Most 'Comfort Foods' Won’t Really Comfort You — But These Foods Might



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Put down those cheese fries. They won’t make it better. Seriously.

“What we eat affects our mood, because different ingredients contain powerful mood-boosting chemicals that create a positive domino effect,” says Jenna Hollenstein, registered dietician and nutrition therapist for Just Salad and Eat to Love.

However, the happiness that cheesecake gives you is fleeting. It may put a temporary bandage on the problem, but afterwards you’ll feel the crash from the sugar, the uncomfortable fullness, and maybe even a smidge of guilt at unnecessarily overindulging.

Eat These Comforting Foods

“What we eat affects our mood, because different ingredients contain powerful mood-boosting chemicals that create a positive domino effect,” says Jenna Hollenstein, registered dietician and nutrition therapist for Just Salad and Eat to Love.

However, the happiness that cheesecake gives you is fleeting. It may put a temporary bandage on the problem, but afterwards you’ll feel the crash from the sugar, the uncomfortable fullness, and maybe even a smidge of guilt at unnecessarily overindulging.

Almonds

“Almonds have magnesium, which aids serotonin production, plus protein, fiber, and monounsaturated fats that satisfy and regulate blood sugar levels,” says Hollenstein. So that means no more “hangry” moments after a handful of these mood-boosting snacks.

Broccoli

Feeling a little blue? Add some green to your diet! “Broccoli has several mood-boosting elements,” says Hollenstein. “Chromium may improve symptoms of depression, water helps maintain hydration status, and fiber regulates blood sugar levels.”

Chickpeas

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Chickpeas are an amazingly healthy snack, and they can really boost your spirits, too.

“The fiber in chickpeas regulates blood sugar levels, and they contain complex carbohydrates, which increase serotonin levels, and vitamin B6, which regulates brain function and mood and may prevent premenstrual depression,” according to Hollenstein.

Dairy

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“Dairy boasts protein that satisfies and helps maintain consistent blood sugar levels; calcium, which has been shown to improve symptoms of PMS; and vitamin D, also known as the 'happy vitamin',” Hollenstein informs us. That doesn’t mean you can just start loading up on the ice cream. Hollenstein recommends cheeses and yogurts: healthy snacks that provide that punch of protein.

Dark Chocolate

Good news, chocolate lovers! You can indulge a smidge. “Chocolate may lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol," says Hollenstein. "It also contains high levels of cacao antioxidant and boosts serotonin.”

Eggs

Want to start off your day on the right foot? Scramble up some eggs! “Eggs are full of satisfying protein and fat and vitamin D," Hollenstein reminds us, "and some eggs even contain omega-3 fatty acids (depending on hen's diet).”

Lentils

So why is it, exactly, that lentils make you happy? “It’s because of their iron, which aids in oxygen transport to cells; fiber, which regulates blood sugar levels; and complex carbohydrates that increase serotonin levels,” explains Hollenstein.

Salmon

“The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon are linked to brain health and act as natural anti-depressants,” Hollenstein says. “They also provide satisfying protein, vitamin D (the 'happy vitamin'), and vitamin B12, which helps regulate neurological function and mood.”

Spinach

Perhaps Popeye was onto something... “Spinach is full of amazing nutritional benefits that will help improve your mood," says Hollenstein. "Folate and magnesium improve serotonin production and regulation, water helps maintain hydration status, and fiber regulates blood sugar levels.”



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