The first medicine was food. Our relationship to food is more than merely survival, it also impacts how we feel. Food that is part of a healthy diet gives us life sustaining energy, can fight illness, alter depression and bring a little joy to our day, but it matters which foods we choose. The truth is we have an emotional connection to what we eat and to why we eat what we do. We know well enough that food has a powerful pull on the way we feel in our bodies. It influences mood and that affects our general wellness.
Beyond feeling healthy, bloated, tired or energized, I often use the power of food to help clients address internal conditions like IBS, heal from physical injury and…offset anxiety.
During the winter months where I live, coffee becomes an irresistible source of comfort. It’s warm and smells good and usually imbibes a feeling of community and social connection. A tall latte with a blueberry muffin (my favorite fruit group) may make a tasty breaky, but not long after I hit the afternoon slump face first and I feel a bit grumpy too. Ok, so blueberry muffins are not a part of the fruit group and coffee is not long-lasting energy. It can be a challenge to stave off a craving, but knowing what works will definitely help create more balance.
Want a more sustainable option for optimal vitality that will also provide a healthy pick-you-up? Here is a helpful list of goodies for a healthy diet for the moody foodies.
Not all sugar is created equal. The body can utilize what it can recognize so give it the best.
Strawberries: A happy brain chemistry booster full of vitamins like A, C and manganese. And they are pretty too.
Bananas: Super rich in mineral content, vitamins and micronutrients. It also helps relieve symptoms of dehydration and stabilizes blood sugar.
Apples: A quick sugar release that aids digestion because it is high in fiber, it also reduces the risk of obesity and diabetes, to list a few.
Honey: reduces inflammation and helps clear free radicals both of which lead to more serious disease conditions.
The body needs fat. It is so essential in fact, that the body has figured out how to store fats so that we never run out of energy. Thank you, body.
Coconut: Considered one of the best fats to feed your brain and a vital part of a healthy diet. It has antimicrobial, antifungal properties and is used immediately by the body rather than being stored as fats.
Avocado: A natural hormone balancer as well as another big brain food. It is a healthy heart food and assists in productive digestion.
Cashews: Raw – a great source of protein, but cashews have a double benefit of being a good source of antioxidant rich food AND a good fat.
Super important for maintaining energy, proteins are the building blocks of every cell in the architecture of the body.
Think falafel! Chickpeas are packed with protein, essential fatty acids and high is in B12 which is super helpful in boosting energy. EFA’s are important in our diet because the body cannot produce them on its own and we need them for a massive number of physiological processes. A few examples are hormone production, brain and nervous system development and maintaining the health of skin and hair.
Essential fatty acids are so important, I decided to add a few others to the list that are also mood boosting foods
Walnuts: Raw – major brain food, high in EFA’s
Kale: Amazing source of dietary fiber and absolutely full of vitamins A, C, K, B6 as well as minerals like magnesium and potassium.
Swiss Chard: Nutrient dense antioxidant, full of EFA’s, fights inflammation and has anti-cancer properties.
Mussels: A heart-healthy, unsaturated fat, power packing protein rich, vitamin and mineral fortified food that boosts your mood.
Eggs: An iron rich protein that is high in B vitamins. The yolk is given a bad rap, but it has the collagen building secrets to improve skin and hair and offset signs of aging.
Tea and Spice and Everything Nice
Fermented foods: Super foods that help fight disease and make you feel better.
Probiotic foods: Think Greek yogurt. It will keep the belly happy and it tastes good too.
Ginger: Great digestive aid high in antioxidants and makes an especially warming tea.
Saffron: Used in Persian medicine to help lift moods by making serotonin more available.
Goji berries: Mediates stress responses in the body and balances hormone release.
And… Chocolate. More reasons to eat chocolate, who doesn’t adore that? As long as it is in moderation and we keep in mind dark chocolate (70% or more) is the key here. It has less sugar and is naturally bitter which helps the digestion process. It is rich in antioxidants which reduce stress hormones as well as being a good source of iron, magnesium and polyphenols.
Our love of food is truly a first love and since it is also the first medicine we have much to love about it. This relationship is the longest standing of any we will have in our lives so it can be said that giving it the proper attention to a healthy diet will make your body and the world a better place.
Here’s to your happiness with a healthy diet!
Disclaimer: This site does not provide medical advice. The nutritional information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician regarding a medical condition.