These Nutrient-Packed Ingredients Help You Chill

*this is a collaborative post*

Scientists like to think that they have a handle on what makes us feel “chill.” Experts recommend that we take yoga classes, meditate every day, find fulfilling work, avoid bad relationships, and spend plenty of time pursuing activities in the great outdoors. Unfortunately, fitting all of that into a typical young person’s life isn’t usually practical. Most of us just don’t have the time to cram all that wellness stuff into our routines. 

The good news, though, is that researchers are increasingly coming to the conclusion that the foods that we put in our bodies can have a profound effect on how we feel. Our brains aren’t purely psychological machines that exist separately from the rest of our bodies. What we eat literally affects our conscious experience, or so it seems. 

The main problem in the brain is inflammation. When we eat certain inflammatory foods, it triggers the release of cytokines - chemical messengers that tell our cells that they are under threat from unwanted compounds. These signals provoke the immune system, which then starts raging around our bodies, leading to all kinds of adverse effects, such as low mood. 

Fortunately, other foods have the opposite effect, damping down the immune response and helping you feel great. Let’s take a look at these in turn. 

Foods High In Fibre


In the past, nutrition researchers thought that fibre was just “roughage” that helped your bowels function and prevented constipation. It was nice to have it in your diet, but if you didn’t, it was no big deal. 

Now, though, we know a lot more about it. It turns out that foods high in fibre feed bacteria in our guts which then produce chemicals that make us feel good. Nobody said that science had to be simple!

The foods highest in fibre are beans, lentils and greens. Grains and fruit also contain important fibres that feed your gut bacteria, especially when you eat these foods in the whole form. 

Dark Chocolate


Chocolate might be one of the most potent anti-anxiety ingredients anywhere in nature. Damn straight, is it! Who doesn’t want scientists telling them to use more chocolate in their recipes? 

Just be warned, these findings relate to dark chocolate - that is, chocolate that doesn’t contain dairy and also has less sugar. But that doesn’t matter: once you get used to the slightly bitter taste of the stuff, you’ll love it. 

Herbs And Spices

We all know someone who has discovered an e liquid clearance sale online and used it as an opportunity to replenish their stash. What’s interesting, though about many of these vapes is that they come in spicy flavours. This choice by the manufacturer isn’t an accident: it turns out that specific smells and fragrances can make us feel way more relaxed. Lavender and basil are both great examples. 

What’s more, you can include these super-relaxing herbs and spices in your food, too. Top of your list should be the likes of rosemary and turmeric because of their potent anti-inflammatory action. If possible, also include the middle-eastern spice cumin. It has all of the pain-killing and mood-enhancing effects of aspirin but without the nasty side effects. 

Beans, Nuts, Seeds, And Other Foods High In Magnesium

Ancient human populations ate a large amount of beans, nuts, seeds, seaweed and other foods high in magnesium. Today, though, we’ve largely stripped this vital nutrient out of the foods that we eat, thanks to refining and processing. 

It turns out that magnesium is critical for body health. If you don’t get enough of it, you can wind up feeling irritable and cranky - even stiff. 

The best sources, as ever, are healthy plant foods in their whole form, like beans, nuts and seeds. You can also find some magnesium in avocados. 

Greens


The medical establishment has been telling us to eat more greens for decades. Unfortunately, the majority of people don’t much like the taste. That’s a shame. Greens, it turns out, not only protect your heart but can also improve your mood too. 

People who eat greens tend to have better regulation of the chemicals in their brains that make them feel happy: serotonin and dopamine. If you don’t like eating greens, then find ways to hide them in your food. 

Cauliflower mashed potatoes, for instance, hides the taste of cauliflower. Chopping up cabbage and stirring it into bolognese, makes it practically invisible and tasteless. You can also try blending greens into sauces (though this might make them a funny colour!) 



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