Transitioning to a healthier lifestyle not only comes with the inevitable weight loss you will most likely experience from eating a healthier diet, but also the added bonuses of more mental clarity, less brain fog, and an enhanced mood. The food we put into our body plays a huge role in not just our physical health, but our mental and emotional states as well.
If you are someone who is stuck in a rut, hoping to lose weight and increase your mental clarity, try these 4 foods that are proven to help in both of those areas!
How does food affect our mood?
The human microbiome (our gut health) is made up of a colony of different bacteria that all communicate with not just one another, but the rest of our body as well. When considering the connection between our brain and our gut, it’s important to understand that 90% of your serotonin receptors are located in your gut. If we aren’t nourishing our good gut bacteria and allowing it to grow and flourish, we are then making way for the bad gut bacteria to call the shots. If our body’s are overpopulated with these “bad” gut bugs, it’s going to create a sour environment for our happy hormones to live in, resulting in them dying off and your mood tanking along with them.
A diet high in processed foods, refined sugars, and large amounts of trans-fats is a sure way to not only pack on the pounds, but also limit the production of those “feel good hormones,” resulting in you moving from living in a happy state of mind to a dull and gloomy reality.
Switching to a whole foods, nutrient-dense diet can help wash away those bad guys, allowing your mood to improve and your weight to fall off.
Not ready to give up all of your guilty pleasures? No worries - at least try incorporating these 4 foods to get you on the right track!
These tiny little gems are jam-packed full of antioxidants that help to protect your body against invading pathogens, as well as promote overall health and vitality. They are known to be “superfoods” due to their high levels of vitamins, and have been proven to help reduce belly fat (1).
Green tea is loaded with polyphenols that have been proven to reduce body fat and improve cognitive function. One study from the Health Care Food Research Laboratories in Japan showed that the polyphenols within green tea lessoned obesity risks and diminished body fat percentages (2). Another study found that they also lowered anxiety and depression (3).
If you are looking to lose weight and boost your mood, one category of foods that should be on the forefront of your mind is omega-3 fatty acids. These fats help to shield your body from free radical damage and protect your immune system. One study from the Faculty of Health Sciences at Ben Gurion University found that omega-3 fatty acids reduced depression in children and adults that have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder (4).
Although there are many foods that contain high levels of these essential fatty acids, salmon is one of the best sources. This fish provides good fats and a lean protein source. Because of the fat and protein ratio found in salmon, it’s a great option to add to your plate when looking to lose weight, as it gives your body a satiating feeling while delivering a high amount of protein per serving.
Commonly overlooked, this green leafy vegetable is amazing for putting a pep in your step and helping to assist you along your weight loss journey. It contains a high amount of magnesium, which has been proven as an effective treatment for depression along with boosting memory skills and cognitive function (5).
Swiss chard is also very high in dietary fiber and antioxidants, which helps to eliminate waste and fight off inflammation that is associated with overweight health issues and a weak immune system.
Losing weight and boosting your mood is all a part of creating healthy habits that are sustainable and easy to stick with. Start your day with a cup of green tea, snack on a handful of blueberries when you need a midday pick-me-up, and cook some salmon on the grill with roasted swiss chard on the side! There may be more that needs to be added to or taken away from your daily routine in order to get you the results you are looking to achieve, however, implementing these foods into your diet can help get you one step closer to reaching those goals and feeling your best physically and mentally!