10 Nutritious Foods That Boost Your Mood:
Have you heard of the term “hangry”? It’s a hybrid of “angry” and “hungry”, a perfect word that defines us most of the time. Ever wondered why is it so? Well, because food is the number one mood changer since always and will remain till eternity.
Food isn’t something that fills our stomachs and gets us rid of hunger pangs. Research says that food has an ultimate effect on our waistline and our moods and emotions. Our brains utilise the energy that we put into our bodies, affected by changes in our hormones, blood sugar levels, and other biological processes. So, as you are what you eat, why not eat good and be good? Well, it’s not supposed to be that easy. Below is the list of 10 nutritious foods that boost your mood and keep you healthy and happy.
According to the American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, fish is the right, healthy choice to fight depression. “Fatty” fishes include salmon, tuna, lake trout, mackerel, herring and sardines. These are highly anti-inflammatory, rich with Omega-3 fatty acids associated with helping against mental disorders like anxiety and depression. Omega-3s are also known to have memory and learning abilities as well.
Omega-3s improve your brain’s cell membrane fluidity and play vital roles in brain development and cell signalling. Fishes like salmon are also linked with having vitamin D, which lowers depression. Anti-depressive benefit diets like the Mediterranean, Norwegian and Japanese diets recommend eating fish. Felice Jacka, President International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (ISNPR), recommends eating fish 2-3 times a week.
Whole grains are a great source of providing fibre. Soy, oats and wild rice fall under this category, beans. Also, they stabilise blood sugar affecting our mood by regulating brain neurotransmitter secretions. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, men and women under 50 years of age should intake 38gms and 25gms of fibre. Whole grains also help the brain absorb tryptophan which, when eating along with chicken or turkey, can help in reducing depression and anxiety while enhancing brain function.
3. Green-Leafy Vegetables:
Veggies for life is rightly said. Green leafy vegetables are rich in a variety of nutrients vital for the human body. The fibre in them balances blood sugar, folic acid for deterring depression, vitamin B for better brain functioning and iron for blood production. They are also helpful in fighting insomnia and in reducing dementia in older adults.
Lentils are a good source of folate, a B vitamin good for building up our nervous system. They are also rich in fibre, iron, proteins, and vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 produces mood-lifting neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. In contrast, deficiency of folate and vitamin B6 are associated with depression.
Nuts contain protein, magnesium, fibre and Vitamin E. Vitamin E as an antioxidant helps in combating free radical damage in the brain and has been shown to improve memory and cognition. Cashews provide magnesium and oxygen to the brain, whereas almonds help the brain produce mood boosters, i.e. dopamine and other neurotransmitters. They are also found helpful in reducing Parkinson’s disease. But before you start eating nuts, keep track of calories which can add up very quickly.
Ever wondered why chocolate makes you happy? Chocolate contains ‘the bliss chemical’, phenylethylamine, which boosts endorphins, and anandamide. Chocolates are a rich source of antioxidants, iron and magnesium. Moreover, it improves our mood and cognition as well as helps us in relaxing. Dark chocolate with 85% or more cocoa is the most beneficial as it’s rightly said, “the darker, the better”. Despite all this, you might still consume chocolates moderately.
Fruit intake is directly related to the amount of depression you experience. One must eat all the seasonal fruits, especially bananas – a sweet treat for uplifting your mood. Avocados are rich in vitamin K and folate. It helps in protecting your brain against stroke. Further, it improves memory and concentration and also improves brain function. Fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals and micronutrients. Therefore, eat 1.5 – 2 cups of a variety of fruits and berries daily.
Seeds may look small, but their effects can be significant for your body. Sunflower seeds provide Vitamin E, Vitamin B6 and magnesium. Moreover, those with nut allergies can opt for seeds. On the contrary, Chia seeds are a source of omega-3 fatty acids and nutrients like protein, fibre, calcium and iron. Hence, this mood-boosting food, called “nature’s relaxant mineral”, is also a good source of magnesium. Further, it can help reduce stress and anxiety. They are also good egg replacers.
9. Fermented foods:
Fermented foods are highly rich in healthy bacteria called probiotics. Research proves that they are good antioxidants, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and anti-atherosclerotic. These foods include cultured milk and yoghurt, wine, beer, cider, tempeh, fermented sausage, and so on.
Last but not least, this list is incomplete without the tiny, round balls known as “eggs”. Eggs are a relatively low-calorie food. They contain fats, including saturated fats too, iron, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids. The egg also contains disease-fighting nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin. Eggs are a good source of Riboflavin, Vitamin B12 and Phosphorus, and is also rich in Protein and Selenium. Therefore, this is the exact reason why eggs are the perfect food.