8 Foods That Boost Your Mood

Why Food is the Best Medicine for Your Mental Health

We are what we eat, right? There is no denying the fact that the food we consume has a major impact on our mental health. With research suggesting that what we eat can affect our mood, improve our concentration and even reduce stress levels, the saying “you are what you eat” may never have been more accurate. Studies have shown that there are many ways in which food can affect your mental health, some of which are not all too surprising.

Many foods have natural nutrients that are known to promote a feeling of happiness and well-being. Foods such as strawberries, kiwi fruit, spinach, tomatoes, walnuts and salmon are all well known to contain natural mood-boosting properties. You could always try adding them into your diet to give yourself an extra boost!

Fruits and Vegetables as Medicine from the Garden

Today, so many people are stressed out and find themselves with no energy to do anything. This is the result of fast paced lives, with not enough relaxation time available for everyone. This stresses the physical body and mind, which in turn affects moods.

The solution to this is to eat healthy food more often. Healthy food doesn’t only mean vegetables and fruit but also includes whole grains, proteins, dairy products, etc. Fruits and vegetables are one of the most important parts of a balanced diet because they are packed with nutrients that boost moods.

It’s official- fruit and vegetables are good for you. Not only do they contain plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but they also release endorphins which make you feel good.

The positive effects of fruits on mood include better sleep patterns, reduced stress levels, lowered blood pressure, and prevention of dementia. As for vegetables, mood boosting effects include increased self-confidence and socialization.

1. Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of essential fats that your body cannot produce on its own. It is due to this reason that they must be obtained through the diet.

Specifically, fatty fish-types such as salmon and albacore tuna-are rich in DHA and EPA omega-3s which have been linked to lower levels of depression.

Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to the fluidity of brain cells and appear to play key roles in the development of neurons and cell signaling.

There is some debate on the benefits of omega-3’s, but research has shown that in some cases, omega-3’s brought down depression scores.

The standard daily dose of fish oil is 250–500 mg, depending on body weight. Most people agree that the benefits are worth the potential side effects.

2. Dark chocolate

Chocolate is rich in many mood-boosting compounds.

Sugar is a quick energy source for the brain and research suggests it may also help with emotional well-being.

Furthermore, it may release chemicals that improve mood, such as caffeine and theobromine. These are chemically similar to cannabinoids which has been linked to improved mood.

Although people may associate eating chocolate with relaxation or happiness, there is scientific debate over whether it has these effects on the body.

Regardless of this, blueberries are full of flavonoids that make it a great snack for a healthy brain. They also reduce inflammation and help to increase blood flow to your brain. All these factors can lead to a happier mood.

In addition to being one of the world’s most beloved foods, chocolate has a hedonic rating which means that it may also have positive effects on your mood.

Milk chocolate, as it contains added sugars and fats, is best avoided. In its stead, opt for dark chocolate as this type of chocolate has the most flavonoids & is lower on added sugar. Having 1-2 squares at a time should be the limit.

3. Fermented foods

Fermented foods, such as kimchi, which include yogurt, kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut, may improve gut health and mood.

The fermentation process enables live bacteria to thrive in foods which are able to convert sugars into alcohol and acids.

During this process, probiotics are created. Probiotics are live microorganisms that support the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut and may also affect serotonin levels.

Fermented foods are important sources of probiotics, but not all of them provide a significant source. Some examples include beer, wine & bread that’s been heated and filtered.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects many facets of human behavior, such as mood, stress response, appetite, and sexual drive. Up to 90% of the serotonin found in the body is produced by microbes found in your gut.

In addition, the gut microbiome is connected with brain health. In recent studies, they have been shown to have a connection with healthy gut bacteria and lower rates of depression.

4. Bananas

Bananas are a superfruit that have been around for centuries. They have been credited with improving mood and giving people an energy boost. These health benefits come from the high levels of potassium and B6 found in bananas, which can help regulate blood pressure, manage stress and combat depression.

They are high in vitamin B6, which is needed to synthesize the production of feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.

When consumed in combination with fiber, sugar is released slowly into your bloodstream. This leads to stable blood sugar levels and better mood control. The problem is that when blood sugar levels are too low, this may lead to irritability or mood swings.

5. Oats

Oats are a whole grain that can keep you in good spirits all morning. You can enjoy them in many forms, such as overnight oats, oatmeal, muesli, and granola.

Fiber helps control your carb absorption, keeping sugar levels stable and balancing energy.

Despite other sources of whole grains having this effect, oats may be especially advantageous. They are also an excellent source for iron which is even more important when you consider the fact that 1 raw cup (81 grams) already contains 19% your daily needs.

Iron deficiency anemia, one of the most common nutrient deficiencies, is associated with low iron intake. It causes symptoms like fatigue, sluggishness, and mood problems.

6. Berries

Berries contain a wide range of antioxidants and phenolic compounds that can combat oxidative stress, an imbalance of harmful compounds in the body.

They’re high in anthocyanins, a pigment that gives certain berries their distinctive blue-purple color. One study associated a diet rich in these compounds with a 39% lower risk of depression symptoms.

7. Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are rich in plant-based proteins, healthy fats, and fiber.

Nuts and seeds are good sources of tryptophan which is an amino acid that boosts mood by producing serotonin. Almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and others are great choices.

Additionally, nuts and seeds are key components of either the MIND or Mediterranean diets which may support a healthy brain.

More and more research suggests there is a correlation between eating nuts and a lower likelihood of suffering from depression. For example, in one study spanning 10 years involving 15,980 participants, it was found that moderate nut intake led to a 23% decreased risk of depression.

Brazilian nuts, almonds, and pine nuts are some of the best sources of zinc & selenium. Deficiency is linked to higher rates of depression so it’s important to include these foods in your diet.

8. Coffee

Coffee is the most popular drink in the world, and because it makes people happier, it may be making the world a little bit better.

Caffeine in your coffee prevents adenosine from attaching to receptors in your brain that promote sleepiness, so you are able to stay alert & attentive.

Moreover, we know that this can generate a release of chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine and norepinephrine.

How to Eat Healthy When You’re Stressed Out And Blue

Eating healthy is not always easy when you are feeling stressed out. But there are ways to make it easier on yourself. Here are six tips for eating healthy when you are stressed out and blue.

  1. Keep track of what you eat
  2. Plan ahead for your meals
  3. Eat more wholesome foods
  4. Cook at home
  5. Take time to enjoy your food
  6. Seek help if needed

Conclusion: How Food Can Help Fight Depression And Anxiety

Depression is a mental disorder where the affected person feels sad, hopeless, and inadequately during the majority of the day. It is often characterized by lack of motivation or pleasure in anything. Depression can also cause problems with sleep, weight, and appetite. On the other hand, anxiety is a mental health disorder where one experiences excessive worry or fear about everyday situations. It causes physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath.

According to studies, diet therapy has shown that it can reduce symptoms for both depression and anxiety patients. Furthermore, there are some specific foods that have been proven to lower depression levels in human beings. These foods are rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins which help maintain GABA levels (a neurotransmitter responsible for emotional reactions), and Vitamin D.

Please call Superior Compounding Pharmacy to speak with one of our licensed pharmacists today at 734-404-6065. We can help answer any medication questions that you may have.