5 Foods That Boost Positive Thinking When You're Stuck In A Negative Rut
Whenever I'm looking to boost my mood with a hearty meal, I usually think of delicious comfort foods first, like a gooey lasagna, a fresh-baked cookie, or tacos loaded with plenty of guacamole. And while all of these foods certainly have a place in my life, they aren't necessarily scientifically shown to have any positive effect on the brain or body, besides the fact that they just taste downright delicious. If you're feeling like your positivity levels aren't quite what they usually are, try loading up your shopping cart with some foods that boost positive thinking.
Here's the thing about eating your way to a better mood, though: You can't just eat something once or twice and expect it to immediately have a huge effect on how you feel. Carol Aguirre, MS, RD/LDN, a dietitian/nutritionist based in Florida, tells Elite Daily over email that these superpower foods are most effective when you make them a regular part of your diet. "Select two or three small changes, and practice these until they are comfortable," she recommends. "This will [ensure] long-term success in sticking with your plan, and will allow your brain chemistry time to adjust to the new eating style."
So go ahead and fry up some eggs, or sip on an ice-cold kombucha — rest assured, you're taking good care of both your body and your mind.
Eggs are full of great brain nutrients
If you're in the habit of starting your mornings sunny side up, Aguirre says you're already off to a great start. Organic, cage-free eggs are are one of the most powerful foods when it comes to keeping your spirits high, according to the dietitian/nutritionist. "They are rich in a wide variety of exotic brain and neurotransmitter-boosting nutrients, like lecithin, choline, and cholesterol, as well as mood-boosting B-vitamins like B12 and biotin and large amounts of ultra-high-quality protein," she says.
If you're wary of eggs because you've heard they might be bad for your cholesterol levels, Aguirre assures me that there's no need to be alarmed; she says that abundant levels of cholesterol are essential for keeping your body functioning properly. In fact, she explains, if your cholesterol levels are too low, that could make you more susceptible to mood problems.
Load up on the whole grains
If you can't get enough of the crusty whole wheat loaf you've discovered at your local bakery, you're definitely doing a good thing for your mood. According to Aguirre, eating whole grains has been found to be associated with lower rates of depression. The thing to remember, though, is that if you're looking for an emotional boost from your bread, Aguirre says it's important to stick to whole grain varieties. Refined grains, she explains, are actually correlated with higher rates of depression.
Mushrooms are tiny, but powerful
"Researchers are discovering that vitamin D plays a key role in mental health and depression, because it increases serotonin, one of the neurotransmitters responsible for mood," Aguirre tells Elite Daily — which means that fungi that you might think of as just a topping on your pizza is actually pretty dang powerful. According to the Nutrient Data Laboratory at the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, mushrooms are one of the only sources of vitamin D in the plant kingdom, so bring these unassuming plants to the forefront of some of your meals for an extra boost of positivity.
Kombucha can help stop negative thoughts right in their tracks
In a study published in the scientific journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, researchers tested the effects of probiotics on the moods of 20 participants, and found that, compared to 20 other participants in the study who'd only received placebo pills, those who took probiotics for four weeks showed significantly fewer negative thoughts overall. In the future, the study's researchers concluded, probiotics could even work as "a potential preventive strategy for depression."
If you want to get the positivity boost that probiotics have to offer, opt for a bottle of kombucha, which is a slightly fermented tea drink. If you haven't had a chance to try this bubbly beverage, I recommend the Pink Lady Apple variety from Health-Ade because, IMO, it's sweet and mild enough to be the perfect introduction to the kombucha world. Of course, if you're more of a savory person, other fermented foods like kimchi, tempeh, or regular old pickles could also give you a boost.
Chocolate. Just eat chocolate.
Sometimes it feels like there are two categories of food: things that are healthy for your body, and things that are just so decadent that they fill you with joy.
Embrace the balance between health and your sweet tooth by adding a bar of your favorite chocolate to your grocery list, because according to Aguirre, the delicious food is also great for your mental health. "Results from systematic reviews indicate that consuming chocolate containing 75 percent or greater of cacao can shake off bad moods," she tells Elite Daily, "and may be protective against depression."