonder banana is a popular fruit amongst professional athletes worldwide.
2. Helps you with losing weight
Have you seen an overweight athlete yet? Me neither.
That is because every time, they get sugar cravings from low glucose levels, they eat a banana instead of chips and chocolate.
3. Helps you maintain your blood sugar level
Another beneficial nutrient Vitamin B6, found in the banana, will help you keep that glucose level in check preventing you from overstuffing with unhealthy foods.
4. Makes you feel better
Apart from physiological benefits, research studies found, that banana might have a positive mental effect too.
Among people suffering from depression, a large proportion of them feels significantly better after eating a banana. That’s because banana contains tryptophan, a protein that converts itself into serotonin, a happiness hormone.
5. Improves your focus
Another research has shown that this fruit can help students be more focused.
200 students were given a banana during their exams. They eat them for breakfast, snack, and lunch. As a result, their performance outclassed non-banana groups.
So, banana is indeed a universal feel-good food, that can boost your day with instant energy.
Watermelon is a perfect dessert during summer. Nothing is more refreshing than a slice of sweet red watermelon.
I like yellow melons even more, but it is expensive and hard to buy.
As each feels good food, it is packed with vitamins and nutrients, while low in calories, and is quite refreshing and tasty. If you include watermelon into your daily diet, your body will thank you for that.
A cup of watermelon contains about 21% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C, 18% of vitamin A, 5% of potassium, 4% of magnesium and 3% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin B1, B5, and B6.
Now imagine eating the whole watermelon in one sitting.
If you are still no convinced, below are undeniable reasons why you should eat melons every day.
1. Protects you from free radicals
Watermelons contain an antioxidant called lycopene. Lycopene prevents cell damage caused by free radicals. In addition to lycopene, watermelon also contains high potassium levels, which lower cholesterol and improve blood flow. A high level of potassium also helps to maintain calcium level, which is important for healthy bones and joints.
2. Helps you with losing weight
Watermelon is about 90% water and has little to no calories, making it a great fruit for those who want to lose weight. But low calories are not the only reason you should eat watermelons regularly to lose weight. Citrulline, found in melons, is converted to arginine, an amino acid that ignites a fat-burning process.
3. Protect your eyesight
Eating more watermelon can slow down the degradation of your vision because watermelons contain high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin C, lutein and zeaxanthin. Be kind to your eyes and prevent glaucoma with a piece of melon.
4. Makes you feel better
Melons contain a great amount of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is needed to produce several chemicals in our brain that are responsible for our mood and behavior (mainly serotonin and dopamine). Imbalances can cause mood swings, anxiety, and depression. Low levels of vitamin B6 may also play a role in short-term memory loss. That is why watermelon is a perfect snack for students.
Blueberries are the ultimate fruit I wish I could eat every day, only if it would be cheaper.
Nutritionists often refer to them as superfoods because they are very low in calories and are full of healthy nutrients. They are very tasty and can easily be included in any diet.
1. Protects you from free radicals
Blueberries are known to be the largest natural sources of antioxidants.
Hell, they have the greatest antioxidant ability of all commonly available fruits and vegetables.
Antioxidants are very important because they protect our bodies from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that damage cell structures and contribute to aging.
The main antioxidants in blueberries are substances from the group of polyphenols called flavonoids.
In one study lasting 4 weeks, 168 participants had to drink 1 liter of a blueberry juice per day. At the end of the study, participants were found to reduce DNA damage due to oxidative stress by an average of 20%.
The same findings were made in smaller studies where participants consumed fresh blueberries or blueberry powder.
2. Improves your cognitive functions
Blueberries may improve the memory and functioning of your brain.
Studies on animals indicate that blueberry antioxidants like to hang out in brain areas that are important for intelligence, memory and learning ability.
These antioxidants seem to apply their magic directly on neurons and improve their signaling and communication capabilities.
Studies on humans are also promising.
One of them was held with 9 elderly participants suffering from mild cognitive dysfunction who drank blueberry juice daily. Several indicators of brain function improved just after 12 weeks.
3. Help you with maintaining weight
Compared to other fruits, blueberries contain relatively little sugars.
One portion (150 g) of blueberries contains about 15 grams of carbohydrates, which is like eating one small apple or one large orange. Therefore you won’t gain weight as fast as when eating snickers whenever you get cravings.
It is clear that blueberries are very healthy, tasty and contain a lot of nutrients. Besides, they are sweet and can be included in the diet in many ways.
I love cherry tomatoes. It is my number one side dish when I am solo traveling. They are small, cheap and full of vitamins. I bet you eat them regularly every day in one way or another.
Why are they healthy? It’s no secret that both small and large tomatoes contain almost all of the vitamin alphabet, C, A, B, E, K.
No need for more words. Just eat them and prosper.
By the way, did you know that tomato is a fruit? At the end of the 19th century, the United States Supreme Court ruled in one lawsuit that tomato was a vegetable.
OMG, why? Because at that time vegetables were subject to import duties, while the fruit was not lol.
One final tip though. While legend says that vegetables and fruit are best consumed raw. You know, to keep as many vitamins as possible.
This is not the case with tomatoes. When you heat them, you lose some of the vitamins, but it will increase the ability of your body to obtain its main antioxidant lycopene.
Another fantastic feel-good food, that I hated as a kid, but fell in love as an adult. Every time there is a discount on salmon, I buy a few kilos just in case.
Below are the reasons why salmon should be included in your diet.
1. Makes you feel better
Salmon is one of the healthiest fish species in the world. Together with tuna, and herring, they are all on the shortlist of foods naturally containing vitamin D.
Some scientists suspect there is a link between low levels of vitamin D and depression. Vitamin D plays a major role in converting tryptophan into the happiness hormone serotonin.
2. Help you with losing weight
Salmon is a great source of high-quality protein. Proteins are essential nutrients that the body cannot produce itself and need to be taken from the food.
Like other protein-rich foods, salmon can effectively control your hunger and satiety. It can also speed up your metabolism and reduce abdominal fat thanks to omega-3 fatty acids.
3. Improves your brain functions
Moreover, studies suggest that regular salmon consumption can improve brain function.
Both fatty fish and fish oil help alleviate depression, reduce anxiety and slow down memory deterioration.
Another study on people with normal brain function found that participants who regularly consume fatty fish have more gray matter in their brain than those who do not eat fish.
Salmon is without doubt one of the tastiest fish. It has a unique flavor that is not fishy at all, which is the reason why many people don’t eat fish.
Sweet potato is another food, that is very nutritious, filling, rich in beta carotene antioxidants and very delicious. They can be boiled, baked, steamed, or fried.
One medium-sized potato can cover your recommended daily dose of vitamin A, partly vitamin C and B6. Compared to standard potatoes, they are tastier and have many more health benefits.
Below are some of them.
1. Keeps you blood level low
While high glycemic index of classic white potatoes means that their carbs are quickly converted into sugar in the blood, carbs in sweet potatoes do not increase sugar level as much.
2. Protects your eyesight
Every food that contains Beta carotene is good for our eyes, including sweet potatoes.
Apart from beta carotene, they contain large amounts of antioxidants, vitamins C and E, which can prevent eyesight degeneration.
3. Makes you feel better
They also contain some vitamin B. As I mentioned many times before, lack of vitamin B is the reason why we feel fatigued.
Say yes to dark chocolate!
Finally a snack you always wanted to eat every day since you were a kid. Now you can and should.
But aim for one with at least 70 percent of cocoa. If there is any artificial ingredient inside, such as various flavorings or processed sugar, then leave it in the store.
It is a great snack for people who get sugar cravings all day long and care about their health and figure. By replacing ordinary snacks with a bar of dark chocolate, they can gain many benefits, that are listed below.
1. Improves your brain function
The greatest benefit of this sweet delicacy lies in flavonoids, an antioxidant that comes from cocoa beans. Experts believe that dark chocolate has even more flavonoids than wine and tea.
Interestingly ingesting flavonoid foods is associated with better cognitive performance. So eating cocoa with a high content of flavonoids regularly will improve blood flow to your brain.
2. Makes you feel better
Swiss scientists (who are the best in chocolate research) found that when very anxious people ate half of the dark chocolate every day for two weeks, their stress hormone levels were significantly reduced.
And how much dark chocolate should you eat each day?
According to experts, health benefits are maximized at 20 – 30 g of dark chocolate per day. However, it is individual and depends on your lifestyle.
You can eat dark chocolate alone, use it to flavor oatmeal, yogurt or fruit salad.
There you go. Now you know what to eat to be healthy both physically and mentally.
Every time you get cravings, just eat some feel-good food described in this article and you will be able to hustle 24/7.
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