Very often, when looking for a snack for extra energy, we tend to reach out for unhealthy foods like sugary snacks or highly processed packaged foods. If you’re looking for healthier options that will give you extra energy as well as a mood boost, try one of these options instead.
Rich in protein, healthy fats, and fiber, nuts make a great snack for a boost of energy. Specifically, omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to a decrease in depression and better mental health. Minerals like zinc and selenium are also found in most nuts and are associated with improved brain function and lower rates of depression. If you’re searching for a healthy snack that will also help you feel better, reach out for some almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, or walnuts.
Yogurt is a great source of probiotics that are mostly known for their role in stimulating the production of healthy gut bacteria. However, it appears that better gut health is also associated with improved brain health and lower levels of depression. In a study on people with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) consumption of probiotics was linked to improvement in both gut symptoms and depression symptoms, having a positive effect on the mood.
Oats, and whole grains in general, are great sources of B vitamins which are extremely important for brain health. B6 vitamin in particular is useful in the conversion of the amino acid tryptophan into serotonin while B12 helps the production of serotonin and dopamine. All these hormones play an important role in mood regulation. The fiber in the oats also helps regulate blood sugar levels, important in keeping under control mood swings and irritability. You can have a snack with overnight oats, oatmeal, muesli, or granola.
Good news! You can still reach out for chocolate when in need of a sweet snack. Just make sure to stick to dark chocolate, over 70%. Many compounds that can positively affect your mood can be found in chocolate, specifically sugar as a source of fuel for the brain; caffeine, theobromine, and N-acylethanolamine, all feel-good compounds; flavonoids which can reduce inflammation and improve brain health, supporting mood regulation. And of course, chocolate also tastes good and makes us feel happier.
If you’re craving something sweet and healthy at the same time, berries can be a great choice for a snack. Eating fruits is linked to lower depression rates. Apparently, antioxidants, which help control inflammation, can also help regulate mood. Furthermore, they help combat oxidative stress, which can have harmful effects on overall health. Eat them either fresh or frozen, on their own, or with other healthy foods like oats or nuts.