You are what you eat—and it turns out if you eat low quality food, you’ll experience a low quality mood. That’s right—a diet high in processed, refined foods has been linked to depression, anxiety, mood swings, hyperactivity, and a variety of other problems. In contrast, a diet rich in whole foods is more likely to leave you feeling whole and happy.
If you want to feel peaceful and happy, feed your brain nutrient-dense food. Here are five foods that have been shown to improve mood:
Salmon: Salmon is high in the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are considered brain foods—these essential fatty acids actually “cushion” the brain cells. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve mood, memory, and overall wellbeing. They have been linked to a decrease in depression and a decreased risk of dementia later in life. Other mood-boosting foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, mackerel, herring, and sardines.
Almonds: Almonds are rich in tyrosine, which is an amino acid that is considered one of the building blocks for the production of dopamine and other mood-associated neurotransmitters. Low levels of tyrosine have been associated with depression. While a handful of almonds is no cure for depression, foods rich in tyrosine can help boost mood. Other tyrosine-rich foods include chicken, turkey, sunflower seeds, and cheese.
Dark Leafy Greens: Greens like chard and spinach are packed with B vitamins and magnesium. Low levels of B vitamins (folate, B-6 and B-12) have been linked to depression. Low levels of magnesium have been linked to fatigue and brain fog. Magnesium has been shown to improve sleep, improve the ability to handle stress, and reduce the symptoms of PMS. B vitamins have been shown to prevent depression and reduce fatigue. There has never been a better reason to eat your dark, leafy greens!
Asparagus: Asparagus is an excellent source of tryptophan, which is one of the building blocks of serotonin, one of the brain’s primary mood-regulating neurotransmitters. What’s more, asparagus is high in the B vitamin, folate. In other words, asparagus has a double dose of components that are linked with improved mood.
Chocolate: You were hoping this one would make the list and it did. You’ve long known that chocolate has a tendency to make you feel better—and it’s not your imagination. Dark chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that bring on feelings of pleasure. It’s also rich in magnesium, B vitamins, and antioxidants—all linked with improved mood. Chocolate is no cure for long-term depression, but it will give you a temporary mood boost. Go for dark chocolate with a high cacao content.
Tags: Nutritional Know-How