3 Foods To Boost Your Mood, According to a Doctor

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It's been a year filled with stress, to say the least—but luckily, Eat to Beat Disease author Dr. William Li is back and sharing more superfoods he suggests incorporating into our diets. He's covered foods that help fight diseasesuperfoods that help fight fat and boost immunity, and now he's recommending these three "mood foods," a.k.a. superfoods and spices to help improve our moods. And don't worry, superfoods may sound super intimidating, but they're actually super easy to find in your local grocery store, the doc assures us. 

MORE: 22 Foods That Help Boost Your Immune System

1. Dark chocolate can help calm anxiety 

"Dark chocolate has been shown to calm anxiety," Dr. Li says. "Researchers studied stress markers in the body, and what they found is people who eat dark chocolate have lower levels of stress markers and lower anxiety." As if we needed another reason to love dark chocolate! 

2. Turmeric and black pepper can work together to improve memory 

"Turmeric has gotten a lot of buzz recently, and it deserves it, because it has these anti-inflammatory properties," Dr. Li says. "But guess what? Turmeric has now been shown to improve memory as well. It turns out that the turmeric can light up parts of your brain involved with memory and emotion." 

When you're using turmeric in food—because "it's a spice, it's not a whole food, you've got to put it in things," the doc points out—you want to add it along with a little bit of fresh cracked black pepper. They work together, so the black pepper helps activate the benefits of turmeric

TRY IT IN: A memory-enhancing bloody Mary mocktail! 

Dr. Li likes to add turmeric and cracked black pepper into a non-alcoholic bloody Mary. 

3. Walnuts can improve overall mood 

Walnuts are a great source of healthy fat, which is a precursor to Omega-3s, Dr. Li explains. "Our body takes the healthy fat in walnuts and turns it into Omega-3s. Omega-3s are not only good for anti-aging, but they're good for our mood." 

And this applies to other types of tree nuts too, he says, including pistachios, pecans, cashews and even pumpkin seeds. 

TRY IT IN: Banana bread, or have ½ cup walnuts for healthier snacking 

Dr. Li cites a recent study involving college students who were NOT clinically depressed, but considered themselves "bummed out." They fed students three slices of banana bread every day, which either contained crushed walnuts or had no walnuts. The results showed that eating just ½ cup of crushed walnuts helped improve overall mood. 

"This speaks to the idea that eating food for our health doesn't have to be extreme," Dr. Li says. It only takes a small amount to make an impact. 

So, stress-bake some banana bread, then eat it to feel less stressed? Sounds like a plan! 

For more food that can help you live longer, get Dr. Li's recipe for Longevity Pasta with Breadcrumbs, Capers, Sardines + Lemon here. Plus, register for Dr. Li's free Masterclass here

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