You often hear the term “you are what you eat,” and as it turns out, in some ways, you might also “think what you eat” as well! While the intricate neuroscience responsible for your mood and emotions is vastly complex, there are definitive ways you can at least help influence how you feel through what you put in your mouth. Smoothies make this uplifting effort even easier with their ability to compile a large variety of functional foods into a single recipe. So, if you're looking to create a better headspace, here are some ways to use your blender to help.
Start With a Good Protein
The amino acids that make up proteins control various actions in the brain, and many are important for the synthesis and balance of your mood-controlling neurotransmitters. Plant-based proteins are especially effective because they are so easily digested by the body, and quick to break down into their usable amino acids. Try adding a scoop or two of an Essential Blend to your smoothie to give it a boost of plant protein, plus probiotics and digestive enzymes (not to mention a delicious hint of chocolate or vanilla flavor)!
Put Mood-Boosting Superfoods to Use
If you have a mild serotonin deficiency, there are some superfoods that may be able to help rebalance your brain chemistry. Goji berries and matcha can help reduce anxiety, while cacao is well-known for containing phytochemicals, which are the precursors/building blocks of serotonin, a.k.a. the “happy brain chemical.” Larger quantities of these superfoods are not necessarily better, and don't feel like you have to put in all of these ingredients at once—if you want to cover your bases, you can also use a superfood brain-boosting blend like Focus Boost!
Though you may not perceive it, when your brain is inflamed, every aspect of your cognition is negatively effected in some way. Thoughts may become slower, your reaction time increases, and, of course, your mood declines as your brain's mood messenger system is caught in a bit of a traffic jam. Avoiding inflammation-promoting habits like smoking or consuming large amounts of alcohol are important, but you can also add a protective element to your smoothie as well—in the form of antioxidants. For example, the antioxidants in berries like maqui have been well studied for their abilities to safeguard the brain against age-related damage, and turmeric is a widely lauded inflammation-taming ingredient that not only helps protect brain cells, but even acts as a mood enhancer at the same time.
Consuming healthy fat isn't important for your mood, but it is important for your brain to function well—and a happy brain equals a happy mind! A scoop of omega-rich chia or hemp is, quite literally, a very smart move.
Raid the Produce Bin
Superfoods and supplements aside, the most important things you can eat for a positive mood are fruits and vegetables, which contain the essential vitamins and minerals you need to retain a balanced brain chemistry. Take advantage of the adjustable nature of smoothies and pack in a handful of greens, frozen vegetables, and/or a cup of fresh fruit. Your mind will thank you!
Ready to start putting these tips into practice? Start HERE in our smoothie recipes library to search for a recipe that supports your mind and mood!
Author Bio: Julie Morris is a Los Angeles-based superfood chef and New York Times best-selling author. Julie is also the founder of Luminberry, the world’s first online superfood cooking school, where she leads courses on how to use cutting-edge ingredients in recipes. Julie works as a recipe developer and consultant for various health companies, restaurants and media outlets, and has published five cookbooks that have sold around the globe.