Foods that improve your attitude

Everyone hits hard patches in their lives. In a lot of cases, it’s life’s hardships that make you stronger and wiser. I’ve seen people who have gone through great hardship and remained positive despite their despair, and I’ve watched those who let the anguish turn into constant negativity and pessimism.  

The problem with things like despair, anxiety and stress is that they take a huge toll on you physically. When we hit a rough patch, not just a bad day, but a truly difficult patch of life, what can we do to help ourselves remain as positive as possible? Are there things we can do to minimize the effects of stress and despair? The good news is yes! Diet and exercise can impact your attitude and help you stay positive through life’s challenges.

A close friend got some very bad news that caused tremendous anguish and distress. In an effort to help my friend, I researched what could be done to ease the emotional pain. I came up with a “positive attitude” food plan and a 3-day a week exercise routine. This was not going to eliminate the anxiety completely but would nudge her attitude in the right direction.  

Here are the 10 foods that were incorporated into the food plan

1) Walnut or almonds—just a handful, 1 oz. a day. They are high in omega-3 fatty acids which your brain loves.

2) Fish, especially salmon—also high in omega-3 fatty acids which feed the brain and are known to have anti-depressive benefits.

3) Whole grains—that stabilize blood sugar and help your brain stay positive.  

4) Berries—blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and cherries are all good and will help indulge your sweet tooth.

5) Vegetables—leafy green or high-fiber veggies, and especially carrots, can protect your mood.

6) Fermented foods—sauerkraut, kimchi or tempeh. This is a rapidly emerging health trend. It’s about gut-health and the importance of having healthy bacteria in your intestines. Probiotics are also very good.  Look for them in a good organic plain yogurt, or try kefir. (Does that mean wine is OK? It’s fermented!)

7) Coffee—Yeah! Boosts your mood long and short term.  

8)Chicken or turkey—contain tryptophan which can improve your mood and your ability to sleep.

9) Oysters—they have zinc, which is essential for energy production and a happy brain and they’ve been found to help people who suffer from depression.

10) Dark Chocolate—just a small square causes the body to release endorphins and make you feel better. Amen!

Things to stay away from:
a)    Refined sugar
b)    Gluten 
c)    Alcohol

The other thing you can do to improve your mental mood is exercise regularly.It’s all about those endorphins. They are your best friend when you are feeling blue.  

This from WebMD: “Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as "euphoric." That feeling, known as a "runner's high," can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.”  This is an easy way to get a healthy buzz that isn’t illegal or bad for you.  

The hardest part about exercise when you are feeling down is getting started. The first 8 minutes may really suck, but once you can get past that, chances are you will start feeling better. You’ll get warmed up, start to sweat and those endorphins will kick in.  Afterwards, you can eat a healthy meal, take a hot shower and move through those tough days feeling better about yourself. This “positive attitude” plan will help you sleep better and feel more in control.

Thankfully, as we move through issues and bad times, we eventually come out the other side. There are aspects of hardship that we have no control over, but there are things we do have control over that can help us stay positive and continuing to see the glasshalf full and sparkling.

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