Before you stop eating carbs to shed weight quickly, and leave out certain important carbs that boost your mood, hear me out first! Leaving out healthy carbs can leave you depressed and irritable around the clock, and is completely unnecessary for healthy weight loss. While I have experienced first hand that cutting carbs does lead to a huge weight loss, what I wasn’t prepared for was the depression it would bring. In order to get a healthy balance between weight loss or maintenance and a happy mood, be sure to stick to certain carbs that boost your mood and don’t ditch them from your diet. Instead, get rid of the really nasty carbs like all refined grains, refined and added sugars, anything processed, fast food, and anything made with ingredients you can’t pronounce. Sodas, candy, and chips also need to be included in this. They lead to diabetes, weight gain, and even depression. However, there are certain carbs that you should keep in your diet, which can help prevent depression, and even help with weight loss over time. Enjoy these and ignore the hype that carbs are the devil. After all, we don’t want you thin and moody- that’s no fun for anybody!
Pumpkin is one of the best carbs that boost your mood of all, and a personal favorite of mine. For starters, this healthy winter squash is rich in phytonutrients that combat inflammation. Inflammation causes depression, fatigue, joint pain and other issues in the body. Pumpkin is also rich in beta-carotene, a form of Vitamin A that acts as a powerful antioxidant, and brain-booster. Pumpkin’s carbohydrate content is made largely of fiber, and some natural sugars, yet it is very low in carbs overall. Pumpkin is also low in calories and is low glycemic. It encourages healthy bowel movements, is rich in potassium to beat bloating, and increases tryptophan in the body, which is a precursor to serotonin, the happy hormone. I love adding pumpkin to muffins, smoothies, any type of soup, or mixing some it in some Greek yogurt. It’s an easy way to get vitamins, minerals, and energizing carbs in one fiber-packed snack.
Quinoa is such a fantastic carb to eat to boost your mood, energy, weight loss and your workouts. Quinoa is one of the most unique carbs of all because it is actually a seed, not a grain. It is packed with protein, B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, zinc and iron. All of these nutrients are essential to healthy amino acid production, boosting serotonin in the body, preventing depression, fatigue and anemia. Quinoa’s fiber content, along with the mineral content of phosphorous and magnesium also help to encourage a healthy digestive system. Quinoa is gluten-free, and incredibly healthy for you, so quit fearing this healthy carb and eat up!
Carrots are my favorite snack of all veggies out there. I call them “nature’s candy”, because they really knock out a sweet tooth fast, while still providing the body with plenty of healthy carbs, in the form of glucose and fiber, to give you energy, boost your mood, and steady your glycemic index. Try eating a cup of carrots and see if you’re not satisfied next time you want a treat for something sweet. All that fiber fills you up, and the vitamins A and C found in carrots will boost your brain health as well. Carrots are anti-inflammatory and lower in sugars than fruits, making them a better choice for weight loss.
Yes, nut are high in fat, and they contain carbs. Many people fear them for this reason, but I wish somehow, we could get rid of the fat phobia in this country. We need to eat healthy fats instead of refined foods and diet foods. Nuts are nature's most powerful source of healthy fats, protein, fiber and brain-boosting nutrients, if you ask me. Nuts also contain complex carbohydrates, mostly in the form of fiber. This regulates the gut, provides us with energy, stems the appetite and prevents sweet cravings. Best of all, the fats in nuts also prevent depression. The best nuts to boost your mood are almonds, which are rich in protein, walnuts, which are high in omega 3 fats, and cashews, which are rich in Vitamin B6 and iron. Cashews, almonds and walnuts are also a great source of magnesium. Magnesium promotes good nervous system health, which prevents depression, aids in energy production, and can help encourage healthy bowel movements. Magnesium also combats anxiety and depression as well. Just a quarter cup a day of nuts is all you need for energy, weight loss and a natural weapon against depression.
If you don’t tolerate nuts, have no fear! Seeds are the most amazing and tiniest little gems on the planet, if you ask me! Seeds like flax, chia, quinoa, hemp, sunflower and pumpkin seeds are all rich in healthy fats, fiber-rich carbohydrates, and contain minerals, protein and phytonutrients. They do contain carbs, but are mostly all in the of fiber, which is excellent for you, your gut, and your blood sugar. Flax, chia and hemp are all rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which is very important to boosting brain health, preventing inflammation, preventing and treating depression, and fighting abdominal fat. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are both rich in iron, magnesium, and protein, which combat depression and low energy. Eat a variety of nuts and seeds each day, and put an emphasis on getting in at least 3 tbsp. of healthy seeds a day. You can do this my favorite ways, which are through a smoothie, and through my favorite healthy energy bites made of nuts, seeds and coconut!
6. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are just so tasty! Yes, they are a potato, which most people avoid when they’re trying to lose weight, but take note of something. Sweet potatoes are actually one of the BEST carbohydrates you can eat for weight loss. They are technically a member of the winter squash family, and rich in fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, tryptophan, water, Vitamins A, C, and E, and iron. Sweet potatoes help to lower your glycemic index, promote healthy blood sugar balance, and prevent depression. Eat just one half to one whole sweet potato a day, and you’ll see a reduced waist line and be happier in the meantime!
7. Dark Chocolate
Finally, I saved the best for last! Dark chocolate is one of my favorite healthy sources of carbs to eat. Dark chocolate contains mostly fiber within its carbohydrate content, and if you buy the plain dark kind, (not the sweetened varieties), it is also sugar-free. You can also buy raw cacao, or raw chocolate, which I enjoy on a daily basis. Cacao automatically has no sugar and is the best form of chocolate to eat. All unsweetened dark chocolate is a wonderful source of carbs, along with over 200 different natural components that act as opiates to the brain, boost the mood, prevent depression and can aid in energy production. Most people also don’t know that chocolate is also one of the best sources of iron of all foods, along with magnesium. Enjoy one-two ounces a day completely guilt-free!
You should also be sure to eat plenty of greens, fiber-rich vegetables, and never count the carbohydrates in those foods. If you tolerate grains, oats are also a wonderful source of carbohydrates to eat to boost your mood and brain health. Most people notice if they avoid gluten, they enjoy more brain-boosting benefits and weight-loss benefits, but do what works for you. What carbs do you like to keep in your diet for a healthy mood?