Shopping with a Scientist: The Most Effective Mood-Boosters
The Most Effective
In partnership with our friends at Life Extension
Gerda Endemann, our senior director of science and research, has a BS in nutrition from UC Berkeley, a PhD in nutritional biochemistry from MIT, and a passion for cherry-picking from our wellness shop. She’s usually pretty happy, so we asked for her favorite research-backed—and
not—approaches to support a good mood.
FLORASSIST Mood Improve contains clinically studied doses of the two most exciting ingredients in mood research that I’ve seen. Saffron has been shown to be great for mood support in a number of well-designed studies. And the probiotics L. helveticus Rosell-52 and B. longum Rosell-175 provided mood support in a clinical study and helped with stress. Our friendly gut cohabitants continue to impress with their whole-body benefits. All you need is one vegetarian capsule a day.*
Not Just for Moms
The brain counts on having plenty of essential vitamins and other nutrients to do its work, which is why I think that this multivitamin is perfect for those wanting mood support: expectant or new moms or anyone else. B vitamins including folate are needed to make neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. Making sure you’re getting enough B vitamins is pretty basic, but it’s important. This supplement goes further than many multis with additional brain food: the omega-3 DHA, lutein, zeaxanthin, and a hefty dose of choline. And to make sure that you have the energy to exercise—the ultimate mood-lifter—Prenatal Advantage contains my personal favorite nutrient, iron, which is good for anyone who menstruates.*
Now that you’ve taken care of your basic biochemical needs, the next step is being aware of your activity level. Is it high enough to boost your mood, every day? And is sleep leaving you feeling good or drained? The Oura Ring is the ultimate wearable activity and sleep tracker. Data on movement, pulse, temperature, breathing, and sleep stages will shed light on your daytime and sleep routines. And Oura will help you optimize them.
The yoga asana that’s worked consistently for me when I’m out of sorts is forearm balance. It’s an inversion that’s more accessible than handstand and easier on the neck than headstand or shoulder stand, so it’s my favorite. But you need a grippy mat and a block, and you may want to use a strap. Warm up with dolphin pose, which may be all you need. Ask your yoga guru how to do forearm balance safely (against a wall).
Now that you’ve actively pursued biochemical and physical approaches, it’s time to quiet down. Meditation is perhaps the most important path to acceptance and peace. As a student, I meditated on BART (if I could get a seat), and these days I meditate while walking in the redwoods or swimming laps. That is to say, it doesn’t require special equipment. But a beautiful little wild-cherrywood bench may help solidify the habit. And this travel version can help you keep up your practice on the road.
You’ll have to shell out for a background check, and in return, you’ll get a weekly two-hour or more time commitment—it will be a fantastic investment. Sign up at Step Up Tutoring, make a difference for a kid, and reap the feel-good benefits of connecting, learning, and helping out.
We love to drown our sorrows with alcohol, but that’s counterproductive in the long run. Try this nonalcoholic alternative and see how you feel. Kin Spritz is a refreshing and sophisticated bubbly—with botanical extracts and nutraceuticals—that’s not too sweet and not too herbal. With nootropics like rhodiola, GABA, and theanine, plus (a little) caffeine, Kin Spritz is perfect for cocktail hour or a party.
Essential oils are fun and pleasurable, but they’re worth taking seriously for their health benefits. Aromatherapy with lavender can be soothing, and everyone in the world except me loves the scent. I prefer bergamot orange—its oil has an effect that’s calming and positive at the same time. Use essential oils in a diffuser or dilute them with any good oil, spread on your hands, and inhale. Then treat your keyboard-weary forearms to a little massage.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of goop.