Did you know that many nourishing and detoxifying foods can energize and lift your mood? Our bodies rely on a vast network of chemical pathways and reactions, and these reactions use nutrients we consume for mood and energy. You can choose foods that drag you down. Or, you can fill your plate and body with detoxifying, mood-lifting, energizing foods.
It’s not difficult to understand how food can be energizing. After all, foods and drinks contain calories (unit of energy), and nutrients like vitamins and minerals required to produce energy.
But, moods? How can foods be uplifting?
Are you familiar with serotonin? It’s the chemical messenger that acts as a mood stabilizer. In fact, serotonin levels are linked to mood, behavior, outlook, and even longevity (1).
Of course, you’d probably like a bit more of this mood-enhancing chemical.
Luckily, your daily habits, foods, drinks, and lifestyle play a part in its levels. How? Serotonin is synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan, and tryptophan is contained in specific foods. When tryptophan is low in the diet, brain serotonin can drop (2). In fact, depletion of tryptophan is linked to depressed and anxious moods.
And some energizing foods contain serotonin itself.
Whether you experience low moods specifically during winter months or could just use a bit of a pick-me-up, energizing foods can help! Here are some of our favorites.
Eggs are a great source of highly bioavailable (digestible, absorbable, and usable) protein. The protein in eggs has been found to significantly boost blood plasma levels of tryptophan (3), especially when the yolks are included. In addition, egg yolks provide other nourishing amino acids and fats, including tyrosine, choline, biotin, omega-3 fatty acids, and more.
What’s more, research shows that those who eat eggs for breakfast, rather than a high-carbohydrate diet, increasing plasma ghrelin, without negatively affecting cholesterol (4).
What does this mean to you?
Ghrelin is the hormone that makes you feel hungry. Hunger is not generally an uplifting mood right after you’ve had a meal. Instead, you can feel nourished and satiated with organic eggs.
Millions of people around the world rely on coffee for its morning pick-me-up. It’s the quintessential energizing food or drink. But exactly how is it energizing?
Coffee’s caffeine crosses the blood-brain barrier to inhibit adenosine in the brain. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter that quiets the central nervous system (5). Then, without adenosine in the way, epinephrine increases. Epinephrine stimulates the body and brain.
These effects are enough to increase physical performance and brain alertness. What’s more, coffee contains antioxidants and phytochemicals to support cellular and whole-body health.
Chlorophyll is the lifeblood of plants. When consumed by humans, it’s one of the best energizing foods. Similar to hemoglobin, chlorophyll carries nutrients in the blood. However, it doesn’t carry iron. It carries another energizing mineral, magnesium (6). Magnesium supports the production of energy throughout the body as well as healthy sleep cycles.
Furthermore, chlorophyll helps alkalize the body and urine pH. This supports liver function and helps the body remove toxins like metals, pesticides, and more.
Chlorophyll is found in most raw, live greens. These are great energizing foods! Or, for an incredibly convenient potent form, try a fermented green powder such as Divine Health Fermented Green Supremefood®.
Of course, your body depends on water for all its functions, including energy production(7). Without adequate amounts, you may suffer headaches, fatigue, overwhelm and sluggishness when dehydrated (8).
In addition, water supports healthy skin, detoxification, and healthy aging.
Dark chocolate with a high cacao content(>80% cacao) is a wonderful, high-antioxidant food. And, small amounts can be energizing!
Cacao’s antioxidants support blood flow, the delivery of oxygen to the brain and muscles, and mental alertness and focus (9).
In addition, cacao is a known mood enhancer. It contains theobromine, caffeine, and serotonin (10).
Salmon is a great source of healthy omega-3 fats, including. These fats are known to be nourishing, energizing, and uplifting.
In fact, one study of 158 participants found that consuming omega-3 (EPA 1 g/DHA 656 mg) each day resulted in an increase of EPA and DHA in red cell membranes and a significant decrease in depressive symptoms during active treatment. No other biomarkers were associated with a lessening of depressive symptoms.
The researchers concluded that “changes in fatty acid levels resulting from a nutraceutical combination containing EPA and DHA provide a response biomarker in treating depression (11).”
If you are not able to consume wild fatty fish like salmon regularly, you can conveniently get omega-3s in a krill supplement.
Green tea is one of the healthiest drinks on earth. It contains highly concentrated antioxidants that fight free radicals and inflammation (12).
Green tea is also an energizing drink! It contains a modest amount of caffeine. More importantly, it contains a compound called L-theanine. L-theanine promotes steady energy (13).
In addition, green tea has been shown to boost physical performance, increase the breakdown of fat for energy, and release norepinephrine (14, 15).
Beets are vibrant and nutritious. They contain amazingly energizing compounds, called betanins. Betanins are responsible for beet’s many health benefits in the human body, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions (16). What’s more, beets also support the production and work of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant our cells make to fight damaging substances.
In addition, beets promote vasodilation. This makes them one of the great energizing foods! Beets contain natural nitrates that are converted to nitric oxides in the body. Nitric oxides dilate blood vessels, allowing more oxygen to circulate more efficiently. Nitric oxide may also increase muscle tissues’ ability to use oxygen (16).
One of the best ways to get the power of beets is through a fruit and vegetable powder like Divine Health Red Supremefoods®.
Believe it or not, your digestive tract health is one key to energizing your body. In fact, specific fibers, called inulin and psyllium husk, directly support digestive health and energy. They both stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, improve digestion, and support immune health (17, 18).
When digestion is working right, your body can absorb and use all the energizing foods and nutrients you give it!
For a great source of inulin and psyllium husk, try a high-quality fiber powder such as Keto Zone Fiber Zone.
Unfortunately, many people choose less healthy foods for a serotonin hit. In fact, the brain will also activate neurons and release serotonin when carbohydrates are consumed and insulin is elevated. Without the healthy balance of proteins (like tryptophan) and other regulating mechanisms from a well-balance and healthy diet, this serotonin release cause an abrupt improvement in mood, often followed by a low mood. Rather than a consistent flow of hormones, people experience a yo-yo that keeps them coming back for more processed carbohydrates.
This is not the serotonin fix we want. In fact, the hormone yo-yo and binging encourages unhealthy over eating and weight gain (21).
Instead, choose healthy detoxifying and nourishing foods! If you’re ready to get started, get your own Dr. Colbert’s 21 Day Detox & Fasting Starter Kit.
Are you ready to get going on 2023? Shake off the winter humdrums and choose energizing foods instead! Let’s go!