What we eat matters as it contributes to a healthy body and, therefore, a healthy mind. It is true that we can still be happy with an unhealthy body, but it is that much difficult. As such, we need to know the basic guidelines for nutrition, which would help create a healthy diet and, therefore, a happy diet. With this in mind, in this article we will discuss food options that are considered by many nutrition experts to be the superfoods of happiness.
1. Dark Chocolate
You may be surprised to see chocolate as first on the list of foods that result in a happy diet. Many are aware that sugar tastes good and therefore, can make us happy. However, when we crave something sweet, we need to be smart about how to satisfy this craving, as in the modern world today; we have countless unhealthy options presented to us, such as Coca-Cola, processed desserts, and sugary cereals. Most natural sugars present in fruits and vegetables are considered being unrefined and therefore “healthy”, and we should strive to fulfill our cravings with these types of sugar.
Chocolate is known to be a source of nutritious, sweet happiness, however most types of chocolate have far too many preservatives and sugar, so we are recommended to consume dark chocolate with at least 80% cocoa. Of course, the best thing to do would be to consume 100% cocoa, but not everyone can eat pure 100% cocoa chocolate with a smile on their face, because it is so bitter.
A forced healthy diet where we are discontent with the food we are consuming is an unhappy diet, as it will cause us stress, which will just take away the benefits given by whatever nutritious food we are eating. Similarly, food that is too bitter can make us rather unhappy, which is why a sweet spot is found somewhere between 80 and 100% dark chocolate pureness.
Blueberries are considered being a superfood by almost all health experts. They significantly increase antioxidant levels, which help to defend the body’s cells against harmful molecules called free radicals, which are linked to aging and a host of diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
3. Camu Camu
Camu camu is a powerful superfood derived from the camu camu berry found in the rich Amazon rainforest. It is a superfood that is incredibly high in nutrients and antioxidants. It is very high in Vitamin C, with 5g containing up to 750% of the RDI. It acts as a strong antioxidant to fight against free radicals and prevents oxidative stress which is caused from the accumulation of these molecules, preventing chronic diseases.
Coffee, when taken in moderation, increases focus and concentration and supports our Productivity Pillar. As Productivity is one of the 6 pillars of happiness, food that supplements our efforts to progress towards our goals and achieve more in life will result in higher overall happiness. However, caffeine should be avoided after noon as it will stay in our system for at least 12 hours, and has the potential to negatively impact our quality of sleep.
5. Green Tea
I lived in Japan for many years and came to drink Japanese green tea twice or three times a day. From my own personal experience, it helped to burn fat, increase focus, and definitely boosted my immunity towards common illnesses. Research shows that the antioxidants contained in green tea also contribute to preventing chronic illnesses in the same way superfoods such as blueberries and camu camu do.
Spinach is low in calories, yet incredibly high in nutrients. Also high in antioxidants, it reduces oxidative stress, DNA damage and disease. With anti-inflammatory properties, it supports the brain and ageing of the brain. Many vegetarians who may be low in iron can also benefit from eating spinach, as it is a versatile ingredient. Research also shows it helps to reduce eye diseases such as AMD, due to its high content of lutein, an antioxidant prominent in spinach.
7. Cutting out Meat
This may be sad news to the omnivores out there, but vegans and vegetarians report lower anxiety and less stress compared to their meat-eating counterparts. Plant foods contribute to lower inflammation levels in comparison to meat, eggs and other animal products. These foods are high in arachidonic acid, which creates high inflammation levels which has been linked to depression. A plant based diet leads to a more positive state of mind.
Bananas are high in potassium, but they are also high in tryptophan, an essential amino acid which is vital for creating a beneficial impact on mood, behaviour, and reducing the risks of depression. This amino acid also helps to control aggression, optimising us towards a happy mindset.
With Health being one of the Six Pillars of Happiness, what we put into our bodies as fuel is incredibly important for a happy life. These top foods are just a few examples of positive fuel needed for our bodies. It’s important to eat well for the long run, and if we take care of our health pillar well, maintaining the other pillars just becomes that much easier!