You know that exercising on home gym equipment on a regular basis not only helps improve your endurance and tone your muscles (which is great for a self-confidence boost!),Â it also causes the body to releaseÂ endorphins – feel-good hormones – so that you experience a better mood more often.
You might notice a difference in the way you feelÂ emotionally on days that you run on your fitness treadmillÂ compared to the days you don’t. Not spending an hour or so exerting that physical energy may leave you feeling a little lackluster, and unfortunately, when you’re feeling bummed or stressed, you may turn to sweets or unhealthy foods as a source of comfort. This can create a negative cycle,Â so it’s important to find other methods of dealing with negative emotions.
Along with regularly scheduled workout sessions throughout the week, it’s important to eat well for your total health and well-being. Luckily, there are some snacks and foods out there that are not only good for you but can also help improve your mood. This means Â even if it’s a rest day, you can reach for these options to stay on track, feel better and continueÂ working toward your goals.
Here are some delicious foods to include in your meal plan that may also improve your mood:
Fruits: You might know that fruits that areÂ a good source of vitamin C not only helpÂ boost your immune system,Â they can help with your mood as well. According to Women’s Health magazine, Antioxidants haveÂ been show to reduce depressive symptoms by stopping the buildup of free radicals in your body and helping you recover quicker from stress. Snacking on oranges, strawberries and mangoes is a great way to eat well and feel better. Mix them in with Greek yogurt for a delicious post-dinner parfait.
Celery: This crunchy snack item is great when paired with peanut butter, but it is also a source of the chemical 3-n-butylphthalide, which has been shown to reduce the amount of stress hormones in the blood, allowing your body to destress. If peanut butter isn’t your favorite, you can jazz up celery sticks by dipping them in hummus (a good source of protein!) to stave off hunger pangs until dinner.
Nuts and seeds: Snack options such as walnuts and pumpkin seeds are an excellent mid-morning nosh because they are a source of omega-3s, which can boost your mood while curbing mid-morning appetite.
Fish: Another (better-known) source of omega-3s is oily fish such as sardines, tuna, salmon, mackerel and trout. Eating Well said that omega-3 fatty acids change brain chemicals that are associated with mood such as serotonin and dopamine, whichÂ helps people feel better emotionally.
Chocolate: Good news! Dark chocolate has been shown to reduce stress hormones, such as cortisol, and scientists believe this is because of the antioxidants. Eating Well noted that you should limit your chocolate intake to about 1.4 ounces, but eating a piece every day can help you feel better.
Lean meat: Turkey and chicken provide you with selenium, which is an antioxidant that helps reduce oxidative stress in the brain, and research has shown that including sources of selenium in your daily diet can improve depression scores.
In addition to your workout sessions on the stationary bike, try these tasty and healthy snack and meal options to ensure that your mood stays positive and happy throughout the day, which is sure to make you more productive and efficient in all aspects of your life.