Smoothies are the go-to drink for early risers on a time crunch, people looking to lose weight, those looking to detox, others who like them post-workout, and health fanatics of all sorts. But did you know that drinking the right smoothie may also help with boosting your mood?
Smoothies for depression are made using ingredients that can help rebalance brain chemicals with the right nutrition. For instance, foods such as complex carbs help fuel the brain while proteins can make you more mentally alert. Or, certain foods can help boost dopamine levels, the feel-good brain chemical that affects the reward and pleasure centers in the brain.
Even foods with specific vitamins and minerals such as zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6 can all help improve mood so throwing these into your smoothie can help you feel better too. And the best thing is that you don’t need to shop for any specific ingredients to get these mood-boosting benefits. A lot of everyday foods, many of which you may already have at home, can be the ingredients for the best smoothies for depression.
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How To Make A Healthy Smoothie
You can put almost anything in a smoothie, but the ingredients will vary if you have a specific goal to meet. Most will start off with some form of liquid such as water, milk, or yogurt along with fruits and vegetables, some seeds or supplements such as protein powder, and perhaps a topping such as coconut or granola. But the key to making a healthy smoothie is to strike the right balance of fruits, vegetables, protein, and fats.
And when you get the balance right, your smoothie can easily replace your breakfast or build the foundation of a healthy snack.
Some easy ways to maximize the nutrient content of your smoothie is to keep the following in mind:
- Proteins are easy to include from foods such as nut butter, hemp, chia or flax seeds, and plain yogurt or nut milk.
- Fats that will help fill you up can be incorporated by using flax oil, sesame, chia or hemp seeds, coconut meat or yogurt, and full-fat yogurt.
- Complex carbs for fueling the body and brain can be sourced from oatmeal, peanut butter, hummus, berries, and a host of fruits and vegetables.
To tailor your smoothie to boost your mood, keep foods like almonds, bananas, berries, watermelon, and greens in mind. Now, drinking green smoothies is also an excellent way to boost mood but may not be for everyone.
If anything, trying to go hard-core green may only put you off of smoothies totally. So, instead, start off with more fruit and fewer greens and ease your way into more greens with less fruit gradually. And if you have a sturdy blender on hand, it will make the whole process of smoothie making so much easier. A powerful blender will help you deal with tough smoothie ingredients and give you a chunk-free drink. It will also be the right tool to crush ice for your frozen drinks.
Best Smoothies for Depression
Here are a few ideas on how to blend up some mood-boosting smoothies
- 1 cup frozen blackberries
- 300 ml almond milk
- 3 tbsp Greek yogurt
Place all ingredients in blending jar and blend it till smooth.
Blackberries are excellent sources of vitamins that boost brain health because of their high antioxidant content.
- ½ cup oats
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 1 cup skim milk
- 1 tsp honey
- Crushed ice
Place all ingredients except ice in the blender and mix till smooth. Add ice, blend and serve.
This granddaddy of complex carbs, namely oats, will help energize the brain while tyrosine from the protein powder will awaken your focus. And the great taste of this smoothie will perk up your mood as well.
- ¼ cup cashews
- 2 dates- pitted
- 1 ¼ cups water
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
Blend together cashews, dates, and water first. Add banana, chia seeds, and ice and blend again. Serve. If you have a blender with a smoothie preset, you can blend everything together as well.
Bananas will give you a happy dose of dopamine and provide magnesium, zinc, and B6 to improve mood.
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Smoothie
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 ¼ cups milk
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 tbsp cocoa
- 1 frozen banana
Blend well until smooth.
Another dopamine-boosting smoothie, this one gets its kick from chocolate that releases this feel-good neurotransmitter.
Pineapple Spinach Smoothie
- 1 cup milk
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- ½ cup frozen pineapple
- ½ cup coconut water
- Handful of baby spinach
Place all ingredients in the blender and blend till smooth.
A dynamic combination of vitamins B and C will uplift the mood and reduce stress.
Healthy Green Smoothies for Depression
As you ease your way into more greens and less fruit, drinking these green concoctions will become easier. But do remember to change up your greens to prevent alkaloid buildup from the same plants. Rotating will also be helpful in getting a variety of nutrients into your diet.
Tropical Spinach Smoothie
- 2 cups spinach
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup mango
- 1 cup pineapple
- 1 banana
Blend spinach and water until all chunks are gone. Add in remaining fruit and blend till smooth.
This tropical-tasting smoothie gives you the perfect veggie-to-fruit ratio and comes fully loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and high-quality amino acids.
Triple Green Smoothie
- 1 cup kale
- 1 cup spinach
- ½ cup honeydew- cubed
- 1 tbsp. Greek yogurt
- 100ml coconut water
- Ice cubes
Place all ingredients in the blender and blend till smooth. Add a raspberry on top for a pop of color.
Greens like kale and spinach are chock full of magnesium that can impact serotonin levels to help boost your mood.
Tips for Smoothie Making
- A simple formula for making green smoothies is to use 1 cup of leafy greens, 1 cup of liquid base, and 1 cup of fruit. Boost your blend with a topping of seeds, almond butter, or acai powder.
- For blenders that don’t come with a smoothie preset, or others that don’t have the most powerful motor, it’s best to blend in stages. Start off with your greens and liquid base and then follow up with the remaining fruits and toppings. This way you’ll get a smoother blend with no leafy chunks.