4 Foods to Brighten Your Mood

Shopping, crowds, cleaning, and competition for finding the “perfect gift” can be exhausting!  Research has shown chronic stress to negatively affect mood and behavioral self-regulation, with associations to depression, anxiety, and a decrease of self-confidence and quality of life.  There are many ways to prevent and intervene in our environment when stress is getting to be too much!

Quick stress-survival guide and foods to brighten the mood:

Stress Relieving Foods:

1.  Oranges and Citrus Foods
Citrus foods contain vitamin C to help boost immunity and may help to reduce stress related hormones. Add orange slices to your water bottle, top over a spinach or arugula salad, or toss with roasted sweet potatoes and cinnamon for a sweet finish to your vegetable dish.

2.  Dark Leafy Greens
Leafy greens such as spinach and kale are packed with magnesium and fiber, helping to regulate stress related hormones and bolster immunity.  Check out our Juicing Recipes for endless ideas on how add these your leafy greens to your day!

3.  Nuts
Most nuts including almonds, pistachios and walnuts are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin B to help bolster the immune system and feed the brain to think clearly in times of stress. Top to salads, dust on top of steamed vegetables or try these Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies and substitute with nuts of your choice!

4.  Avocados
These bright green machines are high in B vitamins and healthy fats important for brain cell structure and function, important and needed in times of stress.  Try this Green Vanilla Shake or Berry Avocado Smoothie for a powerful brain-start to your day, enjoy a new lunch of Fresh Fennel and Avocado Salad, or have a side of Avocado Tomato Salad with dinner.

Find out more foods to help beat stress with these Top 5 Foods to Help Fight Depression.

Quick Stress-Survival Guide:

These 10 tips go beyond your diet to  help you relieve stress…

1.  Regular Physical Activity
A recent published study found that regular physical activity of walking just 30-60 minutes every day improved mood, cognition and memory. The rhythm of walking has a calming effect and may help to decrease anxiety and improve sleep.  Regular movement and activity brings oxygenating blood flow to the brain and helps to keep energy intake in balance. Be consistent and find a time of day that you can block out no matter what you have planned.

2. Find Meaningful Positive Social Interactions
Surround yourself with people you care about and appreciate the relationships you share.

3. Mindfulness Practice
Practicing meditation or yoga has been shown in studies to alleviate physical and mental ailments from anxiety and chronic stress. Watch this 10 minute TED talk on the importance of mindfulness to feel empowered on taking just 10 minutes of your day.

4. Breathe in Calming Aromas
Soothing and stress relieving aromas can have dramatic effects on reducing anxiety and stress.  Purchase essential oils for only $3-$5 at your local health or grocery store.  Choose:
– Lavender or Eucalyptus for a calming effect.
– Fresh Lemon or Orange to inhale after cutting open a fresh fruit.  Use in juicing, add to chilled water,  or dap citrus juice on temples in times of stress.
– Cold compress to place over eyes before bedtime. Soak a washcloth in warm water with a few drops of lavender oil.
– Take deep inhales when making and sipping on this Citrus Craving Juice or Red Citrus Juice.

5. Make a To-Do list
Stay organized by planning your day/week as specific as possible to feel prepared and ready for what needs to be accomplished.

6. Practice Small Acts of Kindness
A recent study found participants who performed daily, random acts of kindness for 2 weeks increased their life satisfaction, positive emotions, and academic engagement. Think simple: Hold the door open, say hello to the next person you see, say thank you to the man that picks up your garbage, complement someone, give your seat up on the packed bus, help to carry someone’s groceries.

7. Drink Water
Drink up to feel clear-headed, focused, and calm.  A good estimate is to drink ½ your body weight (in ounces).  Keep a water bottle on you at all times and stay hydrated.

8. Power Up at Breakfast
Skip the coffee, and power up your day the right way with Banana Nut Pumpkin Oatmeal or an invigorating Picnic Party Juice to get you starting the day stress and anxiety free.

9. Add Music to Your Day
Listen to your favorite music to help relax while doing household chores or preparing holiday meals.

10. Focus on what’s Important
Family, friends, and being grateful for what we have is what the holiday season is really about!