By Rian De La Torre. Photography by Deun Ivory.
Balance is something that we all need in order to feel our very best. Nutrition plays an essential role in achieving that goal because we become what we eat, and the quality of the food we pick helps stabilize our emotions, and ultimately our mood.
A good way to start moving towards the right direction is to include alkaline foods in your diet. Why? Because the alkaline minerals we have inside our body are used to level up acidic conditions created by the environment we cohabit with. When the pH of our blood is between the numeric fringes that oscillate from 7.35 to 7.45, it is considered alkaline. Generally, acidic conditions start to drop below 7.35, and that´s an ideal environment for disease to develop. Above 7.45, our organisms will enter in an excessive alkaline zone, which is not good either.
The foods we eat are transformed into acid or alkaline product once they have been digested and later broken down. As a matter of fact, the actual pH of a particular food does not at all influence the final process by which the body turns that item into an acidic or alkaline material. This means that when you chew a lemon, it may taste acidic in your mouth but it will be turned into an alkaline product in your stomach.
Among the considered alkaline-forming foods, we have meat, eggs, dairy, and refined carbs. On the contrary, the majority of fruits and vegetables are alkaline forming foods. Cooked foods are much more acidic than raw foods; the reason being that live foods have enzymes that detox our bodies and help it to absorb nutrients while “dead foods” are lacking those enzymes.
The magic combination to getting a balanced and healthy mood is formed by whole foods, veggies, and fruits that foster the production of serotonin, which is a chemical that balances our mood.
To put the science into practice, here are 7 foods to help you reach an optimal mood:
1. Coconut (water, meat or oil): a great mood-boosting food. It has triglycerides that are used in our organisms in the form of ready to use brain petrol. It is proven that coconut scent helps to reduce stress and lowers blood pressure. Try to drink coconut water after an intense activity to recover energy, or enrich your breakfast with coconut shreds and feel the positive energy.
2. Avocado: a fruit that provides healthy fats and is also rich in nutrients that are needed for serotonin to develop and reach stable levels in the brain. Guacamole or avocado toast with whole bread would be a great snack to raise your mood.
3. Broccoli: this green leafy vegetable has as much protein as meats, and like other vegetables of its kind, is a great source of alkaline minerals and fibers. In addition to this, it also has anti-stress properties. A tasteful broccoli pesto can be a great idea to enjoy this green veggie.
4. Chick peas: apart from being a good source of serotonin, this pulse is a great source of protein, potassium, and iron, and is fully packed with antioxidants and folates (3 times more than kale). You can combine it in a colourful salad or you can even taste the sweet version of it by making some easy raw chick energy balls.
5. Spirulina: this blue-green algae has “the world's highest source of protein (65%)”. It also contains tryptophan, an amino necessary for the production of serotonin. This seaweed has plenty of minerals, trace elements, phytonutrients and enzymes. You can add it in your herbal tea, juice or smoothie.
6. Raw chocolate: Cacao is the number one source of antioxidants, and it has magnesium, iron, manganese and chromium. Raw chocolate enhances both mood and energy. If you love chocolate, the best option for a guilt-free bite is to eat dark chocolate with a mínimum of 70% of cacao.
7. Walnuts: considered the King of nuts, this food is indeed a health booster. They contain an amino called I-arginine which offers health benefits to your heart. Moreover, they have vitamin E, omega-3 fats, and antioxidants, which makes them ideal for not just feeding the brain, but controlling diabetes and combating weight gain.
A nutritive and happy meal equates to a happy and stable mood, so feed yourself wisely and you will benefit from vibrant health and overall general wellness.
Rian De La Torre is a Holistic Heath coach and writer. She contributes to Om because I feel happy to become part of the holistic black sisterhood. For now, she spends half of the year in Uruguay in the countryside and the other half in Formentera (Spain) which is the last paradise of the mediterranean sea. Rian's go-to self-love practice consist of eating healthy (vegetarian) and hiking, yoga and journaling.