Though you can probably guess our favorite way to get our daily endorphin boost, there are certain foods that can improve your mood in between workouts thanks to their happiness-inducing properties which trigger the release of mood-enhancing chemicals in your brain.
Here are our top five picks and the reasons why you should consider adding them to your diet.
Spicy foods release endorphins, especially those containing capsaicin, like hot peppers. The reason behind the endorphin-inducing properties of hot peppers is actually the heat that they produce.
When your body senses the heat, your endorphins kick in to help protect you from the pain. So even if you’re a fan of the hot stuff, your body will respond as it does whenever you feel discomfort. That means that (as long as you can stand the heat) the spicier the pepper, the more endorphins you’ll release when eating them.
As if you needed another reason to eat chocolate, here it is. Chocolate contains a compound that gives you that coveted endorphin rush — phenethylamine, which is also known as the love drug for that state of bliss it supposedly induces.
It also contains theobromine which may help suppress pain. For the biggest endorphin boost, opt for dark chocolate, which is also chock-full of minerals like potassium and copper. So go on and enjoy (in moderation)!
We’re nuts about nuts (peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, you name it!) because of their on-the-trail portable appeal and nutritional value. Though if we’re strictly considering mood-boosting properties, brazil nuts top the list thanks to their high selenium content, as well as an amino acid called tyrosine.
Both boost dopamine and serotonin levels in your brain which help improve your focus and motivation, which in turn enable you to stay on track with your fitness goals. As an added bonus, the selenium in brazil nuts can help your body ward off infections. You only need to eat about two or three brazil nuts to get your daily recommended amount of selenium, so get snacking!
Vitamin C is an essential part of any diet, though it is especially helpful if you want to boost your endorphins. You can find it in plenty of foods, including citrus fruits such as lemons, which are known to contain high amounts. Not only does vitamin C help raise immunity, but it helps you absorb iron better, which is useful if you have an iron deficiency.
If you’re not a fan of eating citrus fruits, try sniffing them instead. The scent of lemon is considered to be highly stimulating and is known to help improve people’s moods. Some other scents known to enhance mood and stimulate endorphin release are lavender and vanilla — try combining them with lemon for an added boost!
Ginseng has been shown to raise endorphin levels in multiple studies and is also considered by some athletes as a great supplement to increase endurance, since it may help your muscles use energy more efficiently. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and is credited for alleviating fatigue.
There are tons of ways to add this root into your diet, so get creative with smoothies, teas, soups and more. Just remember that you should always consume in moderation and if you take certain medications, have heart conditions or conditions affecting your blood, please consult your doctor before adding ginseng to your diet.
Free your endorphins!
The Endomondo Team