One of the most overlooked connections when it comes to health is the one between our mood and the food we consume. The foods we consume can influence our mental and physical health massively. Some can better your mood and fight anxiety and depression while others make you feel sluggish. The key is in making the appropriate choices.
Foods which lift your mood are the ones that impact our neurotransmitters positively. Here is a list of healthy food items that can boost your mood instantly:
- Green Tea
If you are making a list of food items that boost your mood, it is incomplete if you do not include green tea. It is a great source of antioxidants that facilitate brain function especially for the release of feel-good chemicals. The main feel-good chemicals are serotonin and dopamine that can give you an instant mood lift. These are of great help in combating depression and also in soothing the brain.
Apart from these, green tea also contains the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (ECGG). It can be of great help in improving your cardiac health as it reduces the cholesterol levels in your blood. It is proven to combat cancer cells as well. To reap the benefits of green tea completely, have 2-3 cups daily.
- Complex (Carbohydrates) Carbs
Complex carbohydrates like whole grains, oats, beans and brown rice are considered to be foods that can boost your mood. They are also beneficial in fighting anxiety, anger, and depression. When we consume complex carbs, the albumin and insulin in our blood commands tryptophan to move towards our brain. Tryptophan which is an amino acid is crucial in the production of serotonin which is instrumental in relaxing the nerves and your brain. It also promotes good sleep and can prevent sleeping disorders like insomnia.
So, it’s high time you replace simple carbs like white flour pasta, white rice, white bread, etc. with wheat pasta, brown rice and whole wheat bread for an instant mood boost.
- Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is one of the mood lifters that receive a lot of love from foodies all over the world. Consuming dark chocolate evokes a sense of warmth and comfort. Most importantly, cocoa’s rich aroma relaxes our senses. A small piece of dark chocolate can facilitate the production of endorphins which increases serotonin secretion. Dark chocolate can also decline the release of Cortisol, which is the hormone that induces stress. So don’t feel guilty about consuming this mood lifter, but do watch out for the high-calorie content.
Fish rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids is the best choice to enhance your mood. DHA present in Omega 3 Fatty Acids results in the secretion of a Corticotropin-releasing hormone that can help in controlling emotional impulses. It combats anger and helps in balancing your mood. Omega 3 fatty acids are proven to improve cognitive functions as well. Rather than the antidepressant drugs available, omega three fatty acids work better and with no side effects as well.
Salmon, tuna, trout, sardines, mackerel and herring are the best fishes to consume to balance your mood.
Lentils and beans are one of the few food items that can help massively in anxiety relief. It is rich in iron, a mineral that is crucial for distributing oxygen throughout your body. Adequate oxygen supply to the brain is critical in keeping you charged and in preventing fatigue. It can help in warding off depression as well. Other than the mood boosts and mental benefits, lentils can assist in combating anemia. The best lentils and beans are Bengal gram, red lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, pinto beans and soybeans.
Coconut and its oil have a long list of health benefits. Coconut’s refreshing aroma can boost your mood instantly and is proven in fighting anxiety and depression. Coconut water is rich in electrolytes and potassium.
Its meat is good for the skin and the protein and fiber present in it can ward off fatigue. The healthy fats present in it make sure that nervous and immune systems are working properly. So, if you are feeling low, instead of grabbing a soda or caffeinated drink, give coconut water a try.
It is proven that substituting fried foods, processed meats, refined grains, etc. with fresh vegetables and fruits can enhance brain functions and mood in people. Vegetables which are brightly colored are good sources of antioxidants. This way, individuals who consume veggies and fruits feel happy and healthy compared to people who chose processed or junk foods. Dark leafy greens are rich in folate and B vitamins that can positively influence neurotransmitters. So from now on, perk your mood up by adding at least 3 to 4 servings of fresh veggies in your diet.
The monounsaturated fats present in avocados keeps the brain sensitive to high levels of serotonin and also lower your blood pressure over time. This way, avocados boost your mood instantly. They also contain vitamin B6 which is essential for good health.
Even though nutritious and cheap, bananas are often overlooked by fitness experts because of their calorie content. But, banana is a brain-healthy food that improves cognitive performance. It enhances the absorption of tryptophan in the brain. It is also rich in potassium, phosphorous, iron, carbohydrates, and vitamins A, B, and C which are extremely beneficial for overall health.
Bananas promote sleep by relieving depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Potassium can spike up your energy levels and regularize nerve impulse transmissions.
Walnuts and almonds are good sources of Vitamin E. They can also help in combating depression and improving your mood as they are loaded with magnesium. It can also induce feelings of well-being and happiness. Deficiency of magnesium can lead to chronic fatigue, stress, and troubled mental functions. It also promotes serotonin release and aids in regulating emotions. So, from next time, if you feel like crunching on something replace your fries and chips with some tasty and healthy raw nuts.
Apart from the ones listed above yogurt, turkey, and coffee are also said to influence one’s mood positively. Now, you can wave goodbye to your antidepressant drugs and open yourself to a healthy way of boosting your mood. In the long run, all these natural and healthy foods help boost your mood instantly with no side effects whatsoever.
By Evelyn Kail