8 Surprising Ingredients That Can Boost Your Mood
If you're feeling ho-hum, try these herbs and spices to bring your smile back.
When you’re feeling sluggish and just blah, there are certain ingredients that can actually help boost your mood. Check out these power-packed herbs and spices that can help you get back to your happy place.
Turmeric is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that can stimulate the release of serotonin, a natural mood enhancer. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is responsible for most of its potential health benefits. Studies suggest it may also improve memory and help new brain cells grow as we age. Try these eight surprising ways to get your turmeric.
Can you believe that just smelling cinnamon can stimulate the brain? Including cinnamon in your diet can help increase attention and enhance cognitive processing, which are both mood lifters. Try adding a few sprinkles of cinnamon to your morning coffee or tea. Or, when hunger strikes, snack on this cinnamon-y nut mix to get the boost you need.
Honey, while not a spice, has a lot of medicinal qualities (it may even help alleviate seasonal allergies!). Not only is it a perfect sweet treat, it’s packed with quercetin and kaempferol, which have been shown to help reduce inflammation. To keep our brains happy, it’s important to keep inflammation in our bodies at a minimum…and honey is a joyful way to achieve this. These Chewy Honey Granola Bars will sweeten your day. Plus, honey can even help you fall asleep, which is why it’s a core ingredient in this Sweet Dreams cereal.
Garlic can help boost the immune system and reduce the length of a cold. (Surely, if you feel better, you’ll be in a better mood!) Garlic also contains antioxidants that can protect against oxidative damage, keeping our brains and emotions healthy. Feeling a cold coming on? This Garlicky Cheddar Bisque might be just what the doctor ordered.
Not only is ginger a popular spice, it is loaded with healthful benefits. You can eat this spice fresh, powdered or dried. Two of the many nutrients found in ginger are vitamin B6—which can improve energy levels—and magnesium—which helps ward off depression. A cup of ginger tea is a rejuvenating beverage anytime!
Clove, the dried flower bud of the clove tree, is a versatile spice used to season savory dishes and add depth to desserts, mulled wines, tea and coffee. Cloves are thought to be a natural stress reliever, stimulating the mind and decreasing fatigue. This Spicy White Chili is enhanced with cloves, so we guarantee it’s scrumptious—and it may also have a calming effect.
Thyme is a flavorful herb used to season chicken and soups. It’s also a great complement to tomato dishes. Like cloves, thyme is thought to have a calming effect and can even help you fall asleep. Herbal teas are a great way to use thyme—and why not have a little Lemon Thyme Tea Bread with your tea for a double dose of mood enhancement?
Nutmeg is not just for desserts. Try adding a little to warm milk, over pasta, or as an ingredient in a savory dish. The magnesium in nutmeg can help you sleep, plus it acts as a mild antidepressant. This cozy Bread Pudding with Nutmeg, with the mood-boosting benefits of nutmeg and pure delicious comfort, might just be the perfect ending to your meal.
Psst! Feeling down? If you’ve been feeling this way a lot lately, seeking medical advice from a primary care physician or psychotherapist is never a bad idea.