Webster’s Dictionary defines comfort foods as foods “that provide consolation or a feeling of well-being, typically any with a high sugar or other carbohydrate content.” But the fact is foods high in sugar and simple carbs can send your blood sugar levels on a roller coaster ride, causing you to become more anxious, irritable, and even depressed. Try these healthy switches for a comforting mood boost that doesn’t leave you feeling tired and bloated.
1. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate (in moderation) contains anandamide, a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that temporarily blocks feelings of pain and depression. Also, research has found that chocolate contains other chemicals that prolong the mood-enhancing effect of anandamide.
Almonds are a high-quality source of protein. Proteins help keep blood sugar levels steady for enhanced energy and mood.
Bananas contain dopamine, the natural mood-boosting chemical. Bananas are also rich in magnesium, which is also associated with a positive mood.
There’s a reason people say they’re no good before their morning coffee. Studies show coffee triggers neurotransmitters related to mood control. Coffee also helps release BDNF, which stimulates brain stem cells and acts as an antidepressant.
The antioxidant anthocyanin — which gives blueberries their color — aids the brain in producing dopamine, which is critical to memory function and mood.