We're often bombarded with statistics about how depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses are affecting our lives and our loved ones more than ever before. Equally important, however, is to also turn our focus onto the positive side of emotional wellness, too. That's why I'd like to encourage you to make your own mental and emotional health more of a priority—and it’s easier than you may think!
There are many steps you can take in your personal journey toward emotional wellness, such as setting micro-goals, strengthening your personal relationships and community, learning to comfortably say “no” to avoid burnout, and practicing meditation on a regular basis. However, the foods you eat also have a huge impact on how you feel throughout the day and nutrient-dense superfoods can play a vital role in everyday emotional maintenance.
Here are three of my favorite superfoods that support emotional wellness to help you feel your very best!
Not only is cacao absolutely delicious and versatile for cooking and snacks, but it’s also a wonderful superfood to support your brain and boost your mood. When you consume cacao in its unprocessed, whole-food form, you are fueling your body with valuable antioxidants and nutrients that positively impact brain health. cacao contains a type of plant nutrient called flavanols that facilitate the healthy connections of brain cells, thereby helping you think more clearly and process information and stresses better. Cacao has also been studied for its ability to reduce anxiety, which gets in the way of you feeling stable, grounded and in control of your life every day.
2. Goji Berries
Another excellent superfood to eat to support your emotional wellness is goji berries. Not only are these tiny berries packed with protein, antioxidants and fiber, but they are actually nicknamed “the happy berries” in Chinese folklore because of their wellness-boosting benefits. Scientific studies have shown that goji berries increase feelings of general wellbeing and improve neurologic and psychologic performance when eaten daily. Other studies reveal that goji berries can improve conditions of anxiety and depression, but again the key here is consuming them on a regular basis to get their full benefits.
Meanwhile, turmeric is a healing spice that belongs in every kitchen pantry. Although turmeric is best known for its anti-inflammatory benefits, it’s also a great way to support your emotional wellness through nutrition. Turmeric contains a substance called curcumin that gives the spice its many health benefits. This spice has been studied for its power to manage anxiety and its ability to significantly help reduce Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) scores. BDI is a self-report rating inventory that measures symptoms of depression. Furthermore, turmeric is often used as a natural remedy to reduce physical pain, which is the cause of many types of emotional distress. There are also benefits of turmeric for brain health, as some studies have cited curcumin supplementation as a source for improvements in memory and mood.
Striving for emotional wellness is so incredibly important and needs to be a top priority for each and every one of us. Without it, you can’t care for the people you love, complete the tasks you need to get done or become the best version of yourself. Good nutrition is just one piece of the puzzle for feeling emotionally well, but superfoods like cacao, goji berries and turmeric can definitely help get you on the right track.
Okay, so you know a little more about the superfoods that will do the job...but how do you use them? Click here for delicious recipes inspo!