It’s a no-brainer that a big win can lift your spirits, whereas a season-ending playoff loss is a major downer. You’re probably familiar with the mood-enhancing chemicals called endorphins, which the brain produces after uplifting victories and physical activity. However, did you also know that certain food choices can energize you and enhance your happiness even after frustrating defeats?
I’m not talking about those popular “comfort foods” like sugary sweets, chips and fries. Those can actually make you mentally and physically uncomfortable. (See Calories Burned by Exercise vs. Guilty-Pleasure Foods.) To get back on your feet, try the following optimally nutritious choices. Not only will they help beat those post-game blues, they will also get you performance-ready for your next big game.
Go Fishing and Nuts for Omega-3’s
Seafood, nuts (particularly walnuts) and seeds contain mood-elevating omega-3 fatty acids, natural anti-depressants. Just two or three weekly servings of fish and a handful of nuts or seeds each day can help you to stay upbeat while enhancing recovery.
Taste the Rainbow
Leafy greens like romaine lettuce, spinach and kale along with brightly colored vegetables and fruits contain carotenoids, antioxidants that minimize depression (more than skittles!). (Stay safe with these tips on How to Prevent Food Poisoning From Leafy Greens and Other Contaminated Foods.)
As I mentioned, weight training and other types of exercise naturally lift your spirits, but when you combine physical activity with iron-rich foods like beef, beans and raisins, you’ll help your brain produce natural anti-depressant chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. It’s an unbeatable combo for defeating those post-game blahs.