Comfort foods, we all have our favorites. Ice cream, cheesy pasta, the ever-present chocolate. We eat them when we feel down, or stressed and we love it because it tastes great and deep down we know it's probably not the greatest for us. But the end result isn't a positive.
"Food hangover" from carbs or overeating and the knowledge that we have to double our workout to catch up.
There are, however, some pretty amazing alternatives. Choosing foods that are rich in certain vitamins and minerals is one of the simplest ways to elevate your mood, and the tastiest. There are whole tomes dedicated to eating for your mood and emotional well being, but I'll keep it simple and stick with 5 of my favorites.
Some people consider nuts a snack to be avoided like junk food. It's true that some nuts have high fat content, but the fat is unsaturated, and it doesn't take a large amount to reap the beneficial nutrients available. A handful of almonds contains vitamins like C and E which have been shown to fight free radicals and promote a healthy immune system. They also contain vitamin B2, magnesium and zinc. A perfect snack to add to our next mood food.
2. Dark Raw Chocolate
There's a reason chocolate is so addicting (note: add chocolate to grocery list). Dark chocolate stimulates your brain (yes literally!) to produce endorphins which elevate your mood and relax you. It also contains flavonoids. Acting as antioxidants these protect your body from harmful molecules known as free radicals which damage your cells and make you feel lethargic or sick. Flavonoids have also been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce LDL (or bad cholesterol) both of which improve your overall wellness and reduce stress on your body.
We are huge promoters of raw milk here at Natural Blaze. Part of this is because we believe it's your right to choose what foods you eat, where you buy them, and what goes in to them. Raw milk is full of beneficial amino acids, protein and vitamin D, all of which have been shown to have a positive impact on your mood. The protein lactium can have a calming effect by lowering blood pressure, and potassium improves muscle health and function which helps prevent knots and spasms.
4. Dark Green Vegetables
I love my leafy greens, the darker the better. Spinach, kale, raw herbs - all these contain magnesium a mineral known for its relaxing effects. So much so that it is often referred to as 'nature's calm'. Asparagus contains high levels of folic acid and B vitamins. These two nutrients are beneficial to the bodies natural serotonin production and help keep your natural mood stabilizers in balance.
5. Cottage Cheese and Fruit
Cottage Cheese is naturally high in protein, calcium and other nutrients that help your body feel balanced and healthy, lowering your stress level and promoting the production of body chemicals that make you feel good. Adding a fruit that's high in vitamin C like oranges will increase these factors, or you could add blueberries and gain their antioxidant properties.
There's no such thing as a perfect diet, but the sooner we start making choices that benefit our body's natural processes the sooner we will begin to live like we never have. And there's no reason why we can't enjoy it while we do. Our health is our life, so choose to live the best life ever!
Jonathan Parker is an EMT-Paramedic and Preparedness Instructor with a love for emergency medicine, self-sufficiency and homesteading. His goal is to empower people towards a natural and sustainable lifestyle.