Why is that whenever we feel upset or depressed about something, many of us automatically find ourselves reaching out for our favourite foods? Or why is a celebration always associated with a sweemeats or a chocolate? Comfort food! Yes, that is the answer to the above questions. But though these foods provide temporary relief, most of them adversely affect our health due to their usually high calories, sugar or fat content. You tend to wallow in agony and end up over eating most of the time and next thing you know, those kilos have piled on. The big question is how to indulge in mood foods that can both, pep us up and yet, not add those dreaded calories that take so long to work off. Here are some interesting healthy options.
Chocolates, in general are loaded with chemicals that enhance mood, seratonin in particular, whose release is triggered when chocolate is consumed. It also said that chocolate contains some of the same mood-enhancing chemicals, found in marijuana albeit in smaller quantities. Dark chocolate is especially good as it contains a higher percentage of cocoa and less sugar than milk chocolate. The anti-oxidants and flavanoids present in dark chocolate help reduce blood clot formation, cancer and heart disease. And since too much of anything is bad, dark chocolate too should be eaten in moderation, especially by those those who are watching their weight.
Besides being a good source of protein, calcium and vitamin B12, yogurt also contains a whole lot of useful bacteria. It is good for digestion and stomach infections, and helps improve the body’s immune system. So, if you’re craving for something sweet, try out a bowl of yogurt with a spoon of honey added to it. It will make you happy and keep you healthy too.
Sweet potatoes help in reducing stress levels as they satisfying the body’s craving for carbohydrates and sweets. Instead of demolishing a pastry or cheesecake, eat roasted or boiled or mashed sweet potatoes. Because they are rich in beta-carotene, vitamins and fibre, sweet potatoes help the body to process the carbohydrates gradually, thus releasing the sugar slowly and keeping you happier for longer.
Various nuts like almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and even peanuts are packed with vitamins an nutrients. Almonds are known to contain serotonins, Vitamin E, vitamin B2 also known as Riboflavin and anti-oxidants that improve the immune system. They are also known to cut down down the harmful effects of stress. The next time you’re feeling down, help yourself to some crunchy nuts.
Though water cannot be classified as a food item, it plays a crucial role in the smooth functioning of the body. Drinking lots of water is essential to maintain good skin, hair and eyes. And why is that important? Because when you look good, you also feel good. Lack of sufficient consumption of water leads to dehydration and even a small case of dehydration can cause stress. So, drink up!
Fish is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, protein and importantly, Vitamin B 12 which is an important component for producing serotonin also known as the happy hormone. This is the hormone that helps in balancing one’s emotional level. Another good reason to eat fish is because our bodies are not capable of producing sufficient amounts of the essential Omega-3 fatty acids.
Asparagus is rich in folic acid and contains magnesium that are famed for their mood-lightening properties. Most importantly, it’s low on calories and does not contain fat or cholesterol. Incidentally, asparagus belong to the same plant family as leeks, garlic and onions. Baby asparagus stalks are tender, crunchy and tasty all the same time making them the perfect any-time snack.
Oranges are a rich source of vitamin C containing up to 1000 mg of it. They also contain anti-oxidants which prevent the formation of free radicals that cause cell damage. When the body is stressed, it releases even more free radicals than usual. Therefore, vitamin C offers the body protection from their harmful effects. Incidentally, Vitamin C is a proven immune system booster.
You may not like the look of green vegetables but they have a lot to offer in terms of health benefits. Broccoli is packed with Vitamin B and folic acid. It provides stress relief, helps enhance mood with regard to depression, panic, anxiety and other emotional disorders. Many green veggies contain potassium which greatly helps calm one’s nerves when stressed. Also, a diet rich in green vegetables helps the body feel lighter and feel great.
Apricots are a rich source of natural sugars and, hence, another perfect option to beat those sweet cravings. Apricots contains Vitamin A that helps curb formation of free radicals and are rich in fibre, thus helping ease digestion and curb constipation. Digestive problems are known cause of stress. A handful of dried apricots are bound to make you happy and healthy.