January can be a cruel, cruel month. There’s the post-holiday lull, the pressure of those resolutions and the long cold winter ahead. Need a mood boost? These five foods will take you from down to downright happy even before they hit your palate. Reclaim your feel-good chemistry by feeding your brain some mood-enhancing minerals, energy-balancing nutrients and essential healthy fats. You’ll reap the rewards in no time.
Eat your good ol’ H2O — an easily overlooked mood shifter that’ll keep your body functioning at its optimum level. Even slight dehydration can alter your energy level and attitude. Water helps convert food into energy, which releases happy hormones. And the more energy you have, the better your mood. Plus, it’s easy to get your fill: Load up on water-packed veggies and fruits like cucumbers, tomatoes or strawberries — or just drink water straight up.
2. DARK CHOCOLATE
Even before rich, dark chocolate hits your palate, the anticipation of eating it sends a message to your brain — enough to trigger the release of serotonin, which balances your mood. Chocolate can also give you mental clarity, thanks to energy-efficient magnesium, a mineral that delivers an immediately improved state of mind, by helping to convert protein, carbs and fat into energy. Want the biggest positive effect? Let chocolate melt in your mouth.
Protein-rich walnuts are packed with omega-3s — essential fatty acids that contribute to brain health by delivering serotonin and dopamine, both happy hormones for mind and mood. Plus, the protein helps stabilize your blood sugar levels, which can fluctuate from high to low throughout the day, wreaking havoc on your overall temperament.
Texturally, this creamy fruit delivers a sumptuous feeling on your palate. Nutritionally, avocados contain B12 and folic acid, two powerhouse nutrients that are known mood lifters. Potassium-rich avocados also help lower blood pressure, and their high monounsaturated-fat content helps carry nutrients to build your body’s cells.
5. GREEK YOGURT
Have you had your daily dose of probiotics? These good bacteria that naturally thrive in your gut enhance not only your digestion and immune systems, but your happiness level, too. Beyond building strong bones, calcium contributes by regulating your hormone levels, enhancing your mood.