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12 Foods That Make You Happy

Food | Lifestyle

Wouldn’t it be a dream come true if eating could make you more joyful, calm and healthy? And wouldn’t it be even more amazing if these positive effects were experienced not only while you were enjoying the meal, but continued on long after the last bite was consumed?

Well have I got some great news for you! Recent research has demonstrated that a number of foods not only work with your brain to make you feel happier and more relaxed, they also have similar effects on the body as taking prescription anti-depressants, anti-anxiety and muscle relaxants.

Indulge in these healthy options to keep the blues at bay, improve energy levels, promote calmness and even boost memory and cognitive function:

1. Avocado

Tryptophan, an essential amino acid used by the brain to produce serotonin— the feel good central nervous system neurotransmitter is abundant in this fruit. Avocados also are beneficial for skin, hair and nails. And we all know that when you look good, you feel good!

2. Berries

Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries have the nutrients anthocyanidins and anthocyanins which help reduce depression and stress.

3. Chicken

Vitamin B12 found in poultry helps calm the body.

4. Chicken Noodle Soup

Known for curing whatever ails you, this hot liquid, protein and fiber powerhouse also improves mood and boosts energy. This probably explains why it's the go-to food even for the common cold and flu.

5. Dark Chocolate

This savory treat is high in magnesium which helps reduce anxiety and calms muscles. Dark chocolate also contains phenylethylamine (PEA), the chemical created by the brain when you experience falling in love. PEA promotes the brain’s release of endorphins. That’s why eating chocolate makes you feel happier!

6. Greek Yogurt

This healthy standout is chock full of probiotics which assist in improving mood and immune system.

7. Green Tea

While tea has long been considered to be a soothing beverage, green tea is full of theanine, which is known to lower stress and anxiety and elevate mood. To get the maximum benefits, use a high quality Japanese green tea.

8. Salmon

High in Omega 3s, this fatty fish helps stabilize moods, decrease depression and improve memory and focus. Is that why fish swim in schools?

9. Spinach

Containing high amounts of folic acid, spinach is known for its mood-elevating benefits.

10. Swiss Chard

Rich in magnesium, this leafy green is especially beneficial for women by helping them manage stress better, improve quality of sleep and alleviate symptoms of PMS.

11. Tomatoes

Lycopene— an antioxidant found in tomatoes—fights inflammation in the brain. Because lycopene is fat soluble, eat tomatoes with some olive oil which helps the body absorb lycopene.

12. Walnuts

Considered to be an ideal nosh for improving mood, walnuts are loaded with B vitamins. These help keep mood balanced, fight fatigue, anxiety, stress, tension and irritability. In addition, walnuts are rich in Omega 3s which help the brain function properly and ward off depression.

Add these healthy powerhouses to your regular diet and eat your way to happiness!

Featured in New York Magazine, The Guardian, and The Washington Post
Featured in the Huffington Post, USA Today, and VOGUE

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