When it comes to the stuff we consume, we're usually aware of specific things that are beneficial (salads, fruits) and detrimental (French fries, excessive alcohol) to our health.
But there are certain foods out there we may or may not already include in our diet that, unbeknownst to us, can provide a much-needed physical or mental boost.
Below are 8 foods that have been scientifically proven to make us happier:
1. Mushrooms: This tasty vegetable is the only plant source of natural vitamin D, and foods that contain this essential vitamins boost serotonin in the brain -- putting you in a better mood. Next time you're making a breakfast omelet or lunchtime salad, remember to throw some mushrooms in!
2. Carbs: Even though we're told to steer clear of carbs, a low-carb diet can make us feel sad and stressed. Carbohydrates increase mood-boosting chemicals in the brain. Of course, the trick is to focus on whole-grain sources, not refined carbohydrates.
3. Turmeric: The active compound in turmeric, curcumin, has antidepressant properties. Turmeric provides wide-ranging health benefits from lessening the effects of rheumatoid arthritis to fighting Alzheimer's disease and diabetes. Animal studies have also linked curcumin to a boost in dopamine and serotonin.
4. Chocolate: Chocolate contains tryptophan, which increases the production of serotonin in the brain, leading to a better mood.
5. Coffee: Not only does coffee make you more alert and enegetic, it makes you less likely to become depressed (per a study conducted by Harvard University).
6. Green tea: Because it contains polyphenols, green tea helps boost the metabolism, resulting in weight loss. It also provides a reduced risk of heart disease, Hugh blood pressure, and even osteoporosis. As if that weren't enough, it's been shown to lower stress levels.
7. Avocados: Their rich taste and smooth texture make them some of the most pleasurable foods to eat. But these healthy fats also slow digestion, thus evening our blood sugar levels and leaving us feeling calm and relaxed.
8. Salmon: Fatty fish like salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help fight depression. Why? They help maintain brain function in the areas that regulate emotion and mood. If you don't like to eat fish, try taking omega-3 fish oil supplements instead.
So there you have it. I generally avoid some of the foods on the list, like mushrooms and salmon, but I'll try to become more receptive to them after learning of all these benefits. I'm sure most of us are stoked to have yet another excuse to indulge in chocolate!
Which of the foods do you already eat? Which ones do you not currently eat but plan to incorporate into your diet after reading this entry?