There’s no escaping ‘feeling blue’ from time to time. Don’t worry though because help is available. Scientists have shown that eating certain foods can help with managing stress, easing anxiety and even helping with depression. So improve your well-being and lift your mood with these 10 foods to boost your mood today.
Not Just What You Eat – Timing Is Important
Before you see the list of foods to boost your mood, an important thing to also mention is, blood sugar levels. With busy lifestyles it’s hard not to maybe have lunch late or even skip meals altogether. Going hungry or using sugary snacks messes with our blood sugar levels and that creates an imbalance of hormones.
Low blood sugar ( hypoglycemia ) affects depression and anxiety. To counter low blood sugar, try getting complex carbohydrates, protein, fiber and healthy fats with meals or snacks. Keep your blood sugar levels up throughout the day for a happier you.
The Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna, can help lower anxiety, research shows. These fatty acids are an important mood boosting nutrient that our bodies don’t produce on their own. Omega-3 fatty acids alter brain chemicals linked with our moods, specifically dopamine and serotonin. Try eating a 3-ounce serving of fish two or three times a week for a regular mood boost. For some delicious fish dishes see our healthy grilled halibut with honey and lemon recipe or this succulent lemon baked salmon meal.
2. Whole Grains
Whole grains and high-fiber foods are good for your body and brain health.
Studies show lower risk of hypertension among men who ate more than 7 servings of whole grain breakfast cereal a week compared with those who ate one or less. A study of women who ate whole grains instead of refined grains benefited from substantially lowers blood cholesterol…triglycerides, blood pressure, and insulin levels. Women should get 25 grams of fiber daily, while men need 38 grams, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Walnuts are made up of 15 to 20 percent protein, contain Omega 6 fatty acids, Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E and B6 linoleic which are an excellent source of nourishment for our nervous system. Apart from supporting good mental health walnuts have also been shown to,
- Improve memory
- Help with a healthy heart
- Help fighting cancer
- Supports weight loss
Eggs are amazingly versatile food. If you have them hard boiled, scrambled or poached, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that eggs are high in protein, Vitamin D and B12. Eggs also contain choline, an essential nutrient that supports the nervous system, improving the mood.
5. Dark Leafy Greens
Almost half of all Americans don’t get enough magnesium, a mineral that, among other things, helps reduce anxiety. Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale are an easy way to get your 2 -3 cups of daily vegetables and boost your mood too. It’s not too hard to find sources of this important mineral either. Potatoes, sweet corn, green peas, artichokes and Lima beans are all easy to use foods high in magnesium.
Chicken, like its brother fowl the turkey, is high in an amino acid called tryptophan, which gives you that comforting feeling after chicken based meals. In fact, if you’re feeling depressed, eating some poultry will increase the serotonin levels in your brain, enhance your mood, blasting stress, and lulling you to sleep. For a quick and healthy chicken dish that all the family can enjoy try this baked lemon pepper chicken meal.
Having more antioxidants than any other common fruit or vegetable, blueberries have some great brain-boosting benefits. Flavonoid rich wild blueberries have been shown to have measurable effects on positive mood within hours of eating them. Higher consumption of fruits and vegetables has been associated with better mental health and mitigating depression.
Probiotics, the “good” bacteria that is often found in certain kinds of yogurt, may not only be good for digestive health, but can also boost mood. Yogurt consumption increases the ingestion of probiotic bacteria, in particular Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, and may therefore affect the diversity and balance of human gut microbiota. Previous research found that changes in gut microbiota moderate the peripheral and central nervous system, resulting in altered brain functioning, and may have an impact on emotional behavior, such as stress and anxiety.
Coming in at number nine on our list of foods to boost your mood is chocolate. Chocolate makes you happy! It contains a number of potent compounds such as phenylethylamine, which boosts endorphins, and ananadamide, otherwise known as ‘the bliss chemical’. Studies on chocolate show that it can improve mood and cognition, plus it’s a rich source of antioxidants, iron and magnesium to help us relax. Evidence indicates that chocolate is particularly helpful when eaten mindfully, so don’t gobble it all down, savor it instead.
A cup of caffeinated coffee could boost your mood, both short and long term. On a short-term basis, the caffeine provides an immediate mood booster. Plus, a review of data from 12 studies of caffeine and depression suggests that coffee may help protect against depression.