We all feel blue from time to time, and food can play an important role in helping us feel better. Research has shown that the foods we eat have an impact on mood. While emotional eating is not recommended, eating in a way to feel better and happy might just be worth considering. Following are some foods you should add to your diet to give your mood an uplift.
Avocados contain healthy, good fats that are known for increasing the level of a number of different feel-good brain chemicals. Avocados also contain omega-3 fatty acids that help maintain function in areas of the brain that are responsible for regulating emotion and food. Healthy fats help you feel satisfied and full, aid in cholesterol reduction, and help your body absorb some nutrients.
Dark chocolate contains less sugar as compared to its white or milk counterpart and is rich in flavonoids – the well-known health-promoting compounds. Flavonoids have been shown to help increase the flow of blood to the brain, reduce inflammation, and boost overall brain health. Each of these can support a more stable mood. It is recommended that you choose dark chocolate with 70% or above cocoa solids so that you can fully take advantage of its mood-enhancing properties.
Green tea is rich in GABA – a stabilizing and calming brain chemical. Low levels of GABA are associated with mood swings and low moods. Furthermore, green tea contains L-theanine that can reduce worry and stress while improving mood, mental alertness, memory, and focus. Be sure to drink a cup of green tea every day for a feeling of overall wellbeing.
Fatty fish like salmon is rich in omega-3. These fatty acids are extremely helpful when it comes to improving heart health. Furthermore, they can also help treat anxiety and stress by stimulating the production of dopamine. Make sure to include salmon in your diet a couple of times a week so you can reap all these benefits and possibly lower your risk of anxiety and depression.
You can trade your usual romaine lettuce for spinach in your sandwich, wrap, or salad to give your meal a brain-healthy boost. Spinach contains a very high level of folate per ounce. It is a B vitamin that can help reduce the symptoms of anxiety. In fact, researchers at Harvard Medical School have found that boosting the folate levels of depression patients significantly helped lift their mood.
Walnuts are fantastic. They boost serotonin levels that directly influences your mood. They also contain other good mood nutrients such as folate, protein, tryptophan, vitamin B6, and omega-3s. Make sure to opt for raw unsalted walnuts for optimal nutrition. Also, you will need to watch portion sizes as walnuts and all nuts in general are high in calories.
When you are feeling down, you may want to reach for high-calorie food in order to feel better. While this no doubt gives your body a sugar rush, it is not healthy for you in the long run. So, it is recommended that you incorporate healthy foods such as the ones listed above to help lift your mood as well as improve your overall health.
Photos by: Edu Lauton, Alina Karpenko, pixabay, Arseniy Kapran, Caroline Attwood, Louis Hansel, Dmitry Demidov