(Original post from #WomenWhoWork ):
From Brooke: Some days, I need more than 24 hours to complete everything on my to-do list. The trick is finding the extra time in an already full schedule without burning out.
Fueling our bodies with nutrients that boost our mood, reduce stress and fuel brain power can help. If you find it hard to focus in the afternoon or your patience wears thin, chances are your brain is missing what it needs to thrive.
Did you know that certain kinds of foods act as natural antidepressants? Cashews and organic turkey both have tryptophan, an amino acid that your body cannot make naturally. It produces niacin (a B vitamin) which helps the body produce serotonin. That’s the chemical that acts as a calming agent and helps with sleep.
Here are some of my favorite mood-enhancing foods:
Yes—dark chocolate has real benefits. It’s filled with feel-good endorphins. A recent study found that cocoa flavonoids are good for memory, attention and cognition. You can eat a little piece when you need a pick-me-up or keep a stash of my homemade Love Crunch on hand.
Asparagus is filled with folic acid, a mood-boosting nutrient.
This fish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids that keep cortisol and adrenaline from spiking during times of stress. Together with asparagus, it makes an easy weeknight dinner.
I add avocados to everything from smoothies and breakfast toasts to salads and wraps. Avocados are rich in B vitamins that fight anxiety. Cut up some fresh veggies and dip them into my Creamy Cado for a great afternoon snack.
What you don’t eat is as important as what you do eat. Stay away from foods and ingredients that will drag you down, even if they taste great in the moment.
High-fructose corn syrup and artificial color, flavor and sweeteners are all ingredients that can alter your mood in a negative way. Highly processed foods rich in refined carbohydrates and sugary beverages are associated with increased risk of depression and anxiety. Who’s got time for that?
Come on ladies, our to-do lists wait!
For more from Brooke, see her recent columns and visit her online at 360 Your Life. She offers free recipes and practical solutions for healthy living each month in her weekly newsletter. Sign up on her website.