According to a recent poll, well over half of the American population finds it far easier to work on their taxes than eat a more healthy diet. Furthermore, the average American also consumes far too many unnecessary calories.
- Recommended daily calorie intake: 2,000
- Typical American’s daily calorie intake: 2,700
Changing your diet may seem complicated, but it’s actually pretty simple. In fact, aside from changing your diet to ingest fewer calories, you can also adjust your diet to increase your intake of mood-boosting foods.
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The American Diet
- Two out of every three Americans are obese or overweight
- The top five most consumed food items in the U.S. consist generally of sugars and refined grains
- Only 8% of the average diet features fruits and vegetables
- Of the top 25 foods consumed regularly by adults and children, vegetables and fruits don’t make the list (except for fried white potatoes, aka french fries)
A Breakdown of What the Typical American Eats:
- 24% flour and cereal based products
- 23% fats and oils
- 21% meats, eggs and nuts
- 14% sweeteners
- 9% dairy products
- 8% fruits and vegetables
- 1% other
In total, 61% of our diet is based around food items that we should only consume in limited amounts.
Foods That Can Improve Your Mood
So, eating a more varied diet can help you cut down on your caloric intake. But eating certain healthy foods can also have other positive benefits, such as helping boost your mood. Here are some examples:
1) Chocolate, especially dark chocolate with minimal added sugar:
Chocolate can help to reduce tension, and can also boost overall “pleasant feelings” by helping to promote serotonin production in the body.
While the average person should only eat 3 ounces of meat per day, protein can help to reduce hunger cravings and boost energy. Almond butter, cheese sticks with vegetables, or hummus can provide your body with additional protein – without having to consume fat-heavy meats.
Rich in dopamine, this fruit can help a person increase their sense of pleasure and positivity.
4) Coffee or tea:
Caffeine can naturally help to lift a person’s spirits, and can also increase their sense of productivity.
Blackberries and blueberries feature anthocyanin, which is a mood enhancer and it’s also a heart-healthy antioxidant.
6) Omega-3 fatty acids:
Often found in fish like salmon, this fatty acid features DHA. Our body can’t produce DHA, and individuals with low DHA often suffer from depression.
Foods to stay away from:
Consuming processed foods with trans fats, or food items that are rich in gluten and sugars, can often cause blood sugar levels to spike (which can result in mood swings and fluctuating energy levels), stress, and even hampered hormone production.
Changing Your Diet
How can you change your diet for the better, eat less, and also incorporate more of these healthy, mood-boosting foods into your diet? Here are some tips.
- Eat more fruits and veggies. Eating fruits can help to combat sugar cravings.
- Eat regularly at set times, and try to eat three meals a day.
- Don’t avoid carbs: Roughly half of your diet should consist of carbs.
- Minimize meat intake to roughly three ounces.
- Limit fat intake, and stay away from fried foods.
- Eat as much omega-3 fatty acids as possible.
- Make sure that your intake of key nutrients, such as folic acid and iron, stays consistent. Veggies and fruit are rich in folic acid, while meats and eggs feature plenty of iron.