Eating for Happiness: Increase Your Joy with These Foods & Beverages

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Feeling down? Look at your diet – at least that’s what many researchers are doing to explore the connections between food, beverages, and mood. The latest clinical trial to crop up involves matcha, a finely ground powder made from green tea leaves (Camellia sinensis).  

According to a Japanese study from the journal Nutrients, matcha tea powder stimulates dopaminergic neural circuits and lessens depression in mice. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in mood, motivation, satisfaction, reinforcement, and other actions associated with brain health. 

Earlier research substantiates green tea’s extensive health benefits, including its impressive anti-depressive properties. This new report helps explain how this healing elixir works its magic within the brain. 

Other Food-Mood Findings 

A growing body of research shows that people – young and old – who eat more vegetables and fruits have better emotional stability, more happiness and less stress and anxiety.  

A study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology examined the relationship between diet and mood in 281 young adults. Authors reported that participants who ate more fruits and vegetables felt calmer, happier, and more energetic, calling for further studies to explore these mechanisms of action.  

And a larger study in the journal Social Indicators Research analyzed the diets of 80,000 people in Britain. Results showed that happiness and emotional well-being were “dose dependent” on the number of vegetables and fruits people ate, suggesting that mood peaks with seven servings of fruit and/or vegetables a day. Specific measures included self-reported life satisfaction, mental well-being, happiness, nervousness, and other indicators.  

So, seven seems to be the magic number when it comes to fruit and veggie servings and your happiness. It’s likely that you can experience even greater health and happiness when you combine “good mood foods” with other anti-depressive actions such as regular exercise, mind-body practices, and targeted natural supplements.  

Good Mood Superfoods 

Here are some superstar foods that go a long way to boost mental, emotional, and overall physical health and wellness. These whole foods are rich in antioxidants, minerals, and nutrients to support relaxation and boost mental clarity and happiness. They also support many other areas of health in the process.  

Greens 

Leafy greens such as spinach, beet greens, collards, kale are loaded with nutrients that power the brain and body. They contain high amounts of magnesium, (particularly spinach), which is essential in promoting relaxation and helping the brain to increase GABA activity — GABA is a neurotransmitter involved in relaxation and stress relief, among other important functions. Greens also have folate and other B vitamins essential for stress management.  

Spirulina 

Micro-algae, such as spirulina, are also considered “green foods” thanks to their high chlorophyll content. Spirulina has a high percentage of stress-busting vitamin B12, as well as protein and minerals. It also helps to balance blood sugar — essential for mood and mental health.  

Cruciferous Vegetables  

Cruciferous vegetables — particularly broccoli — are some of the most nutrient-dense vegetables on the planet. They have active compounds that promote many health areas, including mental and emotional well-being. Cabbage has tryptophan and selenium (along with many other phytonutrients), which help relax and support a healthy mood. Broccoli is high in vitamin C, which helps fight the effects of increased cortisol. Veggies in this specific class are also excellent detoxifiers, packed with antioxidants that help enhance internal cleansing and promote long-term physical, mental, and emotional wellness.  

Avocados 

Rich in healthy mood- and brain-boosting nutrients — including fats, magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin B6, and folate — avocados support many areas of brain and whole-body health. Avocados also have tryptophan, which helps promote healthy relaxation.  

Honokiol 

Another excellent way to support relaxation and a healthy mood is with honokiol, an extract isolated from magnolia bark. This ancient staple of traditional Chinese herbalism has been used for thousands of years to address anxiety. Pure honokiol works to support a healthy mood in part by helping to regulate GABA production. It’s also a powerful antioxidant that crosses the blood-brain barrier for enhanced cognitive function. Pure Honokiol is also an excellent natural solution to support restful sleep. And at higher doses, it’s a powerful cellular health agent, helping to promote optimal cell function throughout the body.  

The Path of Life 

Physical health and mental health are intimately connected. As your body becomes stronger and healthier with the right foods, beverages, lifestyle habits, and targeted natural supplements, then happiness, relaxation, brain function, and overall energy will increase as well. Overall, these self-care practices help nourish the positive outlook and energy you need to optimize health and vitality for life.

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