Mood Food – Boost your Mood with These Foods – Food makes a major impact on our health, both physically and mentally! While the average American diet includes loads of inflammatory foods and chemicals that take a major toll on your physical and mental health, there are actually many foods that do quite the opposite!
In this article, we teach you about all of our favorite mood boosting foods that include in our diets on a regular basis. Keep reading!
The Connection Between Stress, Anxiety, and Food
Are you feeling low? Do you feel as though you are lacking vigor and enthusiasm? Or maybe you feel too overwhelmed and anxious to enjoy life to the fullest? You are not alone. It doesn’t take a diagnosis of clinical depression to know that your mood is not exactly where it should be. 40 million people ages 18 and older suffer from an anxiety disorder. Besides that, we as a society are just generally stressed out and overloaded on a regular basis.
Food by no means takes the place of seeking medical help for your mental health, but does however, most definitely play a role in your mood, and how you feel on a daily basis overall.
Like briefly touched on earlier, food is powerful; so powerful that everything we eat has the potential to either have a positive impact, or a negative impact on our health. While it’s important to eliminate highly processed, inflammatory foods, it’s equally as important to add clean, healing, and anti-inflammatory foods into your diet!
While clean eating is a great start to getting your health on track, there are also certain foods that specifically promote a good mood and decrease the effects of anxiety…mood food!
There are a multitude of foods and herbs that help to support happier moods, and less stress. So many so, that figuring out which ones to add into you diet can seem overwhelming! As there are so many of these foods out there, it’s impossible to cover them all in one article. Because of this, we narrowed it down to only the mood foods we’ve personally tried, had success with, and love!
Our Go-To Mood Foods plus Herbs
Below, you’ll find the top herbs and mood foods that work best for us personally. Always consult a physician before adding in these powerful foods, and listen to your body!
Number one on our list of mood foods is Ashwagandha. The placement of this herb on our list is no coincidence. Ashwagandha is something that we take religiously, on a regular basis, and have had ginormous success with!
An adaptogenic, Ashwagandha has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. It promotes stress relief, health and longevity by potentiating the immune system and increasing resistance to environmental stress factors.
- Promotes healthy mental cognition
- Supports healthy energy levels
- Improves stress management
- Enhances mood and focus
Kanna is an herb traditionally used by the San and Khoi people of Southern Africa as an analgesic, tonic and mood elevator. Many of the active alkaloids in kanna function as a Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SRI). In addition to helping to overcome feeling low and boosting mood, kanna also lowers stress hormone levels and increases motivation and energy.
- Elevates mood and mental clarity
- Lowers stress hormones
- Decreases everyday feelings of anxiousness
Apocynum venetum, commonly known as Rafuma, has been a part of Traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It has been found to reduce blood pressure and increase serotonin levels, thereby increasing mood.
- Increases serotonin levels
- Boosts mood
- Reduces stress markers in the body
#4 Magnolia Bark
Magnolia bark has played an important role in Traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. It has been traditionally used to promote healthy reactions to stress. Magnolia bark binds to neurochemical receptors involved with regulating mood and anxiety level. The plant has also been used to promote calmness without causing drowsiness.
- Traditionally used to promote healthy reactions to stress
- Supports normal adrenal function
- Promotes calmness without causing drowsiness
#5: Raw Cacao Powder
With raw cacao powder, you can have your cake, and eat it too! Chocolate gets a bad rap for being an indulgent, sugar, and dairy-filled treat. However, raw cacao (and yes, this is different than cocoa) actually is full of health benefits! Yes…you can eat your chocolate, AND reap health benefits! What could be better?!
- Has been studied to contain anti-inflammatory components
- Can help boost your mood by stimulating endorphins
- Full of immune system boosting antioxidants
#6: Wild Caught Fish
Filled with omega-3 fatty acids, wild caught fish are a beneficial in a multitude of ways! Want to add more fish into your diet? It’s easy! For instance, try swapping some of your meat out for fish, and you’ll reap a variety of benefits…
- Anti-inflammatory components
- Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats can aid in positive mental health and mood stability
- A great source of nutrition
How to Add Mood Foods
Now since you know all about our favorite mood foods, it’s probably best we share how we add these into our diets. Let’s break it down…
How to Add in Herbs
Most of the mood food herbs listed above come in powder form, and are easily mixed in to a variety of recipes! Here are some of our favorite ways to add these foods into your diet…
#1: Add into Smoothies
A great way to hide extra powders and herbs is by adding them into smoothies! With a tasty, fruit-based recipe, these sneaky additions can easily go undetected. Of course, you don’t need to hide cacao. However, cacao is great added to most smoothies!
Some of our favorite smoothies include…
Blueberry Smoothie with Spinach: Loaded with flavor AND greens, this Blueberry Smoothie with Spinach can be made in less than 5 minutes to boost breakfast nutrition.
Healthy Strawberry Banana Smoothie: Our Healthy Strawberry Banana Smoothie is a truly delicious “green smoothie” without being green. Come see what our secret ingredient is!
Chocolate Chia Seed Smoothie: This chocolately Chia Seed Smoothie is the perfect pairing if you love mint. If not, just leave out the mint and enjoy the chocolate drink!
#2: Creamy Desserts
Another great way to add in herbs (and cacao) is through creamy desserts and snacks! Here are some of our favorite desserts and snacks that are easy to sneak some mood foods into…
Easy Chocolate Mousse Recipe: If you’re a chocolate lover like I am, this refined sugar, gluten, and dairy-free Chocolate Mousse Recipe is one you simply can’t pass up!
Avocado Chocolate Pudding: This dairy free and sugar free CLEAN Avocado Chocolate Pudding recipe is sweetened with bananas, dates and stevia.
Banana Ice Cream with Peanut Butter Recipe: All the flavor, none of the dairy or refined-sugar! Try this Homemade Banana Ice Cream Recipe with Peanut Butter!
#3: Take in Capsule Form
Prefer not to have to think about adding these herbs into your diet? We get it! Taking them in capsules is always a great option that requires much less creativity and energy. You can make capsules on your own, or buy them pre-filled!
#4: Drink in Herbal Teas
Many of these herbs are available in herbal teas or herbal tea blends, and offer a great and easy way to enjoy within your diet!
Adding in Cacao
Cacao is one most people will have no issue adding into their diets! Cacao is also one that you probably don’t want to take in capsules, because eating it is just so good! Here are some ideas for adding it into your diet, plus some of our favorite recipes with cacao…
#1: Healthy Desserts
Here at Clean Cuisine, we have no shortage of chocolate-filled recipes! Here are just a few of our favorite recipes using cacao that you can add into your diet now…
Recipe for Vegan Hot Chocolate: This Recipe for Vegan Hot Chocolate is smooth, creamy, and full of rich chocolatey flavor! The best part? You only need 7 clean ingredients!
Recipe for Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread: This recipe for Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread is better than anywhere else. Not only is it healthy Pumpkin Bread but also gluten free, dairy free and contains no refined sugar. It’s is healthy and deliciously nutritious for fall.
Recipe for Chocolate Cookies: Packed full of plant-based protein, and rich in superfoods and antioxidants, this Recipe for Chocolate Cookies is healthy and delicious!
#2: Add into Smoothies
You don’t need a smoothie that calls for cacao to add cacao in as an extra ingredient! Let’s be honest, most recipes are made better with chocolate. Feel free to add raw cacao powder into any smoothie that sounds like it could use a little extra spruce of mood food.
#3: Try it in Breakfast Food
Whether you add cacao powder into Homemade Coconut Yogurt, make Chocolate Oatmeal, or even add some dark chocolate chips onto your Gluten Free Pancakes, breakfast foods are a great way to incorporate cacao!
Consuming more Fish
Enjoy more dishes with fish, and use these easy tips for adding more fish into your diet!
#1: Swap Meat for Fish
Like mentioned earlier, swapping meat for fish in a recipe is an easy way to add more omega-3 fatty acids into your diet!
#2: Add on Top of Salads
Adding wild-caught fish on top of your healthy salad not only adds extra protein, it also adds those mood boosting nutrients we’ve been talking about! A little protein on top of your fresh greens also makes your meal a lot more filling.
#3: Experiment with Interesting Food Combinations
Fish is actually delicious in so many dishes that you would never even think to combine with fish! We love fish mixed in with our pasta, are big fans of fish tacos, and of course, always love a good fish sandwich!
The Power of Food
As we spoke on earlier, food is incredibly powerful, and in many cases, can take such effects on the body, it’s almost like medicine! Because of this, it is important to discuss adding in any of the foods we discussed today with your doctor before doing so. While these mood foods are amazing tools for health, depending on what health concerns you have going on, some of these foods may be more risky or harmful than helpful. Consult your physician, and listen to your body!
Have fun finding the “mood foods” that work for you!