I feel like I’m on a Worry Free roll here, with blog posts that is. Might as well keep it going, yes? Anyway, it seems like a lot of people are dealing with stress or anxiety these days. Both the physical and the mental. Our bodies are designed for a little “fight or flight” stressing but not the ongoing 24/7 kind. Cortisol levels go up, serotonin (the happy hormone) goes down, and that natural adrenaline rush becomes harmful. Adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue, high blood pressure, stomach problems, etc. The body responds by literally breaking down. Yes, been there, done that. Don’t want to go back.
I’d say we first need to slow down, put less on our plates, and change our perspective on this whole “busybody” thing. And then there’s food. Can we really use food to increase our mood? I believe so. Food is medicine, real food that is.
So what are some foods that increase mood or help ease stress?
1. Foods rich in B6: Avocado, Baked potato (with skin), green beans, bananas, GF oatmeal, molasses. B6 helps produce serotonin (happy hormone) which is depleted when you are stressed.
Mmm.. did someone say banana? Lovegrown Hot Oats and Banana, yes please!
2. Foods rich in B12: Chicken, Sardines, eggs, cheese. B12 along with other B vitamins helps produce GABA, another calming hormone (neurotransmitter)
3. Foods rich in Folate: lentils, leafy greens, orange juice. Folate helps produce dopamine. Dopamine influences well being and the brain’s pleasure center.
4. Foods rich in Magnesium: Sunflower Seeds, Almonds, wild rice, and spinach, oh yes, spinach. The beloved green smoothie add in! If you are low in Magnesium, you might often get headaches or feel fatigued. Magnesium can also help regulate blood sugar levels and it helps produce GABA.
5. Omega 3 fatty acids: Think Salmon! Omega 3’s can help suppress adrenaline production. When you are constantly in a fight or flight mode, you made need this!
sources: Whole Living, CC blog.
No wonder I felt so good after my hodge podge meal here. Avocado, lentils, green beans with roasted sunflower seeds, chicken, and baked potato with onion and chive cream cheese.
Oh and let’s not forget wine. One glass (not 3) a day keeps the crazies away, right? LOL! But really, red wine has amazing benefits. Just READ HERE!
Me and Lou in NZ.. whoops, wine all gone.
What are you eating today? Is it good for your mood? Hope so!
Raw cacao or cocoa is my alternative mood booster to red wine. Love it! Glad to hear you are less stressed. I totally agree that stress plays a major role in many of our health problems!
Allison @ Life's a Bowl
Great article lady! I definitely agree that we all need to re-evaluate our busy schedules… It’s almost as if we have this idea that the busier we are the better we are? Spread ourselves thin, reaching to do every.single.thing and never leaving time to take a step back and look at the world around us. Have a wonderful week!
Heather @ Better With Veggies
Love this, I had no idea these wines had stress reducing properties. Even better!!
yes, no wonder you are so happy and stress free, right? hehe cheers!
Brittany @ Delights and Delectables
You know how I feel about this! I try to eat lots of those foods every day! However, I’ve fallen off the healthy eating bandwagon lately with my sugar and chocolate consumption. Can’t wait to chat this weekend!!
me too friend! miss you!
Yup, stress can definitely impact our bodies in CRAZY ways! I agree about putting less on our plates. I think Americans and most people tend to glorify busyness, when in reality it’s just tiring!
yes, well said!
With all of this moving going on this is definitely a post I needed to read! I am so exhausted everyday and I know it’s because a lot of my go to foods, which you mentioned above, have been on the back burner and I’m feeling it. Thanks for reminding me that I pay for it when I miss out on these all so important nutrients 🙂
rest up friend. <3 praying for you. email me if needed
Aww, thanks Lindsay 🙂 Will do!
Maria @ Pappa Don't Preach
Apparently I eat the right foods to make me all perky! 😉
There is not 1 day that goes by in which I do NOT have avocado or sweet potatoes. Those babies are my staples. They do make me smile as I eat them.. NOM NOM NOM! 😉
oh mine too!! i loooooooove them. Happy dance!
Your hair looks amaze!
Love this post – it’s all about slowing down and enjoying eat sip/bite. Absolutely!
I am going to share a kale smoothie I made. Adventurous for me, I swear.
I’m with you on “Oh and let’s not forget wine. One glass (not 3) a day keeps the crazies away, right?” I have found that one glass of my favorite Zinfandel (Red) around 7 PM really helps me to chill out. But if I have 2 or 3 glasses, it actually messes up my sleep. I didn’t see chocolate mentioned. It may not be on your list, but it is on mine! 🙂
oh it’s on my list! for sure!
Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table
I need all these foods right now. And maybe more than one glass of vino. It happens…
char eats greens
I want to start using molasses more just because it is so good for you. PLUS, I have this huge bottle that just sits there ;). I plan on making some lentil burgs this week(end?). Lentils are the bomb-diggity!
oh I am addicted to molasses now! good usage for sure! haha
I definitely need to start mkaing sure I’m using these foods to help, I’ve become much much too reliant on peanut butter sandwhiches the last couple months. Must starting using food to help again!
GiGi Eats Celebrities
SALMON kicks Mr. Upset/Miss. PMS right out the door!!!!
Gina @ Health, Love, and Chocolate
I love that the real, whole foods we eat can have such a positive impact on mood, stress levels, and the body in general. Food is magic (or medicine, depending on how you look at it), I tell you.
Abby @ Change of Pace
Love this! I’m actually going to pin it for future reference. I think I get a lot of B6 and folate but not so much b12. I take b supplements every second night, so hopefully that’s helping!
Love, love, love this post! It’s right up my alley 🙂
I’m so happy to finally be back home and done with traveling so I can make some of my own meals again – I’ve missed being in the kitchen. The simple act of making my own food puts me in a good mood all by itself!
i agree! i love it too. It’s therapeutic!
good thing we like so many of those foods 😉
I actuallY wrote a post about relaxation today and it’s effects on our health, for our Total Fitness LinkUp because it is one of the areas that we really don’t think off as affecting total fitness. Thanks for the list of “de-stressing” foods.
oh i should check it out!
Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile
Awesome post!!! Couldn’t agree more with everything! Love real food. Let food be thy medicine 😉
Perfect post for me today – I can tell that even though I don’t feel mentally stressed my body is stressed (or just saying – slow down!!). I’m happy that I have included several of the foods you listed today – hope it helps!!!
oh yes, been there. Rest up and eat up!
Michelle @ Eat Move Balance
Love getting all those B vitamins! Very important . . . and this post provides so many great ideas. Thanks!
Ha, looks like I need a refill 😉
Great info – I tend to get anxiety pretty badly so eating well & moving is SO important for my mood/outlook. Good thing foods rich in anti-anxiety goodness are SO delicious, right!?! Yummo!
right on friend!
Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete
Amen!! Food is medicine. I’m learning to embrace my new boring, ahem, low-key life so I can heal! haha. 😉
Great tips and very awesome information. I’m always super interested in the effects that stress plays in our lives and how much it can really effect our bodies. It’s seriously crazy. And I’m happy to report I love a lot of these foods.
Carly @ Snack Therapy
Love this! I think another aspect of worry can come from stress about eating the right foods. Sometimes, it’s best to just let your body tell you what it needs. I know that, in the past, although my diet looked super healthy, my obsession definitely was not.
Today, I’m eating lots of organic fruits and veggies, healthy fats (avocado and olive oil… And fresh mozzarella, yum), whole grains, and protein. Yum!
that sounds perfect carly!!
Kath (My Funny Little Life)
Thank you for this! I’m relieved to see that we get all those nutrients from our diet (except B12 which is supplemented). Peter is currently very stressed and just told me the other day that he’s wondering why he hasn’t gotten sick yet and still doesn’t look like completely dead, and he attributed that to my cooking. 🙂
Michele @ Nycrunningmama
The older I get, the more I am learning how much food influences everything about me – how I look, feel, workout. Thank you for sharing this!
I ate eggs with cheese and avocado for breakfast and salmon and sweet potato for lunch – I am THRILLED to see all of those on your list!!
you are on it woman! love it!! fuel up and rest up. <3
I was JUST reading about mood foods in my book this morning but they only talked about B vitamins and magnesium. I always associated salmon with “brain” food and I ate it before job interviews but I never knew it combated stress… I just thought it made your smarts come out.
Danica @ It's Progression
love this post! It’s fun to be reminded of the benefits we get from eating all of these healthful foods!
Loved this post! I am so fascinated by the impact of nutrition on our whole BEINGS, not just our waistlines ;p. I wish more people would figure this out.(Yep, this is a passion in development for me!) Now I’m off to eat a bowl of veggies and avocado. xoxo
Becki @ Fighting for Wellness
Great post! My stress and anxiety have definitely been high lately and I ALWAYS feel better after eating better.
Molly @ There Goes Molly Rose
I feel like I’m taking a mini science class when I read your blog sometimes, but funner! 😉
Can you be my personal chef?? Ill supply the red wine, no worries 😀
you got yourself a deal!
I love the topic of stress and how it relates to physiology! But, to clarify, stress doesn’t cause ulcers. That was common thought 10 years ago, but it has since been disproven. Still, stress has all kinds of other implications and literally affects EVERY.SINGLE. FUNCTION in our bodies.
It is one of my favorite topics to teach to undergrads in my phys class. I show them a shocking flowchart showing all the affects and we watch a great documentary. You can watch it here, if you are interested, it is super fascinating!
yeah I should probably change that statement. but I do know stress can cause erosion of the stomach. at least it did for me. thank you my fellow science geek friend for the video. I love it
Linz @ Itz Linz
REALLY interesting! very informative post, thanks! you better believe i’ll be incorporating more of these foods! and i love that first pic of you! hehe 🙂
Loving avocados right now! And red wine. So good.
Kelly @ Cupcake Kelly's
You know I attributed my not feeling so stressed about some life situations to me handling stress better, but maybe it’s because I am eating better (aka a lot of the foods above)
Becky @ Olives n Wine
Great post! I am definitely in a stressed state right now so I’m going to use some of your suggestions to hopefully calm my nerves… especially the glass (or 3!) of wine 😉
I eat a lot of these foods daily, so you’d THINK my body would love me! LOL I think I just am way too stressed out all the time and my body definitely feels it… I wish I could just relax but it’s a no-go. Does frozen yogurt fit into any of these categories? 😉
So glad you touched on adrenal stress…I think it’s one of those areas of knowledge most are unaware of and don’t realize it’s impact on overall health. I also love that you promote foods to help. I wish everyone realized how food can be medicine! (yes, especially the red wine part)
🙂 I just adore you!
I’ve got some mood boosting foods on the menu today. I’m just hoping my tummy can keep it in though!
Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries
Love this. I’m pretty excited that most of these foods you’re mentioning are among some of my top favorites!
Your hair looks so pretty in the first picture!
hehe, thx! the one time i actually do my hair.. gah
Laura @ Mommy Run Fast
Great post! There is definitely a food-mood connection… I find it all so fascinating!
Thanks for this post. Very information and a great reminder. Nothing puts me in a better mood than a good (and good for you meal) and of course a glass of red wine 🙂
amen to that!
Jody - Fit at 55
What a great post! I eat a lot of those but maybe I need more.. OR maybe I just need to eat them in Hawaii! 😉
Paige @ Your Trainer Paige
Loved this post, Lindsay!! I had my daily dose of craziesBgone last night 😉
Heather (Where's the Beach)
Great points on the vitamins for mood – also include D to that list. Of course it’s getting out in the sun and not eating…but still… 😉 CHEERS
you know i couldn’t agree more!! we really are on the same wavelength lately, love it 😉
Lots of Avocado since I ran out yesterday and chicken for lunch 🙂 I mostly get all these foods everyday which makes me happy to hear they are helping my mood 😀
Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat
This was so informative! Thanks! Turns out I’m eating some mood food today…I’m having chicken, spinach, bananas, almonds, oats. Yay!
that’s something to smile about for sure! hehe
Amanda @ .running with spoons.
Yay for happy meals! And I’m not talking about the ones from McD’s. Although… I have to admit that those toys never failed to put a smile on my face when I was a kid. But this morning I’m having a -very- happy breakfast. Oats, banana, almond butter, and honey… because a little sweetness always brightens the day 🙂
Girl you are so right. I have been there done that too with the anxiety, it’s awful what it can do to you physically! Thanks for the tips on the foods, I need to eat more of these 🙂
I had a leg workout and Mamma chia for breakfast – chia helps me be awake and alive!
you know mine is.
omega threes baby—all the way 🙂
Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers
Right now I’m having (decaf) coffee, which is helping my mood, but later I’m sure I’ll probably have some ice cream, which will most definitely boost my happiness!
Thanks for sharing this!! I eat a lot of “good mood” foods. I am in love with avocado and sweet potatoes..yumm.
Tara | Treble in the Kitchen
Thanks for sharing, Lindsay!! I love this 🙂 Food is medicine and has every effect on how our “MOOD” is!!
Well this was a fun and very informative post to read! I just finished a veggie sandwich, and it was great & just put me in a better mood… not just bc of the nutrition benefits, but because the taste was awesome!!! Woo! 🙂