When we have a bad day, a lot of us turn to food for comfort. Although it can make us feel better, the food we choose to eat can harm us.
There has been research on how nutrition affects our mental health came out to view during the past years. It showed that our mood is influenced by many factors like stress and our environment. (1, 2)
Here is a list of five valuable foods that are easy to add to your daily routine and can improve your overall well-being.
Dark chocolate has many mood-boosting compounds, like caffeine and theobromine. Its health-improving flavonoids increase our blood flow on the brain and promote the reduction of mood swings. Apart from this, its smell also encourages a mood boost.
It is best to opt for dark instead of milk chocolate because of the amount of sugar that’s in it. Sugar rushes can feel good at first but they can negatively affect your health in the long-term. (3)
If you drink coffee in the morning, you can add a piece of dark chocolate to start the day well. It supports feel-good chemicals in the brain because of its rich compounds.
This fruit is high in vitamins and it can also help to stabilize your mood. The sugar contained in them releases into your bloodstream slowly and this allows for better mood control. Bananas allow stable blood sugar levels and as a result, make us happier.
This is a good natural way to add sugar to our body. The vitamin B6 and the fiber of bananas make a great team to keep our mood stable. Pair it with your breakfast to add a little mood-boosting component to it. (4)
Coffee is one of the most popular drinks because it tastes good and it has caffeine, which can help your mood. Why? Because it prevents this compound called adenosine.
Adenosine makes your body tired and does not boost your mood. Instead, it increases dopamine and norepinephrine, which in this case, are our confidants, because they are the mood-boosting neurotransmitters.
You can still get these mood-boosting effects if you drink decaf coffee.
To add a little gourmet food to our list, salmon is packed with omega 3. This fatty acid is healthy and helps to improve our mood. It’s perfect! This component makes our skin glow and keeps our hair healthy as well.
Albacore tuna has the same benefits since both fish are rich in two types of omega 3; docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosatetraenoic acid (EPA), which have been proven to be effective when treating depressive symptoms. (5)
Canned salmon works just the same and if you don’t eat fish, you can try fish oil supplements, as they provide the same mood-boosting effects.
Have you heard of the famous lemon water? This is a great addition to boost your immune system with antioxidants. These are linked to the brain. Once these are absorbed into the blood and reach our brain, antioxidants may prevent oxidative stress to brain cells.
This is important since the adult brain stops replacing dead neurons. Including foods rich in vitamin C, like oranges or lemons in your diet may increase your health and help prevent memory loss. (6)
Drink a glass of water with lemon preferably after waking up and before eating. Drinking it on an empty stomach can help your body absorb the vitamin better and can improve your mood.
Whenever we may feel sad, we tend to grab high-sugar foods, such as ice cream. But why not choose healthy treats instead? Try to aim for these mood-boosting healthy alternatives and include them in your daily routine.