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Natural Foods Merchandiser

In the Aisle: 5 foods to make emotional eating healthier

'Eating their feelings' doesn't always make people feel better. But these five foods include ingredients that might accomplish that goal.

Today, we are in the midst of a mental wellness revolution, one that is arguably long overdue.

Once a taboo topic, mental health has been slowly shedding its stigma and becoming more talked-about in recent years. But the COVID-19 pandemic has opened the floodgates.

Now more than ever, people are sharing their experiences with mental illness—the highs, the lows and everything in between. They are also talking more freely about everyday stress, anxiety, sadness, mood fluctuations and sleep struggles, as well as the impact these states have on their physical health and overall quality of life. More consumers are investing the time and energy to learn about the myriad influencers of mental wellness, and they are making healthy choices to support it.

Yes, it may have taken a global pandemic to turbocharge this movement. But the fact that so many more people are now discussing mental health—openly, candidly, shamelessly—can only help to improve our collective well-being.

While functional foods have been cropping up for years, mood foods in particular—those supporting sleep, relaxation, focus and energy—are making a splash in today's functional market. Feel-good products, including cookie dough, chocolate, cereal and chips, are embracing both clean labels and innovative formats that pack in high quantities of potent botanicals: think ashwagandha root, antioxidants and mushrooms.

Fungi in its many forms (lion's mane, chaga and reishi, oh my!) appears to be the darling of the functional food and beverage space, offering a diverse range of applications and benefits, specifically targeting energy and focus. Meanwhile, trusty standbys like omega-3s, vitamin D and the B vitamins are playing a supporting role in the latest cutting-edge functional foods.

Click through the gallery to find foods that shoppers might appreciate finding on your shelves.

natural products expo westDon't miss The State of Supplements session and panel discussion at 10 a.m. PT on Wednesday, March 8, in Grand Ballroom F at the Marriott. Start with coffee and networking before settling in for data-driven insights into the top trends and opportunities in the supplement industry. Visit the Natural Products Expo West agenda for information about other supplements-related sessions that day. Conference Experience upgrade required.

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