Four Foods That Can Improve Your Mood
Have you ever noticed that some foods seem to put you in a good mood, and not just because the food tastes good? There's something else going on. Scientists and nutritionists believe that there are some foods that can affect your mood in positive ways. What's more, eating well and taking care of your health is not just good for you, it's good for the people around you too!
Good Food + Good Company = Good Mood
One of the best ways to improve your relationships with the important people in your life—your husband, your boyfriend, your mom, whomever you care about—is to take responsibility for your own personal health and well-being. When you look good, feel good, and have a positive outlook on life, your relationships will naturally get stronger. Shared interests and activities will become more enjoyable. Conversations will feel more satisfying.
When you have already taken care of your own mental well-being, you’re starting off on the right foot. You are approaching your relationships from a place of abundance rather than a place of lack and scarcity. That is, you don’t need the other person to make you feel better about life. Rather, the other person’s presence in your life enhances and reaffirms your positive mood.
If you have any kind of mind-body awareness, you probably already know that what you eat can have a direct effect on your mood. Some foods make you feel naturally energized, while other foods increase feelings of contentedness. Dark chocolate, for example is a natural mood booster because it helps to release your body’s own feel good hormones: serotonin and dopamine.
Here are a few other foods that can help increase your mental state and boost your mood.
1. Foods that are rich in Omega-3 oils: Sardines and salmon are two good examples of fish that are high in Omega-3s. A can of sardines has 1.5 grams of Omega-3 oils, and 110% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin D. A US study found that mature women who had higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in their diets had bigger brain volumes than participants with lower levels.
If fish isn’t your thing, walnuts, avocados and Chia seeds, and flax seeds are good sources of Omega fatty acids. Plus these foods have the added benefit of being good sources of fiber.
2. Pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds are rich in Vitamin-E which supports memory skills. They also contain tryptophan which is known to promote good sleep habits. And well all know that a good night’s sleep is essential to feel happy and healthy.
3. Turkey: Speaking of tryptophans, turkey is another good source of this mood-boosting, sleep-enhancing chemical.
4. Spinach: We all know that Pop Eye the Sailorman’s favorite food when he needed a boost of strength, energy, and courage was a can of spinach. Spinach helps fight fatigue. Fatigue is often accompanied by irritability, indecisiveness, and overall brain-fogginess. The key nutrient in spinach, lutein, also improves memory function.
Why not make yourself a salad of fresh spinach, turkey breast, and pumpkin seeds? Throw in some tangy fruit such a fresh strawberries, blueberries, or dried cranberries, then drizzle with a heart-healthy olive oil dressing.
Important reminder about using food to enhance your mood:
Consuming a healthy balance of the right food can be an effective way to help boost your mood. But if you’re struggling with depression or mood swings, talk to your doctor, naturopath, or other healthcare provider. It's important that you seek professional care to help identify the underlying cause of a persistent depressed mood. Once you have a proper mental health plan to deal with your depression, consider using the foods above as an enhancement, not replacement, to your mental health care plan.
It’s your health. Take care of it and don’t be afraid to ask for guidance and support.
Brain Health Special Report, Chatelaine Magazine; Superfoods: Nature’s Healers, Chatelaine Magazine (special edition insert), April 2014
© 2016 Sadie Holloway