Try these smile-inducing eats when you want to keep stress at bay and bliss on overdrive. Happy snacking!
With the New Year in full swing, we’ve got no shortage of resolutions including eating better. We figured since we’re already revamping our diet, why not include foods that aren’t just good for our bodies, but for our minds, as well. We asked Dr. Gabrielle Francis, a New York-based rock & roll doctor to give us the foods she recommends to her rock star clients – think everyone from The Rolling Stones to Aerosmith to EVE — to keep them happy and high on life.
Check out her top 7:
Turns out coconut oil isn’t the scary fat the world once thought it was. In fact, adding it to your diet may put a smile on your face. “Coconut oil contains MCFAs, medium chain fatty acids, that the brain uses for repair and energy,” says Dr. Francis. It’s also been shown to increase the production of serotonin, the so-called “feel good” neurotransmitter that keeps depression at bay, and spur your metabolism. Add a tablespoon or two a day to your smoothie or coffee, she recommends.
When looking for a breakfast of (happy) champions, hook yourself up with a plate of scrambled eggs. “They’re high in lecithin and choline, substances that form an insulation and protection around the nerve cells and support brain function by increasing memory and cognition,” she explains. These nutrient-dense stress busters are also loaded with vitamins A, D, E and K, plus zinc, protein, iron and selenium. If you’re not a fan of eggs, slip one into a smoothie, along with a banana to mask the taste.
Some research suggests a small handful a day may be enough to alleviate mood swings, PMS or symptoms of depression.”I always have my rock star clients snacking on these,” Dr. Francis says. “They’re high in the amino acid phenylalanine, which helps to produce endorphins, your body’s natural opiates and painkillers.” Snack on them dry roasted or raw or simply add an order of edamame to your next sushi delivery.
There’s a reason a steak dinner might put you in your happy place. It’s filled with amino acids that trigger your brain’s production of happiness chemicals. “Lamb and lean cuts of red meat are high in the amino acid tyrosine, which helps to manufacture dopamine,” says Dr. Francis. “This mood-boosting neurotransmitter helps you experience pleasure and satisfaction in life.” She recommends adding a serving or two to your weekly diet.
Seriously? Yep. Dr. Francis says this vegetarian source of the amino acid tryptophan triggers the production of serotonin, that brain chemical that gives you a sense of joy and well being. Lucky for us, seaweed salads are an easy grab-n-go option from many local grocery stores.
is high in the amino acid taurine, which helps to produce the neurotransmitter, GABA. GABA helps calm down our nervous system and gives us a sense of peace and calm.
Not your every day nut, these babies are chock full of methionine, an amino acid that helps produce SAM-E, explains Dr. Francis. This chemical, naturally found in your body, has been found in numerous studies to enhance mood and treat depression. Keep a handful in your desk drawer for stress-free noshing at work.
Please consult your doctor to see if these foods are right for you.