Foods to enhance mood for mid-term

Adrienne Conza, Staff Writer

Welcome back to school!  For me, one of the hardest parts of the school year is the few weeks after winter break. With exams, cold weather, and the natural slump of having just come back from a fun, stress-free break, it can be difficult to keep your spirits up. Fortunately, there are actually some foods that are proven to boost your mood!  Here are 3 foods that you can eat to give yourself a lift!

 

  • Dark Chocolate. When you eat dark chocolate, your brain produces a chemical neurotransmitter, anandamide, which temporarily blocks feelings of pain and depression. Dark chocolate not only stimulates production of anandamide, but it also contains chemicals that prolong anandamide’s effects. Dark chocolate has also been shown to reduce stress hormones and lower blood pressure, which creates a feeling of calm. However, for your chocolate to be truly beneficial to your body, it must be at least 75% cocoa.

 

  • Bananas. Bananas contain a host of important vitamins such as vitamin A, B6, and C, as well as fiber, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and the amino acid tryptophan. In addition, bananas are a good source of carbohydrates, which not only help boost your mood, but they also aid in the absorption of tryptophan.  With the help of vitamin B6, tryptophan is converted into serotonin, which helps boost your mood and also promotes good sleep. Magnesium also promotes positive feelings and boosts your mood, and an extra bonus is the high amount of potassium, an electrolyte, found in bananas that balances fluids in the body and helps prevent muscle cramping after working out.

 

  • Purple and Red Berries. Purple and red berries, such as blackberries, acai berries, blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries to name a few, get their purple or red color from the pigment anthocyanin. Anthocyanins are antioxidants that help reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a common cause of depressed mood, so anthocyanins can help enhance mood. However, anthocyanins are very heat sensitive, so for their full effect, it is best to eat these berries raw or minimally cooked. Berries also have been shown to stop the stress hormone, cortisol, from being released, thus reducing feelings of stress.

As you prepare for exam week, make sure to stock up on dark chocolate, bananas, and berries! While these foods will all help boost your mood, the most important thing to stay happy (as much as possible) during exam week is to put exams in perspective and try not to stress out too much, stay rested, and fuel your body with healthy, but still delicious, foods!

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Categories: Arts & Culture, Food

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