Ask the Chef: Happy Foods

by Julie Morris, Navitas Naturals Executive Chef
May 12, 2014

Q: What are the best “good mood” superfoods I can eat?

Sure. We all have “off days.” You know, those days when you’re just a little more irritable, tired, or seem to exude a sad-face emoticon for no reason at all? Often enough, this is the time when many of us reach for of favorite fatty, salty, or sweet comfort foods as something to “boost” our mood. In reality though, these foods often make matters worse, thanks to their biological effects of slow digestion, sugar crashes, and more!

Alternatively, superfoods contain vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and nutrients that actually nourish your body and restore balance of mind and body. Since your mood is directly affected by the foods you eat, it’s smart to have a stash of superfoods on hand to fight anxiety, irritability, and depression. So the next time a bad mood strikes, here are a few of my favorite mood-boosting superfoods, all of which genuinely encourage a better state of mind, and help with tackling the challenges of the day:

Cacao: Chocoholics rejoice! Pure, raw, organic cacao is a mental stimulator and overall mood-booster. Cacao has shown to raise serotonin levels in the brain, and of course, it provides immediate taste bud gratification too. Cacao is a versatile superfood and conveniently comes in the form of Cacao Beans, Cacao Butter, Cacao Nibs, Cacao Paste, and Cacao Powder. I like to think there’s no bad mood that a batch of Chocolate Chip Oat Bars won’t fix!

Maca: Maca is a favorite superfood because it increases energy and stamina without being a stimulant. Believe it or not, stimulants can lead to depression, so maca is an absolutely fabulous alterative to caffeine. Raw Maca can be added to smoothies and yogurt, while Gelatinized Maca is perfect for ice cream, topping, and sauces. For a quick and easy snack, try a handful of our Superfood+ Maca Cashews, which have a delicious touch of maple syrup and a satisfying crunch.

Chia Seeds: Chia Seeds contain essential fatty acids, which are necessary to maintain healthy brain function. If you’re craving comfort food, try our recipe for Mexican Pesto Pizza, which creatively mixes mood-boosting chia seeds and hemp seeds with cilantro and fresh tomatoes on a black bean crust.

Hemp Seeds: Speaking of Hemp Seeds, these little guys are packed with protein, which is known to raise dopamine levels in the brain and improve your mood. Avoid a fast food guilt trip and whip up a Portobello Burger with two full tablespoons of natural hemp seeds.

Goji Berries: Goji Berries are sometimes referred to as the “happy berry,” and for good reason! In addition to being a complete source of protein and rich in antioxidants, goji berries have proven to support the immune system, boost libido, and even improve sexual functioning. Mix these tasty little berries into tea, trail mix, dips, soups, and salads. To put yourself in a better state of mind, trade your morning coffee or evening wine for a rejuvenating glass of Goji Fresh Ade.


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