Naturally Mood-Boosting Foods and Fragrances
During the global pandemic, mental health and emotional wellness has been a concern for many. The combination of having to stay indoors, limit social contact, and the harsh weather can bring about a bout of winter blues and take a toll on one’ mood and overall mental health. While food alone cannot treat or cure depression, anxiety, and stress, eating a balanced diet rich an antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals many help to improve moods and support overall mental health. Keep reading as we outline foods, flavors, and scents that can help to naturally boost moods and calm troubled minds.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are naturally found in foods like yogurt and kimchi and are known to support digestive health. New scientific research has also determined that there may be a link between gastrointestinal and mental health, as the effects of bacteria in the GI system may send signals to the brain, impacting mental health. While the link between GI health and mood isn’t clear, the effects of overall health and comfort do impact mental health so those suffering from issue such as IBS may experience anxiety or depression as a result. Fermented foods like miso, sauerkraut, kefir, and kombucha are rich in naturally-occurring probiotics which support GI health and may boost mental health by eliminating common issues like bloating and gas.
Vitamin D is crucial not only for bone health, but for brain development and overall function, as well. Low levels of vitamin D, most prevalent in winter months as the sun sets early, are often associated with depression and seasonal affective disorder. Research has shown that vitamin D might play an important role in regulating mood and warding off depression. In addition to taking supplements, consuming foods that are rich in vitamin D is an easy and delicious way to benefit long-term. Mushrooms, salmon, tuna, red meat, and egg yolks are all high in vitamin D and can easily incorporated into everyday diets. Foods fortified with vitamin D such as milk, soy milk, and breakfast cereals are also popular choices for a boost in this essential vitamin.
Essential oils have been used for decades to treat many different types of issues, including depression and anxiety. While it is important to note that essential oils aren’t a cure for these issues, they are natural option that may help to relieve symptoms and can be a side-effect free way to relieve distress. Different types of oils can be used to treat different symptoms including anxiety, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, and difficulty sleeping while also creating a calming atmosphere. Lavender, rosemary, citrus, and chamomile oils are well-known for their positive effects when diffused, and lesser-known beneficial oils include wild ginger, rose, and ylang-ylang oil.
While foods and scents cannot cure mental health issues, they can help to naturally ease discomfort, especially during the dark and cold winter months.