Diet affects every aspect of your life and is essential to ensuring you feel your best from day to day. While a healthy, balanced diet supports overall well-being, there are some foods that even have the power to smooth out a rough day, nutritionally outfitted to clear your mind by settling your emotions.
Here are five superfoods with properties to soothe your mood and restore calm when days become stressful:
1. Dark Chocolate
Let’s start with everyone’s favorite: chocolate – dark chocolate, specifically.
The cacao in chocolate contains tryptophan, an amino acid. Tryptophan supports the creation of serotonin, the chemical your body needs to keep your nervous system functioning properly, and the naturally-soothing melatonin, which is produced at night while you sleep.
Because the body doesn’t create tryptophan naturally, this amino acid has to be acquired through food and other supplements.
If you’re looking for a dose of tryptophan via dark chocolate, check out this mouth-watering recipe for Nut Fruit Bark from Taste of Home.
Our next food to soothe your mood is mango! This fruit is packed with flavor and full of antioxidants and vitamins, sure to smooth out your mood when you feel yourself tensing up.
Mangos provide a great deal of Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps form blood vessels, cartilage, muscle, and collagen in bones. This nutrient is also essential to your body’s healing process. Along with the repairs to the body that Vitamin C supports, doses of the antioxidant deliver an energy boost, heightening your mood and decreasing anxiety.
Like tryptophan, the body does not naturally create Vitamin C. The only way to supply the body with this mood-boosting vitamin is by supplementing your diet with foods that contain this antioxidant.
Sufficient Vitamin C levels have the added benefit of protecting the body from illnesses like the common cold virus and even cancer.
The best part is that mangos are so delicious that the flavor alone is guaranteed to boost your mood. Here are 31 recipes from Bon Appetit featuring mango.
Another food to soothe your mood is avocado! It might be a delicious fruit, fully stocked with vitamins, but avocado also boosts our brain function, improving overall mood.
Our avos soothe us with folate, aka folic acid.
Folic acid is known to increase brain and nerve function. Folate also helps improve heart health and gives us healthier hair, skin, and nails. It’s recently been found that avocados put us in a better mood when eaten regularly and can even help keep depression at bay.
Avocado is also delicious on toast, according to our own research. Try it at home with this avocado toast recipe from Food Network.
Our next food to soothe your mood is salmon.
The skinny is in the fat with soothing salmon. Besides offering a great, healthy meal, salmon is also a rich source of Omega-3 fats, known to combat depression. As a bonus, Omega-3 helps promote healthy blood flow and reduce inflammation, lessening chronic stress.
Salmon is a source of Vitamin D, as well. This sunshine vitamin helps us in several ways, but among its calming superpowers is helping to fight low energy and concentration levels.
It’s also perfect with garlic butter and some lemon, like in this recipe from Primavera Kitchen.
Ah yes, the all-too-familiar, post-Thanksgiving-dinner snooze. Contrary to what you might think, that sleepiness might not be a food coma.
Like dark chocolate, turkey meat is packed with the calming amino acid tryptophan. Your body does not make this serotonin- and melatonin-boosting amino acid on its own, so you’ll feel its effects after you eat a turkey dinner.
The tryptophan in turkey makes this delicious meat the perfect calming agent after a stressful day. It’s also a great nutritious and low-fat option for your family.
You don’t have to eat an entire roasted turkey to get some of that tryptophan running through your system; a turkey sandwich or a turkey burger will do the trick! Here are ten recipes made with ground turkey from The Modern Proper to give you a headstart on finding some delicious turkey recipes.
Medically reviewed by Dr. ____________
Written by River Oaks OB/GYN Editors • Emma Koop Liechty, Neil King, Wendy Wilson
Published May 2022