chocolate 1202606 1280

Feeling down? It’s possible that what you’re eating is causing you to feel fatigued and unmotivated. Fortunately, eating the right foods can automatically boost your mental and emotional health. There’s a reason why they say, “You are what you eat!”

With winter in full swing, the days are shorter and colder, so it’s easy to feel depressed or anxious. Below are some of the best foods that will improve your mood and why.

1. Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh produce always makes the list when it comes to a healthy diet. While it may not be exciting to hear “fruits and vegetables,” it does open up a wide variety of things that you can eat! Fresh fruits and veggies that are high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids may lower rates of depression. Folate, found in foods like citrus fruits and dark green, leafy vegetables, is also known to boost neurotransmitters in the brain.

2. Fish

Oily, fatty fish such as tuna, salmon and sardines should be added to your diet each week. They contain omega-3s, which boost the mood by altering brain chemicals. What’s interesting about omega-3s is that they are not produced naturally by the body. Therefore, eating foods high in these healthy fats is essential for good health.

3. Chocolate

This is one type of food that you should be happy to see on the list! The key is to choose the right type of chocolate. According to one study, eating dark chocolate (1.4 ounces) every day for two weeks may reduce stress hormones. It’s believed that the antioxidants are responsible for lowering cortisol and other hormones.

4. Nuts

Nuts are another great source of omega-3s. Plus, they are high in protein and will keep you feeling full. Just be sure to watch how many nuts you eat because they are high in calories. About one ounce a day is adequate. The best nuts include almonds and walnuts. Sprinkle them on oatmeal or in yogurt to fill out your meals.

5. Whole Grains

Carbohydrates are comforting, but it’s important to pick the right ones. Whole grains are best because they keep your blood sugar stable and regulate neurotransmitters in the brain. Avoid refined sugar and flour products as they are linked to inflammation and blood sugar spikes.

6. Fermented Foods

Recent research pays attention to gut health and its role in managing physical and emotional health. The purpose of these foods is to maintain a healthy gut with the right balance of good bacteria. The best fermented foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh and some yogurts.

It’s always important to eat healthy, but the winter is when you’re most vulnerable to depression, anxiety and illness. Give yourself the best protection possible – a healthy diet!