Get your caffeine fix by blending java with soymilk (the folate it contains may boost serotonin levels), unsweetened cocoa powder (cue the dopamine, as with coffee), and a ripe banana (potassium lowers blood pressure).
Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3s, those wonder fats that nourish your body from head to toe. It probably comes as no surprise, then, that these powerful fats also boost psychological health. Studies have found that supplementing the diet with omega-3s from fish oil decreases levels of adrenaline and other hormones associated with anxiety during stressful situations like test-taking. To get more of these healthy fats from food, aim to eat fatty fish like wild salmon at least twice a week. For a comforting (and filling) lunch, enjoy an open-face Cheesy Salmon Melt. Top toasted whole grain bread with salmon salad (made with canned salmon) and a slice of reduced-fat cheese, and broil until the cheese is hot and bubbly.
Ward off a bad mood with nutty, crunchy chickpeas. A one-cup serving provides more than 70% of the daily recommended intake for folate, a B vitamin that helps regulate mood. Low blood levels of folate have been linked to higher risk for depressive symptoms, so increasing your intake of folate-rich fare like chickpeas can't hurt. Add this feel-good food to salads, like my Wild Salmon and Chickpea Salad, or purée chickpeas with olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice to make homemade hummus.
Try plain low-fat Greek yogurt with berries. Yogurt is a greats source of energizing protein and calcium, which your body needs to release those feel-good neurotransmitters. Fresh berries will add sweetness and a big dose of stress-busting antioxidants and immunity-boosting vitamin C.
Homemade kale chips have just a few ingredients: olive oil, kale, and maybe some salt. A recent study found that people who ate olive oil daily felt more satisfied and enjoyed a bigger boost of serotonin than those eating other types of fat. As for kale, research from the Harvard School of Public Health found that people whose blood contained high levels of carotenoids (an antioxidant) were significantly more optimistic
Wipe away the day's worries with a mug of naturally caffeine-free chamomile tea. This calming brew appears to act as a mild sedative and may help relieve muscle tension — and ease anxiety and irritability. Take advantage of this tried-and-true herbal remedy you will get some relief.
Guacamole with Carrots
Creamy avocado is high in monounsaturated fat and potassium, which lowers blood pressure, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Monounsaturated fat also helps keep receptors in the brain sensitive to serotonin. With raw carrots, the simple act of crunching is a satisfying stress stopper.
They're sweet, delicious, and packed with nutrients—including optimism-boosting carotenoids and fiber (it’s also low on the Glycemic Index).
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