6 Plant-Based Foods to Beat the Blues

Feeling sad, crummy, upset, depressed, blue, dejected, heartbroken, down, or distressed? It happens to the best of us but don’t wallow for too long– seek comfort from food! Many people already turn to food as a crutch for negative emotions yet unfortunately the usual go-to ‘s are  sugary, full of carbohydrates, calorie laden, and nutrient-poor. These foods may make you happy for a moment or two but in the long run they make your body unhappy from lack of nutritious benefits. Because of this, turning to food for consolation is getting a bad rep. But, what you eat plays a huge impact on mood, both good and bad, so choose wisely and you can be back in high spirits in no time.

Feelings of depression are related to imbalances in three certain neurotransmitters: serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Concentrations of these neurotransmitters either too high or too low mess with your body chemistry and can have you feeling down in the dumps. To maintain proper levels, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals are utilized. First is tyrosine. This amino acid is used to synthesize proteins while additionally helping to control concentrations of dopamine and norepinephrine. Another amino acid, phenylalanine, can make tyrosine so it’s important too! The last amino acid related to happiness is tryptophan. Tryptophan serves as a precursor for serotonin and plays a role in the production of nervous system messengers. It is associated with relaxation, restfulness, and sleep. Next up are the vitamins. The B Vitamins are basically the keys to happiness. B12, B2 (riboflavin),  B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folate) are the ones to keep in mind. Also a little vitamin D can go along way to keep you happy.  As far as minerals are concerned, it’s all about zinc and magnesium . Zinc supports optimal sense of smell and taste so you’re best able to stop and smell the roses. Meanwhile, magnesium is another compound that influences the production of serotonin. Besides these amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, ever hear of the expression, “fat and happy?” Omega-3 fatty acids help you stay upbeat and positive. These guys have many roles including proper nerve and brain function to keep the body nice and peppy.


So, turn that frown upside down by clicking NEXT and learning about the best 6 plant-based foods to keep you smiling :)

1. Bananas


Image Source: The World’s Healthiest Single Serving Banana Bread 

Bananas are a great source of tyrosine and Vitamin B6, one of the crucial B Vitamins for maintaining high spirits. In fact, bananas contain 22% of you Daily Value of B6! Eat either alone as a snack, top off oatmeal, blend into a creamy smoothie, or try out this delicious banana bread!


2. Spinach 


Image Source: Spinach Quesadillas with Strawberry-Spring Onion Salsa

Spinach is one of the powerhouse greens. It’s super nutrient-dense and can pretty much solve all your problems. It’s full of B6, folate, zinc, tyrosine, AND riboflavin so make like Popeye and eat up. Check out this sweet twist on the traditional quesadilla!

3. Mushrooms



Image Source: Shiitake Bacon

People don’t joke around with “fun-gi” for nothing. Fungi can keep you fun by contributing to a happy mood. Mushrooms do this by providing you with vitamin D, zinc, and vitamin B2 aka riboflavin. Levels of these vitamins and minerals are especially prominent in shiitake mushrooms. If you’ve never had shiitake mushrooms, they are a great addition to tofu veggie stir-fry, udon noodle soup, or other Asian recipes. But, be daring and try out this tasty recipe for shiitake BACON.

4. Asparagus

Skillet Asparagus Tomato Medley

Image Source: Skillet Asparagus & Tomato Medley

If you’re looking for a quick fix to happiness and want the most bang for your buck, go with asparagus. It is not only a good source of tryptophan and zinc, but also contains three out of the four B vitamins to keep you smiling (B12 is a little tricky but that’s coming up next).

5. Nutritional Yeast


uncheese sauce cheesy non cheese sauce

Image Source: Quick & Cheesey Uncheese Sauce

B12 is a must for vegans so always be cognizant of your intake. A supplement might be a good idea but in the meantime, who doesn’t love nutritional yeast? You can pretty much sprinkle those golden flakes on anything and it doesn’t get much better than converting them to sauce form. Try this delicious recipe over steamed veggies or pasta!

6. Soy

soy tacos

Image Source: Mini BBQ Soy Curl Taco Bowls with Pickled Onions

Soy is another one that can perk you right up. It comes with a nutritional punch of 122% of your Daily Value of tryptophan, 29% of riboflavin, and 43% of omega-3 fatty acids. Soy also contains the other happy-go-lucky amino acids, tyrosine and phenylalanine. Soy curls are fun to play around with in the kitchen but if tofu is more of your style, check out all the tempting recipes One Green Planet has to offer!

So, with this list, don’t worry be happy Green Monsters!

Lead Image Source: rawlands/flickr