‘I’m a Dietitian, and These Are the 5 Mood-Boosting Drinks I Sip Daily To Help Keep Anxiety at Bay’
Indeed, according to a National Institutes of Health study published in the journal eBioMedicine, adults that stay well-hydrated appear to be healthier, develop fewer chronic conditions (such as heart and lung disease), and live longer than those who get insufficient fluids. But aside from healthy aging, a satisfying beverage might also be responsible for boosting your mood, especially when you’re feeling a bit blah.
We recently caught up with Jen Scheinman, RD, a registered dietitian and senior manager of nutrition affairs at Timeline Nutrition, who shared the five top drinks she sips on for a quick mood boost (and supreme hydration). A breakdown of what’s ahead: There are two types of teas, one ultra-calming drink, and two gut-healthy options in this roundup. And while there’s something for every kind of palate to enjoy, there is only a clear winner Scheinman deems the number one mood-boosting drink.
5 mood-boosting drinks an RD sips throughout the day
Highly popular among those in the medical field, matcha has many benefits ranging from boosting gut health to assisting with restful sleep. And according to Scheinman, it can be a powerful mood booster, too.
“Matcha has less caffeine than coffee—just enough to give you a boost of energy but not enough to give you the jitters. Plus it has a compound called L-theanine, which can help improve focus and ease stress," Scheinman says. Studies show that consuming tea with caffeine and L-theanine together—like green, oolong, and black—can significantly improve attention, cognitive function, and potentially reduce the effects of burnout and stress.
2. CBD and Hemp-Based Beverages
Dealing with stress or anxiety? Scheinman recommends CBD and hemp-based beverages, which may assist with promoting relaxation and improving mood. “CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is derived from the hemp plant, and studies have shown it can help create a sense of calm and lower anxiety,” she says. If you’re trying hemp-based products for the first time, Scheinman recommends starting low and slow with products like Recess, which only has about 10 milligrams of hemp-derived CBD per can.
According to Scheinman, the gut and your mood are more closely intertwined than you might think. “Most people don’t realize that gut health plays a huge role in mood. The majority of the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin is produced in the gut. And the gut and the brain are connected through a ‘highway’ called the vagus nerve that transmits information back and forth,” she says.
“Most people don’t realize that gut health plays a huge role in mood. The majority of the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin is produced in the gut. And the gut and the brain are connected through a ‘highway’ called the vagus nerve that transmits information back and forth."—Jen Scheinman, RD
To that end, Scheinman likes to sip on kefir, a fermented milk drink, to feed the gut what it needs to produce serotonin. “Probiotics are crucial for keeping the gut and the brain happy and fermented beverages are a great way to get them into your diet,” she says.
What’s more, the registered dietitian says kefir outperforms yogurt when it comes to its probiotic potential—which may translate to a happier and healthier gut. “Interestingly, a small study showed that people who drank kefir daily for three days a week reported better mood than those who drank a control of a non-fermented dairy product,” Scheinman says.
Scheinman also relies on kombucha—another fermented drink option that's packed with mood-boosting and gut-friendly probiotics. However, she recommends reading the nutrition label and being mindful of the high sugar content in some kombucha products. Studies show that consuming sugar in excess is often linked to poor health outcomes, such as increased inflammation, poor gut health, and the risk of other chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cognitive decline.
5. Holy Basil Tea
Now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Scheinman’s number one mood-boosting drink. Drumroll, please. It’s holy basil tea, otherwise known as tulsi. “Holy basil is revered in India and has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. It’s an adaptogen meaning it helps the body to better respond to stress, and studies have shown that it can help to lessen symptoms of anxiety and depression,” Scheinman says. “This is something I regularly sip on to help keep me feel calm when life gets stressful. Organic India is a great brand with lots of fun flavors to choose from. Most of the varieties are caffeine free, so you can sip on this anytime you need a mood boost.”
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