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Navitas Organics Blog

3 Superfoods That Support Emotional Wellness

Posted by Julie Morris, Navitas Organics Executive Chef on Oct 10, 2018 8:10:27 AM

Every October when “Emotional Wellness Month” rolls around, we get bombarded with statistics about how depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses are affecting our lives and our loved ones more than ever before. Equally important, however, is to also turn our focus onto the positive side of emotional wellness, too. That's why this year, I'd like to encourage you to make your own mental and emotional health more of a priority…and it’s easier than you may think!

There are many steps you can take in your personal journey toward emotional wellness, such as setting micro-goals, strengthening your personal relationships and community, learning to comfortably say “no” to avoid burnout, and practicing meditation on a regular basis. However, the foods you eat also have a huge impact on how you feel throughout the day and nutrient-dense superfoods can play a vital role in everyday emotional maintenance.

Here are three of my favorite superfoods that support emotional wellness to help you feel your very best this October and beyond!

1. Cacao
Not only is Cacao absolutely delicious and versatile for cooking and snacks, but it’s also a wonderful superfood to support your brain and boost your mood. When you consume Cacao in its unprocessed, whole-food form, you are fueling your body with valuable antioxidants and nutrients that positively impact brain health. Cacao contains a type of plant nutrient called flavanols that facilitate the healthy connections of brain cells, thereby helping you think more clearly and process information and stresses better. Cacao has also been studied for its ability to reduce anxiety, which gets in the way of you feeling stable, grounded and in control of your life every day.

2. Goji Berries
Another excellent superfood to eat to support your emotional wellness is Goji Berries. Not only are these tiny berries packed with protein, antioxidants and fiber, but they are actually nicknamed “the happy berries” in Chinese folklore because of their wellness-boosting benefits. Scientific studies have shown that Goji Berries increase feelings of general wellbeing and improve neurologic and psychologic performance when eaten daily. Other studies reveal that Goji Berries can improve conditions of anxiety and depression, but again the key here is consuming them on a regular basis to get their full benefits.

3. Turmeric
Meanwhile, Turmeric is a healing spice that belongs in every kitchen pantry. Although Turmeric is best known for its anti-inflammatory benefits, it’s also a great way to support your emotional wellness through nutrition. Turmeric contains a substance called curcumin that gives the spice its many health benefits. This spice has been studied for its power to manage anxiety and its ability to significantly help reduce Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) scores. BDI is a self-report rating inventory that measures symptoms of depression. Furthermore, Turmeric is often used as a natural remedy to reduce physical pain, which is the cause of many types of emotional distress.


Striving for emotional wellness is so incredibly important and needs to be a top priority for each and every one of us. Without it, you can’t care for the people you love, complete the tasks you need to get done or become the best version of yourself. Good nutrition is just one piece of the puzzle for feeling emotionally well, but superfoods like Cacao, Goji Berries and Turmeric can definitely help get you on the right track.

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Topics: nutrition, benefits, health, superfoods, tips, Live Life Positive, mental health, healthy living, healthy choices, motivation, emotional wellness

Getting More from Giving More: The “Happiness Effect” and Living Life Positive

It seems that despite a conscious awareness about the need for work-life balance, life just gets busier all the time. Finding enjoyment with work is challenging when resources are scarce and the “to do” list seems endless. While the ultimate goal in life is to do what you love and love what you do, it’s often not that realistic even under the best of circumstances. Fortunately, many employers are searching for ways to make work life more fulfilling due to mounting evidence that employee engagement is a critical component of an organization’s success. This is particularly relevant to building loyalty and fostering creativity within the team. After all, when employees are getting their social and emotional needs met, it brings them closer to the ideal goal of finding joy in the work they do. Now more than ever before, companies are making time to support important causes they care about through volunteerism and community service, which boosts employee satisfaction at the same time. Through corporate social responsibility programs, doing good for others can be an important contributor to the well-being of employees and the organization as a whole.

Today, 79% of Employees Prefer to Work for Companies That are Socially Responsible
A lot has been written about the mental and physical health benefits that come with volunteering, making corporate responsibility programs very attractive to future employees. This is especially true if the causes that are supported reinforce the values and beliefs held by the company. Mental health benefits range from reduced levels of depression and social connectedness to fostering a sense of purpose. But, physical health benefits are also available to those who volunteer their time in service of others. One study in particular reported that volunteering is associated with decreased risk for high blood pressure, a major contributor to cardiovascular disease and the leading cause of early mortality in both men and women. This may have to do with physical labor associated with the volunteer activity or the effect of stress reduction that results from altruistic behavior, but other studies have shown similar results. Some have even demonstrated a relationship to reduced obesity, increased cognitive function and increased levels of dopamine, “the pleasure-seeking” neurotransmitter, in the brain. Most surprising of all is that research with highly engaged working populations shows that volunteering can help employees create better work-life balance, despite being busy in addition to positively influencing health.

The “Happiness Effect” May be the Reason
The “happiness effect” describes that “feel-good” experience from dopamine being released in the brain and this may be the most compelling reason to incorporate volunteerism as a corporate objective. Doing good deeds in the community for no other reason than to help others has the effect of spreading positive energy to everyone around – not just those helping or being helped. This can be thought of the same way as practicing self-care – eating health-promoting, nutrient-dense foods or the feeling after a rigorous workout. The energy that comes from doing good for yourself and for those around you can be infectious, inspiring others to do the same. Community service and volunteerism work in a similar capacity, helping to generate renewed energy and enthusiasm around shared goals within an organization.

Spreading Positivity is Good for Your Health
Navitas Organics is doing our part by sharing the meaning behind our "Live Life Positive" campaign and our commitment to corporate social responsibility is a large part of that story. Just like “the happiness effect,” we believe that making a positive impact in the world creates a ripple effect in all aspects of life. Through innovation of organic superfoods and snacks that have minimal environmental burden, giving back to people in need and supporting the causes we believe in, we aim to help make individuals and communities healthier and more resilient. Through a strong commitment to volunteerism, we hope our employees will benefit from the “happiness effect” and hopefully find additional meaning in the work they do. After all, no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. 

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Topics: wellness, education, happiness, science, Live Life Positive, positive vibes, mental health, community service, social responsibility

6 Science-Backed Ways to Boost Your Happiness

Posted by Julie Morris, Navitas Organics Executive Chef on Aug 23, 2018 8:27:34 AM

At first look, happiness may seem like a subjective quality: who's to say that your amazing new pair of shoes doesn't actually make the world seem a little bit brighter? But, while we may all have our individual joyful quirks, some things have been biologically proven to enhance mood.

1. Meditate
The meditation-happiness relationship has been long documented, but more recently, it's become science-backed as well. One such study offered 60 employees a seven-week meditation course consisting of 15-20 minutes of mediation a day. In comparison to the non-meditating employees, results showed the meditators experienced an increase in positive emotions that included a clearer purpose in life, a feeling of social support and even a decrease in physical pain from illness symptoms. For such a simple practice that can be done anywhere – free of charge – it's no wonder mediation is quickly rising in popularity in modern society.

2. Exercise Regularly 
Have you ever experienced a “running high” or felt particularly elated after completing a difficult session of as many reps as possible (AMRAP) – even while exhausted? You're not alone! The human body was meant to move, and we're actually designed with psychological support to increase biological motivation for activity. Exercise releases all the most prominent mood-related neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine (and epinephrine). This healthy good-mood ride was likely a way to encourage physical activity from an evolutionary standpoint, but today it can be used the other way around, too: getting a little sweat on to promote a better headspace.

3. Eat Some Chocolate
If you've ever made the claim that eating chocolate makes you happy, it turns out you're scientifically right! Many studies have been published that show chocolate's effect on mood, which is due to its unique phytochemical composition, including components like theobromine and flavanols. Chocolate even contains a special compound called anandamide, often called “the bliss molecule.” The result is that chocolate (and in particular, Cacao), stimulates endorphins and provides precursor nutrition for mood-boosting neurotransmitters. 

4. Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep and depression go hand-in-hand, but the opposite is also true. Of course, you feel better from a great night of zzz's, but your brain actually functions on an entirely new happy level, too. And it's not just duration, it's regularity as well. One 2017 study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that “week-long irregular sleep schedules are significantly associated with lower self-reported morning and evening happiness, healthiness, and calmness during the week even after controlling for weekly average sleep duration,” said lead author Akane Sano, PhD. So, set a bedtime – and stick to it – to naturally broaden your smile.

5. Give to Others
The saying “it's better to give than to receive” is true on many levels, but can include a direct correlation to personal, lasting happiness. Studies have shown that “giving” stimulates the same parts of the brain activated by food and sex, indicating that generosity is a hard-wired component of our brain. Helping others is a short-cut way to not only be of service, but to help yourself in the process as well.

6. Enjoy Your Furry (or Non-Furry) Friends 
Why does just looking at a picture of a puppy bring a smile to your face – even on a difficult day? Animals can help improve mental health so dramatically, there's even a medical term for this kind of animal assistance: pet therapy. In one study, as reported by TIME, “a stressed-out group of adults were told to pet a rabbit, a turtle or their toy forms. The toys had no effect. But stroking a living creature, whether hard-shelled or furry, relieved anxiety. It worked for people regardless of whether they initially said they liked animals.” Similar studies even found that having pet crickets helped reduce depression! When it comes to balanced mental health, nature wins again.

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Topics: wellness, education, workout, happiness, science, Live Life Positive, positive vibes, mental health

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