If you’ve ever been on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, or any social media outlet, you’ve most likely seen pictures of huge, greasy hamburgers, loaded cheesy pizzas, boxes of glazed colorful d. You may have even seen pastel sweaters with “touch my butt and buy me pizza” or “fries before guys” written across the chest. People are obsessed with junk food, and I don’t blame them. Junk food tastes great, it’s addicting and convenient. It’s hard to stay away from eating deep fried, sugar coated, processed foods on a weekly– or even daily basis, however it’s important if you want to keep your body, and especially your mind healthy.
The foods you eat have a huge influence on how you feel. Junk food seriously messes with your hormones; trans fats, refined sugars, and large amounts of saturated animal fat raise cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone”. Whole and healthy foods raise your levels of happy hormones such as dopamine, but when trying to eat healthy, most people don’t think much about how their food will impact their hormone levels and their mood.
Here are some great foods to incorporate into a healthy diet to improve mood and increase feel good hormones:
Chia seeds are SO GREAT! They’re one of the most popular superfoods, and they totally deserve all the hype they get! Chia seeds are high in omega 3 fatty acids, protein, and tryptophan. Tryptophan is a key ingredient in serotonin, one of the main “happy hormones”, and it makes you feel relaxed, calm, and ready for a nice peaceful nap. Some other foods high in tryptophan include; oats, almonds, and cashews.
Chocolate is a great food to eat while crying about upcoming AP tests, on your unexpected period, or just having all sorts of #relatable struggles; and it’s not just because of the delicious taste. There have been studies done which showed that chocolate decreases cortisol, the dreaded stress hormone. So go ahead, have some chocolate every now and then, but try to opt for dark chocolate and not overindulge! (even though it oh so very hard to not do so)
Lots of people despise mushrooms, but no matter how you feel about these delicious (IMO) fungi, you can’t argue their health benefits. Shiitake mushrooms are filled with vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, which increase the body’s production of norepinephrine, serotonin, and melatonin, keeping you happy, STRESS FREE, and letting you get a good night’s sleep, enjoy that.
Another superfood… how shocking! Spirulina has so many health benefits, mood boosting being one of them! Spirulina is a seaweed which is most commonly consumed in a powder form, and it is very high in tyrosine. Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid that increases the production of hormones such as dopamine and norepinephrine, keeping you upbeat and motivated to do the 5 hours of homework a night you get from your crazed teachers.
DISCLAIMER: Although food impacts hormone production it does not dictate what goes on in your body. Many other things play a large role in happiness/hormones in the body, and although eating these foods is meant to improve mood, they are not magical (sadly).