Good Mood Food to Reduce COVID-19 Stress

In these times of uncertainty, there’s still one thing you can control: your diet.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a new normal – and it’s a bit more anxiety-ridden than we’d like to admit. Often breaking daily routines and dealing with ongoing, stressful environments is the first reason people betray their healthy eating habits and begin to “stress eat” or “turn to comfort foods.”

So, how do we combat the stress that comes with the current isolated, quarantine existence? Your health and wellbeing are on the line since uncertainty actually disrupts your immune system and makes you more susceptible to the angst that can spur low moods and health conditions.

What’s changed? Beyond just your daily routine, your typical meal planning and ingredients are subject to what’s available on the shelves of your neighborhood grocery store as they struggle to handle the supply and demand of their products. Uncertainty extends to the supply chains that previously had their rhythm down to a science. Now, shoppers are grabbing less nutritious options off the shelf like processed foods, sugary treats or simple carbohydrates because it’s readily available and because it gives the illusion of providing a short respite from the anxiety – though it may actually be amplifying it.

We previously discussed healthy food habits during quarantine that ensure you set yourself up for success. From meal planning to all-natural ingredients to portion size, a proper diet is more than just what you put in your mouth. It’s the behaviors, routines and education you allow into your life at these pivotal times.

By managing your environment, you decide what wholesome foods end up on your shelf and how your meal mindset will shift. And when you choose good mood food, you invite the health benefits that come along with those tasty ingredients.

There are plenty of important nutrients that release neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine to provide a boost to your mood and immune system. Check out the following list that will help shake loose the grip of anxiety that so many are feeling these days.

  • Antioxidants – Anti-anxiety starts with antioxidants. Foods like beans, fruits, berries, nuts and vegetables help eliminate symptoms of anxiety disorders and increase better mental health.
  • Vitamin C – Grab those oranges off the shelf. Citrus fruits play a big role in boosting your immune system by lowering your levels of cortisol, a no-good, stress hormone that can increase your blood pressure when you’re anxious.
  • Whole Grains – Be sure to keep complex carbohydrates in your diet during stressful times. They, along with fruits and vegetables, are great producers of serotonin which will keep your blood pressure stable.
  • Zinc –A key ingredient in healing, whether it’s for cold medicines. to help heal wounds faster or to support a stronger immune system, zinc is found in a variety of foods including eggs, beef, oysters, clams, cashews and more.
  • Magnesium – Be sure to combat that creeping tired feeling or that nasty headache by making sure you’re getting the appropriate amount of magnesium. Add spinach, leafy greens or soybeans to your diet. Plus, your sleep cycle will thank you.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Salmon, tuna, nuts and seeds all have essential omega-3 fatty acids that keep your stress hormones in check and do the lion’s share in fighting heart conditions, depression and even premenstrual syndromes.
  • Probiotics – Gut health is all about balancing the bacteria in your digestive system. In quarantine, and with toilet paper demand skyrocketing, this is a critical time to eat probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, pickles, miso and more.
  • Botanical Extracts – Don’t forget to add teatime to your routine. We’ve discussed how the rise in organic ingredients has helped botanical ingredients lead the charge in delivering health benefits via good mood food.

At Nikken Foods, our research has shown that natural spices can have a positive effect on your mood and play a big role in releasing the right neurotransmitters to your system. Here are three ingredients to spice up your dish and transform your mood:

White Miso Powder – 6107: This ingredient made of fermented soybeans, rice and salt delivers a delicate flavor that packs a powerful punch.

Worcestershire Sauce Powder – 4203: With a careful blend of vegetables, fruits, garlic and onions, this ingredient is the perfect complement for soups or sauces.

Oyster Extract Powder – 1805: Add the perfect oyster flavor to your dressings, gravies, dips or seasonings.