When we feel emotionally low, feel sad, anxious or frustrated, we get tempted to eat food that can lift our spirit. But in the bargain of improving our mood, we end up binging on sweets and junk food. These unhealthy foods can have negative outcomes of their own. So, to avoid those unwanted outcomes on your body, let’s look at healthy food sources that can help you boost your mood!
Foods To Help You Boost Your Mood
- Fermented Foods: The fermentation process allows the bacteria to thrive in foods, being able to convert sugars into alcohol and acids, creating probiotics. This helps increase serotonin levels. Kimchi, kefir, yogurt, kombucha and kanji are the sources of probiotics that support gut health and a healthy gut can help you boost your mood!
- Fatty Fish: are rich sources of 2 types of Omega 3 – DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and E (eicosapentaenoic acid), both help lower the levels of depression. Salmon and albacore tuna are fishes we can include in our diet.
- Dark Chocolate: helps to improve mood as it may release a cascade of feel-good compounds such as caffeine, theobromine and N-acylethanolamine which is a substance chemically similar to cannabinoids that have been linked to improved mood. It is high in health-promoting flavonoids, which have been shown to increase blood flow to your brain, reduce inflammation, and boost brain health, all of which may support mood regulation.
- Banana: is a rich source of vitamin B6. It helps in the synthesis of neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. It is an excellent source of natural sugar and good probiotics, so it helps in keeping our mood up.
- Whole Grains: like steel-cut oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, amaranth, millet, bulgur and wild rice are important sources of B vitamins, nutrients vital for brain health. Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) helps in turning glucose into energy, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) helps in the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (involved in learning and memory), vitamin B6 is needed to convert the amino acid tryptophan into serotonin, and vitamin B12 helps in the production of neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which can boost your mood.
- Berries: are packed with a wide range of antioxidants and phenolic compounds, which play a key role in combating oxidative stress and an imbalance of harmful compounds in our body. They are a good source of anthocyanins – the pigment in blue-purple colored berries, which helps lift the mood.
- Nuts and Seeds: are a good source of plant protein, healthy fats, and fiber. They are a good source of amino acids, which help in the production of serotonin. Seeds like sesame, pumpkin and sunflower aid brain function and can help in making you feel better.
- Coffee: Caffeine has been found to trigger the release of brain chemicals such as dopamine, which is important for performance and mood. Caffeine helps in the prevention of a naturally occurring compound called adenosine from attaching to the brain receptors that promote tiredness, therefore, increasing alertness and attention.
- Beans and Lentils: are high in fiber and plant-based protein. They are full of feel-good nutrients. They are an excellent source of B vitamins, which help improve mood by increasing levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), all of which are important for regulating mood. Vitamin B plays a key role in nerve signaling, which allows proper communication between nerve cells. Low levels of these vitamins, especially B12 and folate, can make us feel low.
- Leafy Green Vegetables: Spinach and other green vegetables contain folate. Green leafy veggies are an amazing source of vitamin B, fibre, iron, and folate which can help in improving brain function and produce neurotransmitters that help in boosting mood. Adding a good amount of green veggies to your diet will not only boost your mood but your overall health as well.
With the above food, you should also exercise regularly, sleep for 7-8 hours and focus on the quality of sleep, manage stress and stay hydrated! We hope this article helps you. For more on nutrition, check out Healthy Reads or reach out to our certified experts by subscribing to GOQii’s Personalised Health Coaching here.