The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood
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Did you know that you can literally eat your way to a happy day? More and more evidence is suggesting that what you eat affects how you feel. Your diet can alter your metabolism and brain chemistry, ultimately affecting your energy level and mood. Here I point out the specific food groups that are proven to boost mood and help to reduce the likeliness of developing depression.

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Omega 3

Omega 3 fatty acids are full of health benefits, such as improving concentration levels and helping you to maintain a healthy state of mind. Scientists have reported than a body deficient in omega 3 is linked to depression. Don’t worry, you don’t have to scoff a giant fish every day to make sure you are getting enough omega 3, you only need to consume a small amount daily to reap the benefits.

Food rich in Omega 3: Oily fish such as: salmon, herring, mackerel and halibut. Another sources are flax seeds, nuts, walnuts and dark leafy greens.

Further reading: to find more information about the health benefits of omega 3, read my previous article about 9 important reasons to consume more omega 3 fatty acids.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is more than just a cold-buster. It is also effective in helping with depression. Like carbohydrates, vitamin C boosts the production of serotonin, also known as the happy hormone.

Food rich in Vitamin C: Kiwifruits, oranges, strawberries, red pepper, guavas, sweet potatoes, spinach, grapefruits and peas.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is great for keeping your skin healthy, due to it’s high levels of antioxidants, but is also a fantastic mood booster. In fact, low levels of vitamin E in the body have been associated with anxiety and depression. So if you’ve been feeling down lately, then why not increase your intake of Vitamin E. Who doesn’t want great skin and a good mood?

Food rich in Vitamin E: Green leafy vegetables, avocados, olive oil, chickpeas, oats, eggs, seeds and nuts.

Further reading: read my previous article about the top 8 vitamins and nutrients that are essential for a healthy skin.

Folic Acid

According to research, if your body is deficient in folic acid, then you are more likely to develop depression. So you’d better start chomping on those greens.

Foods rich in folic acid: Spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, collards or chard.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B 12 is also known as the anti-stress vitamin. When the body is not getting enough vitamin B-12, it can result in feeling lethargic and lacking motivation for day to day activities. That’s no fun, so why not up your intake of shellfish (the richest source of vitamin B-12)? Alternatively you can find it in different meats, sea food, milk and eggs. If you eat meat and seafood, check its origin and support organic and free-range options. You can read more about vitamin B12 in my previous article about the warning symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency and how to correct it. Maintaining proper vitamin B12 levels is one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health.

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Tryptophan

Tryptophan is not your every day word, so I would forgive you for not knowing what the hell it is. Let me fill you in. Tryptophan is an amino acid. Fruits with a good ratio of tryptophan to phenylalanine and leucine (also amino acids), will increase serotonin levels, and thus feelings of happiness.

Foods rich in Tryptophan: Dates (nature’s candy), papaya, banana and dark chocolate.

Selenium

Our brain loves selenium. Five studies have showed that low selenium intake is associated with poorer mood, so it’s important that we incorporate selenium into our diet in order to maintain a healthy state of mind.

Foods rich in selenium: Brazil nuts, seeds, seafood, pork tenderloin, fish, whole grains, chicken, turkey, lean lamb, brown rice, oatmeal, eggs, pinto beans, and mushrooms.

Zinc

A diet low in zinc can contribute to feelings of depression. So come on and get happy by upping your intake of zinc-rich foods to help balance your mood.

Foods rich in zinc: Cashew nuts, seafood, pumpkin seeds, pork loin and dark chocolate.

Complex carbohydrates and whole grains

Whole grains found in complex carbs are full of heart healthy nutrients (high in fiber, vitamins and amino acids). The good news doesn’t just stop there either. Whole grains are a great way to boost your mood and help fight depression. Whole grains are also mentioned in my e-book about superfoods which is part of the Natural Health Revolution Program. This program will help you to achieve your health, nutrition and weight loss goals.

Complex carbohydrate foods with whole grains: Brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole grain bread and whole grain cereal.

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Protein

Protein-rich foods are popular with athletes as they help to repair and build muscle, but another reason protein is great for active individuals is that it is rich in an amino acid called tyrosine. Tyrosine has been proven to help increase levels of dopamine and norepinephrine – brain chemicals that help you feel alert and energetic. You don’t have to be an athlete to reap the benefits of protein. By incorporating it into your daily diet, you will feel that boost of energy which can contribute to a better mood.

Foods rich in Protein: Poultry, beans, nuts and seeds, eggs, fish, lean beef and dairy produce.

Antioxidants

A lot of the foods listed under the other categories in this article, contain antioxidants too. Antioxidants are fabulous as they eliminate damaging molecules (free radicals) from our bodies. Free radicals can affect the brain, but consuming plenty of foods rich in antioxidants is the best way to reduces the chances of free radicals running riot in your body.

Foods rich in antioxidants:Nuts, seeds, green tea, spinach, kale, broccoli, berries, kiwifruits, tomatoes, dark chocolate, oranges and peppers.

Further reading: read more about antioxidants and their role in our body in my previous articles about 9 amazing antioxidants for great health and how to incorporate them in your diet. You can get more information about berries in my e-book The Healing Berry Guide where you can find more information about the healing powers of berries and and how they can help you to become healthier from the inside out.

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Vitamin D

According to WebMD, a 2010 national study showed a person is more likely to suffer from depression if their body is deficient in vitamin D. So make sure you step outside and enjoy the sunshine. The sun is regarded as a natural source of vitamin D. Just ten to fifteen minutes of sun exposure every day provides the human body with 100% of it’s daily intake of vitamin D. Those with darker skin may need five to ten minutes longer. However, if you live in a colder climate where there is not much sun, then you can boost your intake of vitamin D through your diet and supplements. You can read more about vitamin D in my previous article about vitamin D deficiency.

Food and supplements rich in Vitamin D: A very small amount comes from a few foods you eat, such as some fish, fish liver oils, egg yolks and in fortified dairy, cereals and grain products. You may need to take vitamin D supplement if you don’t get enough of it after consulting with your doctor.

Water

Drinking plenty of water (around two liters a day for the average adult) is essential to keep the body in optimum condition. Dehydration is associated with low mood and so increasing your water intake is bound to put a spring in your step. In addition water can also help you flush fat or you can easily make your own flavored water.

Avoid consuming excess amounts of these foods:

Caffeine – Drinking lots of coffee and tea can increase levels of anxiety and then sends you on a come down, which can make you feel depressed.

Sugar – Excess sugar consumption causes inflammation in the gut, body and brain, which causes an inflammation-immune chain reaction response which can result in depression and anxiety.

Alcohol – Alcohol affects the chemicals in your brain. Drinking too much alcohol over a long period of time can affect the brain and cause feelings of anxiousness and anger.

Healthy eating tips to improve your mood

Eat little and often

In order to maintain a good mood, it is important to eat little and often. This keeps your energy levels up which enables you to achieve what you want with your day. Also, between meals, have a snack if you want to – just make it a healthy one. Nuts such as almonds or walnuts are a great choice as they are naturally low in sugar and release their energy slowly, keeping you satisfied for longer.

Have breakfast

Start the day right with a nutritious breakfast to set you off on the right track for the day ahead. Try downing a glass of warm water with lemon, then a bowl of oatmeal made with water or milk, topped with sliced banana and chopped nuts with a drizzle of raw honey. Wash that down with a homemade green juice or smoothie and you will be good to go!

Further reading: read my previous articles about the health benefits of drinking lemon water, healthy breakfast recipes in 5 minutes, 10 easy smoothies for breakfast, and how to boost your health with green smoothie recipes.

Aside from nutrition, you can find more quick and natural ways to boost your mood in my previous article:

18 Quick and Natural Ways to Boost Your Mood

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