Besides being an excellent all-natural sweetener, dates are are the glue that keep Together Bars...together. But that's not why we chose them for our bars. Dates are high in fiber and antioxidants, which fight inflammation (which is linked to depression) in the brain, but they're also helpful at lowering IL-6 (interleukin 6) in the brain, which has been linked to degenerative disorders and increased anxiety. We include just enough dates to sweeten up our bars and keep the ingredients together, while providing a dose of anxiety and mood food.
This bad boy looks just like a brain, and it's no coincidence. First, they have higher antioxidant content than any other nut (as well as polyphenols and vitamin E that are thought to fight oxidative damage in the brain). They are also loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids. This is why your Together Bar might feel a little slippery on your fingers. Don't worry, these are considered good fats and are good for your heart as well.
This is our favorite. Pumpkin seeds are an anti-depressive and anti-anxiety superfood, so our bars are loaded with them. The most important thing to know is that they're crammed with tryptophan (yes, it's what's in your thanksgiving turkey...but don't worry, you only get sleepy because you eat so much!). Tryptophan triggers the release of serotonin in your body naturally. Serotonin is one of the most important neurotransmitters influencing mental health, specifically for regulating your mood. Right behind the tryptophan is a monster amount of magnesium, zinc and potassium, all of which have been linked to reducing anxiety and stress. The final benefit is how dense the seeds are, which makes them more filling, which can help you eat less, which can lead to a little weight loss...which is nice.
These fellas don't mess around. They're the ones that are in the bowl of nuts at the party that you push to the side. But you shouldn't. One Brazil Nut has more of the mineral selenium, also an antioxidant, than any other food. According to Healthline.com, a study conducted by the NIH, "Selenium increases levels of an enzyme known as glutathione peroxidase (GPx), which helps reduce inflammation and protect your body from oxidative stress — an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals that can lead to cellular damage". High selenium levels have been linked to enhanced outcomes of mood disorders. But, having too much selenium isn't a great thing either, so we limit our brazil nuts to below the RDI per bar. Brazil nuts also have ellagic acid, a type of polyphenol that may have protective and anti-depressive effects on your brain. Long story short, these puppies deliver.
While chocolate is widely known as delicious, dark chocolate starts to make progress toward a healthy food, and if you remove the sugar, you're left with cocoa. 100% cocoa is a mental health superfood. It's loaded with tryptophan, antioxidants and flavonoids, and flavonoids (which many of the ingredients above contain) are known to regulate your mood and aid depression. The other thing we like is that dark chocolate boosts feel-good chemicals in your brain called endorphins. Endorphins bond with opiate receptors in the brain and help reduce the negative effects of stress. So, our Dark Chocolate + Sea Salt bar is on the right track...and our Blueberry Turmeric bar....see below!
Not only do blueberries taste amazing, but they're also fantastic for your mental health. A 2016 study found eating blueberries can help reduce the genetic and biochemical drivers behind depression and suicidal tendencies linked to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In addition, blueberries are one of the best sources of antioxidants and flavonoids you can find. Knowing all of that, each of our Blueberry + Turmeric bars has the benefits of over thirty blueberries!
As this article on brain health describes, "researchers have called coconut oil an “antidepressant functional food” due to its unique combination of medium-chain fatty acids and antioxidants. Additionally, coconut oil is anti-inflammatory and brain inflammation is now thought to be a contributing factor to depression. What's more, simply the smell of coconut alone has the ability to lift your mood, so we think it's a perfect fit.
The acai palm is a tree found in several parts of the world, including Brazil. We chose acai for our bars based on its very high antioxidant properties to help fight body and brain inflammation and oxidative stress, which are known to be factors in those with depression. When you also take into consideration the good amount of fiber and how acai aides digestion, promoting a healthier gut, it's clear why this little purple berry made our list of high-quality ingredients.
Turmeric is a root that's found in many Asian foods, like curry. Its active compound, curcumin, a powerful antioxidant, has been known to naturally relieve symptoms of mild depression and even major depressive disorder (MDD). It has been proven safe to eat while on anti-depressant medications, and in fact, one