If you’ve been feeling a bit down, mentally under the weather, or even anxious but you don't want to seek medical intervention, then we’ve got some good news for you.
The old adage, you are what you eat, might be the key to helping you feel more upbeat and balanced.
Having unbalanced hormones, inflammatory conditions, a mineral imbalance, out of skew fatty acid ratios, and other poor nutrition habits can lead to a drop in mood and motivation. By adding some superfoods to your diet, you might find you’re back on top of the world and full of energy.
It should also be noted here that if you are suffering from depression, it’s best to discuss this with your primary care doctor or mental health professional. This is a clinical condition that requires a professional diagnosis and treatment plan.
Superfoods for Your Brain
Get ready to change the way you eat so you can change the way you approach the world. These super-ingredients are packed with nutrients that support a healthy functioning brain and will make you feel great all-over.
1. Collagen Peptides
Collagen is a protein or amino acid that’s found in the body. You’ll find most of them in your bones, joints, and skin.
You may have heard of collagen, it’s considered the glue that holds your body together and gives it cohesion, elasticity, and regeneration abilities.
Collagen peptides are made by breaking down collagen into smaller elements that are better absorbed into the bloodstream. This means that once they are digested, they’re better able to travel through the body and deliver energy.
One of the amino acids in collagen is glutamine. This product is great at relieving anxiety, insomnia, an inability to concentrate, and it boosts energy.
If you’re interested in adding collagen peptides to your daily diet, you can take it as an easy to digest supplement, or focus on eating foods that are rich in protein, like dairy, beef, fish, chicken, beans, and eggs.
While this may activate your chocolate radar, it’s important not to confuse the two. The cacao you want is raw, nonroasted beans. Raw cacao is loaded with magnesium, calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese. All of these nutrients support proper neurological function.
In addition, cacao has anandamide and theobromine, which help boost mood or can help manage a mood imbalance. When those compounds are paired with polyphenols and flavonoids, your neurons are protected, and you get a natural mood elevator with higher cognitive function.
You can add cacao powder to different foods or drinks to give you a big boost and help you feel great all day.
3. Sacha Inchi
The sacha inchi seed is not well-known in most circles but it should be. While it’s a seed, it tastes very nutty and packs a powerful nutritional punch.
Sachi inchi is loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids that protect the entire body against inflammation. A meta-analysis published in Biological Psychiatry found a connection between proinflammatory cytokines and depression.
Sacha inchi is not only good at reducing inflammation, but it also has tryptophan, the chemical often accused of making you sleepy after a Thanksgiving turkey. Tryptophan is also a precursor for serotonin, which is commonly known as the happy hormone as it boosts your sense of happiness and well-being.
There are many other health benefits that come from the nutrients in sacha inchi, making it a new diet must. It’s easy to add these seeds to salads, trail mix, and other meals, or find a powder and stir it into your favorite foods.
4. Maca Powder
Maca is an adaptogenic herb that has long been used to balance hormones, lift mood and energy, relieve stress, boost stamina, and support an active libido.
Adaptogens are non-toxic plants that give the body some resistance against physical, chemical, and biological stressors. While the buzz on these natural wonders is just hitting the mainstream audience, they’ve been around for a long time and have played a big role in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions.
Each of the adaptogens has a different role to play in the body. The specific benefit of maca is that its high levels of calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression while simultaneously boosting energy, stamina, and mood.
Maca powder can be easily mixed into your morning coffee or tea, or you can add it to baked goods and other meals you create.
Another of the adaptogens, ashwagandha does have a similar profile as the maca, but it also has its own benefits that can’t be ignored. While a lot of things that reduce stress have the side effect of making you drowsy, ashwagandha actually does the opposite, it gives you the stress relieving qualities you want with an added any energy charge.
A study published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine looked at the safety and efficacy of a high concentration of ashwagandha root and how it affected people with anxiety and stress. They found it to be very effective and safe in building an individual’s resistance to stress and boosting their quality of life. They also found a significant reduction in cortisol, the stress hormone.
Ashwagandha is an herb, but it’s not commonly used in cooking. Taking it regularly is probably best done with a supplement. You can mix ashwagandha powder into your foods, but it tends to have a bitter taste, so it needs a stronger flavor to cloak the taste.
Waking Up To Wellness
Depression is a serious mental illness that needs the proper care of a professional.
For those people who are simply feeling a bit down, sluggish, and are lacking energy, they might find some of these super ingredients helpful.
Adding collagen peptides, ashwagandha, sacha inchi, cacao, or maca to your routine might give you the boost you need to feel more alert, revived, and positive. These ingredients each have their own set of benefits that can help you target your symptoms, but it might entail a little experimentation to find one that works best for you and puts you in top form.