The sky is gray and cold. The trees are bleak and bare. It’s dark when you leave for work in the morning and dark when you finally get home in the evening. And it’s all making you feel moody, tired, and even depressed.
Then you might be one of the millions of Americans who suffer the wintertime blues.
About 1 in 5 of us feel down as the days get shorter and the weather grows colder.
Blame it on a combination of less exposure to sunlight, being pent up indoors while the weather outside is frightful, and the inevitable emotional crash that follows the holidays.
Fortunately, there are delicious mood-enhancing foods you can add to your diet that will give your happiness a noticeable boost.
Eat these yummy treats to banish winter blahs!
5 Happiness Boosting Foods
1. Oatmeal to ease anxiety
It’s not unusual to experience more anxiety around the holidays.
Shopping, planning, cooking, cleaning, and (gulp) visiting with the in-laws isn’t exactly a recipe for relaxation.
A tasty way to take the edge off anxiety within 30 minutes, plus keep you calm for up to 2 hours:
Dig into a piping hot bowl of oatmeal or an oatmeal cookie.
Oatmeal is an excellent source of B vitamins, manganese and molybdenum — a trifecta of mood-boosting nutrients that rev the production of the anxiety-soothing hormone oxytocin. (1)
2. Sweet potatoes for a sunnier mood
Mood-sapping brain inflammation can leave you feeling as cold and barren as a Nebraska cornfield in the middle of January.
Nibble on a side of sweet potatoes with your meal.
Sweet potatoes are the #1 source of dietary beta-carotene — a nutrient that studies suggest can help soothe brain inflammation. (2)
Want a simple and DELICIOUS way to get your daily sweet spuds?
3. Saffron to boost your happiness hormone
Saffron is a spice that comes from the autumn crocus flower.
It’s been valued for its culinary and medical properties for more than 4,000 years, and has long been among the world’s most costly spices by weight.
Turns out you don’t need much of this wonder spice to chase away blue moods:
A new study proves that eating just a little pinch (less than 1/10 tsp.) of saffron daily is all it takes to feel happier.
That’s because the active ingredient (crocin) in this golden-hued spice jumpstarts the production of serotonin, your brain’s “happiness hormone”.
Try a pinch of saffron in soups, stews and rice dishes to take advantage of this super-spice’s feel good perks!
4. Cocoa to kickstart feel-good brain waves
You, curled up in your favorite blanket on the couch, a warm cup of cocoa in your hands, as snow gently falls outside your window.
A hot cup of cocoa on a winter’s day is a surefire way to chase away the blues.
And now there’s scientific proof that explains why:
A new study out of the Clarkson University found that a 10 ounce cup of hot cocoa can make you feel happier and more clear headed for up to two and a half hours. (3)
Researchers who conducted this study believe it’s because certain plant compounds found in cocoa (anandamide and phenylethylamine) stimulate the production of calming alpha brain waves.
Any good reason to sip on a toasty cup of cocoa is alright with me!
5. Ricotta to cool crankiness
Cranky? Time to reach for a plate of lasagna.
A ½ cup serving of ricotta cheese — whether in a savory dish like lasagna or something sweeter like cannolis — can end irritability.
How’s it work?
You can thank tyrosine, an amino acid found in ricotta, for this cheese’s mood-lifting properties.
Tyrosine triggers the brain to produce epinephrine and norepinephrine — neurotransmitters that help us feel happy and content. (4)
Does that mean you should nosh on a steamy plate of lasagna for every meal?
Of course not.
But isn’t it nice to know there’s more to this comfort food than just it’s great taste?
Banish Your Winter Blahs!
You don’t have to feel moody and blue this winter.
(Or any time of year for that matter!)
Enjoy these 5 Happiness-Boosting Foods and banish your winter blahs the safe, natural way.
And if you’re looking for a natural way to manage stress and anxiety, there’s something else you should know.
Magnesium is Nature’s ULTIMATE anti-stress mineral.
Sadly, we don’t get nearly enough magnesium in our diets — in fact, as much as 80% of Americans are deficient in this crucial mineral… and that puts you at risk for increased stress and anxiety, headaches, muscle cramps, and more serious conditions like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.