10 Foods That Are Better Than Therapy (Slideshow)

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These endorphin boosting foods will make you feel great
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Who can ever resist chocolate? It’s just one of those treats we can never really get enough of, but Deborah Enos says that “consuming chocolate will help your body to release endorphins. This is one of the reasons that people associate chocolate as a comfort food.” Laura Cipullo says that the sweet indulgence “also contains caffeine which gives us a boost of energy and likely affects our mood.” But, she adds “remember too much chocolate or too much of any food can also make us feel “hung over” or lethargic.”

Chocolate

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Who can ever resist chocolate? It’s just one of those treats we can never really get enough of, but Deborah Enos says that “consuming chocolate will help your body to release endorphins. This is one of the reasons that people associate chocolate as a comfort food.” Laura Cipullo says that the sweet indulgence “also contains caffeine which gives us a boost of energy and likely affects our mood.” But, she adds “remember too much chocolate or too much of any food can also make us feel “hung over” or lethargic.”

Spicy food

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Believe it or not, that spicy taste of your salsa, wasabi, or other spicy foods, is not a taste but actually a feeling of pain. Great, so that sriracha is actually causing us pain? But that pain is offset by our body’s natural reaction, which is to release endorphins, the messengers of well-being. Maybe it’s those good feelings that attract so many people to the fire brought on by spicy foods.

Nuts

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Though high in calories, nuts are not only a source of good old unsaturated fat, they are rich in proteins, B vitamins, and selenium. Protein helps to keep us full, but it is that selenium that has positive mood-influencing properties. Brazil nuts apparently have the most selenium, so of all the nuts they might be the happiest. 

Pasta

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A bowl of pasta can really do the body good. Laura Cipullo considers it one of those endorphin-inducing foods that we love to love.

“Pasta is a well-known carbohydrate,” she says. “Carbohydrates are often thought of as comfort foods because they make us feel good. Carbs actually help to increase the availability of the neurotransmitter known as serotonin. Having low levels of serotonin are associated with depression.”

So why not have another helping of that baked ziti?

Bananas

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Already wrapped and ready to go, bananas are perhaps one of nature’s most perfect snacks. They are rich in potassium, which is an essential mineral for nerve function. Their natural sugars release quickly into the bloodstream, increasing energy, while their starchy carbs sustain that great mood. 

Grapes

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It’s impossible to eat just one grape, but when they are full of endorphin-producing vitamin C, there’s no reason to stop there. That vitamin C and the fruit’s natural sugars give you energy make grapes an addictive, feel-good snack. On top of that, the darker skin varieties are full of antioxidants. 

Ice Cream

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More than just a yummy frozen treat, ice cream might the most delicious endorphin-inducing food there is. As Laura Cipullo points out, “Ice cream is high in sugar and fat. It is deliciously palatable. High carb/high fat dishes can signal our brain to release the neurotransmitter dopamine, which aids in our ability to experience pleasure.” The science to why ice cream makes us feel so great it’s just the cherry on top. 

Strawberries

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These sweet fruits taste good but strawberries also are jammed packed with vitamin C, which helps in the production of endorphins. Like bananas, strawberries’ potassium aids in the generation of nerve impulses, while the red color caused by a flavonoid can lift our mood. Flavonoids are also powerful antioxidants, assisting in the removal of harmful toxins from the body. So packing a few more juicy strawberries for your next picnic might not be a bad idea.

Meats and Soy

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Digging into meat or soy products, foods rich in the amino acid tryptophan can also elevate your mood. That’s right, that delectable steak or tasty edamame can contribute to the production of serotonin in the brain. Eating meats and soy will most definitely make you feel good while filling your belly. 

Fish

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Fish can be dressed up or dressed down, but it can also turn that frown upside down. Eating fish can actually help you feel better as Laura Cipullo explains, “Omega-3 fatty acids are associated with increased mood for those who are already feeling depressed. She recommends that we go fishing and get the local catch of the day!