Try these untraditional comfort foods for healthy and delicious ways to improve mood.
The idea behind the traditional interpretation of “comfort food” is not so ill-conceived. When our blood sugar levels are low, we are hungry or we are upset, nothing feels quite as satisfying – as filling, in more than the physical sense of the word – than sitting down and enjoying a delicious, warm, nostalgia-ridden, heavy meal. It’s comfort. But beyond this brute definition of comfort food, there’s what lies between the fine lines. Some foods provide comfort because of their nutritional content and how they fuel the body to biochemically relax, fight stress and feel physical comfort. Why destroy your dietary goals after a break up by feasting alone on a pint of ice cream when real comfort comes in a lighter, healthier package?
Here are 5 ways to improve mood with real foods that help to fight stress and overcome bouts of depression without weighing you down or defeating their initial purpose.
Now, it will take more than just a bit of one of the following comfort foods to completely dissolve you of all your worries, but they will contribute to you keeping your cool. Better yet, all of the following 5 comfort foods are vegan! Sit back, relax and enjoy.
I love when asparagus season is in full swing, and it takes very little effort to enjoy them. A dash of salt and pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and a stint in the oven later, you have yourself the perfect side dish. And that’s exactly what asparagus is good for – ease. According to one study, asparagus attenuated the elevated weight of adrenal glands and increased the reduced weight of the spleen induced by stress, making it a fit anti-stress food.
One cup of cooked asparagus contains 67 percent of the RDA of the B-vitamin folate, which, when deficient in the body, induces oxidative stress, increased blood pressure and insulin resistance. A diet rich in folate can prevent this from occurring.
It’s true. Women’s intuition has outpaced scientific revelations when it comes to chocolate. A recent study has shown that dark chocolate lowers blood pressure due to the antioxidants polyphenols and flavonols.
I always pick the cashews out of any nut mix I encounter, mostly because they taste the best, but maybe I was fishing for comfort, too. Cashews are rich in zinc, containing more than 50 percent of the RDA in a 100-gram serving. Zinc deficiency has been linked to mood disorders, anxiety and depression. Just be sure to limit your serving size, as cashews are high in calories and fat. A handful is enough.
When life gets tough, it’s not like we run to the refrigerator and feast on berries, hoping to chill out, but maybe we should? Blueberries are exceptionally high in antioxidants and vitamin C, an anti-stress warrior. Vitamin C lowers blood pressure and attenuates the adrenal stress hormone, the anti-inflammatory polypeptide response to prolonged exercise and circulating cortisol.
Avocados are creamy and full of healthy fats. They also contain a power antioxidant called glutathione, which blocks intestinal absorption of certain fats that cause oxidative damage. Because avocados are largely fat, they also fill you up and keep you satiated, which is its own form of comfort.
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Photo Credit: @rsseattle