Eat for Happiness
Our choice on what to eat at any given moment is largely based on a set of desired outcomes.
We may choose high-protein or plant-based meals when considering our diets, or we may opt for french fries or pizza when eating for comfort. Choosing foods as an emotional pick-me-up doesn’t have to be limited to high-fat or sickly sweet.
On a hot day, a milkshake could make you feel better, but with all the sugar and carbs, you’ll experience a rather sudden drop in mood shortly after. This is due to spiking sugar levels, and the body’s quick response with an increase in insulin. The proceeding rapid decline is also known as a sugar crash. It is better to opt for an impact to your serotonin and dopamine levels - chemicals in your brain that make you happy.
There are specific foods that have been proven to enhance your mood, and luckily many of them are diet friendly too.
Here are a few guilt free choices.
For a quick snack, a banana mashed with chia seeds and cocoa powder is a great option! It can feel like a dessert giving you that mind to food connection, and it’s packed with mood boosting properties. Bananas are full of potassium which helps to regulate irritability and fatigue. They also contain tryptophan which is an amino acid your body converts into serotonin. They may be high in sugar, but they have a low-glycemic index and vitamin B6 which helps regulate your body’s glucose levels. The chia seeds provide a boost too. Per ounce, chia seeds have higher levels of omega-3s than a cut of salmon! Omega-3 fats contain DHA which helps with concentration, memory, stress relief, and it’s an anti-depressant. Lastly is the cocoa. There’s a reason chocolate is associated with feeling great. Raw cocoa has phenylethylalanine. That’s a mouthful, but what it does is increase feelings of excitement, and it combines with dopamine to make you happier!
If you’re craving a happy meal, skip the drive-thru and opt for a spinach and kale salad with beets, broccoli and peas. Top it off with some crunchy flax seeds, and you’ve got a meal that’s sure to chase away the blues. Spinach is rich in iron which protects the body from weakness, irritability and exhaustion while kale floods your system with mood lifting vitamin-C, potassium and B-6. Beets have the amino acid betaine which aids in serotonin uptake, also acting as a natural antidepressant. Broccoli and peas are another great source of iron and vitamin-C making this salad the perfect mid-day meal.
Sometimes you are not hungry but still need a little perk in your day. If you’re a coffee drinker, then you are in luck. If not, then prepare a nice cup of matcha. Coffee’s ability to elevate your mood comes from the caffeine which improves cognitive endurance, alertness and vigor! Matcha takes caffeine to the next level with epigallocatechin-3- gallate, EGCG, also found in green tea. Research has consistently shown that EGCG boosts both mood and brain performance.
If you’re still craving a touch of sweet to raise your spirits, then the ideal choice would be a pumpkin pie smoothie. Both pumpkin and pumpkin seeds contain tryptophan, but the seeds hold most of it, so be sure to throw in a handful for an emotional turn around.
Having all or even a few of these foods sitting around your home or office may not be realistic. Fortunately, all of OWYN’s drinks and powders will give you what you need with a pumpkin and pea blend as the signature protein mix, along with chia or flax. The coffee flavor gives a shot of cold brew. The chocolate hits the mark with cocoa, and there’s even a matcha protein powder. Every flavor option also contains OWYN’s special blend of greens which gives you the added boost of broccoli, spinach and kale.
These on the go, ready to drink mood boosters are the healthiest and tastiest choice for true happiness in a cup.