One of the world’s worst kept secrets is the relationship between what you eat and how you feel. Many people look at healthy food and dietary choices as something that costs you now and doesn’t pay off until you’re in your eighties. This isn’t the case at all. What you eat today affects how you feel in a few hours from now. (Smoothie high is a thing; so is salad high.) And there are many healthy summer foods that can make you feel great straight away.
Not only that, but these foods impact your mood and energy levels for the next few days as well. It affects your skin and hair a month from now. And yes, it impacts your long-term health as well. The following explores some of the healthy summer foods you can eat right now to help make you feel good today. Of course, these foods also have long-term benefits, but today, the focus is on the short term…
Turmeric has been shown to have positive healing effects on those suffering from depression. It’s both an antioxidant and inflammation reducer and results in increased dopamine and serotonin levels. As well, it supports hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal regulation, which has a big impact on your mood. More than this, the anti-inflammatory effect of turmeric can drastically reduce the experience of pain.
If you’re someone who has arthritis or other pain conditions, turmeric is a wonderful way to lessen the pain without experiencing any negative side effects. This also helps with allergy symptoms like hay fever and itchiness.
Grapes are an especially wonderful option on this list as they are an easy snack to carry with you when you’re out and about. These delicious fruits are packed full of antioxidants, especially flavonoids, which have been shown in several studies to boost your mood and enhance your memory. Grapes are also high in water content, which means they help combat dehydration and everything that comes along with it (fatigue, irritability, inability to focus, etcetera).
If you’ve been doing your research, you might have stumbled across the wine debate in relation to the benefits of grapes. In this case, when talking about things that make you feel good immediately, wine isn’t a suitable alternative to grapes. Alcohol acts as a depressant on the body, meaning the mood-boosting element of grapes is canceled out. Couple that with the insane amounts of pesticides used in wine grapes, and you’ve got a recipe for feeling low and bogged down by how overtaxed your toxin removal system is.
When it comes to balancing hormones, there’s no need to look any further than avocados. They help your brain continue to make the right chemicals needed to feel good. As well, a 2020 study has shown that those who eat more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are less likely to suffer from anxiety. What’s more, avocados are versatile and popular meaning no matter what you’re in the mood for. Be it classy restaurant vibes or easy no fuss snacks, you’ll find a recipe that works with avocados.
To make things even more exciting, people who eat avocados have an easier time focusing on a task and rejecting distractions meaning a remarkable boost in concentration. These versatile fruits also help lower inflammation like turmeric above.
Olives consumed whole or in the form of olive oil can do wonders for your mood and energy levels. Much like avocados, these delicious fruits are full of all the right kinds of fats which help your hormone systems produce what they need to keep you balanced and energised. This option is also incredibly versatile.
Whether you prefer green olives as a snack, black olives mixed in with your favourite Italian dishes, or olive oil glugged excessively on a salad, you should be able to find a way to include more olives in your daily habits. They also make for phenomenal additions to charcuterie boards.
Full of crucial vitamins like vitamin B6 (also called pyridoxine), shiitake mushrooms are fantastic at improving your mood, serving as natural pain killers, and encouraging hemoglobin production, which carries oxygen in our red blood cells throughout the body resulting in clear-headed energy. These meaty mushrooms can go anywhere you’d normally have another type of mushroom and have the vitamins needed to boost serotonin and GAB neurotransmitters in the brain. Good levels of vitamin B6 have also been shown to help decrease stress naturally.
You might be noticing that there are a lot of fat-heavy foods on this list. That’s no mistake. Foods packed with good fats are fantastic at improving your mood and lowering stress and nuts are no exception.
This being said, peanuts don’t count. Peanuts are not actually nuts (they’re beans). We just named them wrong way back when. Peanuts also grow underground where more often than not, they’re covered in a fungus called aspergillus, which is a source of aflatoxins which are highly toxic and have been shown to cause cancer. Humans aren’t bothered by the short-term effects of aflatoxins, but continued exposure results in a toxin build-up. To make things scarier, aspergillus continues to grow inside the body and becomes toxic over time. Peanuts are also full of lectins which are difficult for humans to digest, interrupt the absorption of minerals, and damage the gut bacteria.
Strawberries are full of wonderful vitamins like vitamin A, C, and manganese. This means that they can help defend the brain against degeneration. They also help your brain produce and release happiness chemicals. Strawberries have been shown to reduce symptoms of depression when eating. Even more shocking, just standing next to strawberry plants or looking at the berries can boost your mood. How crazy is that?
When looking at the above list of foods that make you feel good, you’ll notice a few patterns. The majority of the foods are high in healthy fats, which help regulate our hormonal systems and help our bodies deal with stress, or are packed with vitamins and minerals we don’t get enough of. Things that reduce inflammation also have an excellent effect on how you feel by helping keep your mind clear and your pain minimised.
It is crucial that you take note of which foods leave you feeling a little congested or slow. This can be a sign that you’re actually mildly allergic to something and could feel a thousand times better if you cut these foods out.
And one not to eat
It might also be worth noting that many lists like this online include fatty fish, but this one doesn’t. Fish is good for you, with the glaring exception of fish that is stuffed with toxins like mercury and over heavy metals or plastics. Given the toxicity of the water found both in fish farms and in standard fishing spots, it’s becoming incredibly difficult to get your hands on fish that isn’t packed with stuff that wreaks havoc on your hormones and, therefore, mood.
Yes, if you’re buying fish that some fisherwoman took a plane to a lake in Northern Canada to catch, you’re probably alright. The majority of us can’t afford or even get our hands on that kind of fish. Do intense research before eating anything that comes from the sea.