Regardless you’re working in a corporate environment or at home, stress is very common. An unmanaged constant stress can result to anxiety and even depression. Hence, it is essential to have some sort of stress management activities to keep stress minimal and under control. Besides stress-relieving activities, you can boost your mood by eating mood boosting foods.
Stress does a lot of negative impacts to our body including bad impact on heart health. So, take care of your stress by eating mood boosting foods in addition to doing stress-busting activities.
Some of these foods don’t require cooking like nuts. So, you can eat them while grounding yourself.
10 Mood Boosting Foods
We’re going to explore 10 of the most popular mood boosting foods. Although there are far many more foods to boost your mood, these 10 can be a good kickstart. You don’t even need to eat them all at once.
Simply eat what you can have conveniently and start with that food.
We’ll start journey exploring the mood boosting foods with banana. This is a good one to start with as it is widely available. Unfortunately, there are more people eating highly processed foods than a banana.
This fruit contains tryptophan, an amino acid that helps increase serotonin level. As a matter of fact, due to its serotonin-boosting property, tryptophan is used in treatment for conditions such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
Other nutrients contain in the banana include vitamins A, B6 and C. it also rich in dietary fiber, iron, phosphorous, potassium, and carbohydrate. The complex carbohydrate in banana helps the brain absorb tryptophan.
On the other hand, the B6 vitamin converts tryptophan into serotonin. This process helps lift the mood making you feel good. The dosage is simple. Simply eat a medium-sized banana in the morning with your breakfast or as a mid-morning snack.
Water is vital for health. In fact, water is life, isn’t it?
Liquids such as clean drinking water provide hydration and nourishment for the body. One of the most common problems is mild dehydration. When this happens, a loss of concentration is one of the symptoms.
So, instead of thinking taking a medication, drink a glass of water. Even if you feel an untimely hunger, drink a glass of water. Proper hydration is vital for mental and physical functions.
How much should you drink? Check and read tips here.
3. Brazil Nuts
A handful of nuts is packed with nutrients. Brazil nuts are among the popular nuts.
It is rich in selenium. Studies find that individuals with low level of selenium are at high risk of irritability, tiredness, depression and anxiety. One study1 in 1991 finds that low selenium level is linked to anxiety, depression, and tiredness.
Consuming just three Brazil nuts daily provide the body’s daily recommended amount of selenium. Additionally, be creative and crush the Brazil nuts and sprinkle it into a mid-morning banana snack.
This makes you consume two mood boosting foods at one time. Crushed Brazil nuts are also delicious on salads. So, try it and find more creative ways to eat it.
Spinach is one of the nutrient-dense dark green leafy vegetables. Green leafy vegetables like spinach are rich in B vitamins such as Vitamins B3, B6, B12, and folate.
These B vitamins are essential in preventing depression due to low serotonin level. They’re essential to boosting the serotonin production.
If you don’t have spinach, broccoli is a good substitute and other dark green leafy veggies.
A cup of cooked spinach contains close to 30% of B vitamins recommended daily allowance.
5. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is one of the popular aphrodisiac foods. One square of organic dark chocolate allows the brain to release endorphins.
At the same time, it also boosts the production of serotonin essential to lifting up the mood.
One study3 finds that dark chocolate eaters have less stress. Additionally, the levels of anxiety are also low.
Two small dark chocolates are all you need daily. Eating the entire bar is not as healthy as you think.
Additionally, drinking hot chocolate from pure cacao is also one of the best options. This type of hot choco provides an almost instant boost in energy and mood.
Just like other organic whole foods, lentils are rich in complex carbohydrates. Just like bananas, the complex carbohydrates trigger the brain to produce more serotonin. Hence, enhancing the good feeling and mood.
This allows a calmer state of mind, as well as happier resulting in less anxiety. Lentils are also good blood sugar stabilizer further boosting good mood.
In addition, lentils are also rich in folate similar to Spinach. Plus, lentils are good energy boosters, too as it boosts iron levels.
Turn a cup of lentils into a soup or stew and you’re good to go.
7. Chicken and Turkey
Chicken breasts help increase tryptophan. The same is true with turkey breasts. Earlier we’ve learned that tryptophan is serotonin booster produced by the brain to lift the mood. It also essential in the production of sleep hormone, melatonin.
Aside from tryptophan, the lean meats from chicken and turkey breasts also contain another amino acid, tyrosine. Tyrosine is also vital in the production of hormone adrenaline. Low levels of adrenaline are linked with depression.
It’s not necessarily to eat chicken and turkey breasts. Including them in soups like lentil soup a few times a week is good enough.
They can also be easily included in sandwiches and salads.
8. Fatty Fishes
Fats from fatty fishes are the healthiest fats humans can eat. In fact, fatty fishes are staples in a ketogenic diet.
Fatty fishes like sardines, tuna, halibut, and salmon contain Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory. Low levels of Omega-3 is linked to low mood and depression.
The tissues of our brains consist mainly of fatty acids. As a matter of fact, approximately 60% of the brain’s weight is made from fat, and 30% of it is Omega-3 fatty acids.
Regular consumption of Omega-3 fats lift the mood and keep the brain healthy. It also boosts serotonin production.
Omega-3 fatty acids are available in supplements form. But the best way to get them is through fatty fishes preferably wild. Eat at least 140 grams per serving each week.
Additionally, studies4 find that zinc is helpful in improving depression along with SSRIs. One study5 in 2006 says low level of zinc is linked to major depression and propose zinc as a new antidepressant.
Moreover, oysters just like chicken and turkey breasts are rich in tyrosine, an amino acid for boosting mental function and good mood.
Eating three oysters a day provides 100% recommended daily allowance of zinc.
Zinc supplementations are also available for a further boost. But, getting them naturally from oysters are highly recommended as you’ll other nutrients like tyrosine.
10. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is not really a food, but a hormone. But since we’re talking about boosting mood, including Vitamin D is important.
The best source for the right kind of vitamin D is sunshine. Although there are foods rich in vitamin D, too.
Studies find clear evidence in the link of vitamin D and depression. And that, vitamin D supplementation could play a role in depression treatment6.
So, eat foods rich in vitamin D. You can combine it with vitamin D supplementations, too. But most of all, don’t be shy to see the sun whenever you can.
There you have it! The 10 mood boosting foods you should be eating regularly. Certainly, there are far more many other foods, but these 10 should help you get started.
If there are mood boosting foods, there are also foods that are bad for mood, unfortunately.
Mood-Crashing Foods To Avoid
Here are the foods you should avoid, or at least minimize its consumption.
- Caffeine – Caffeine is good for the brain and it boost concentration. However, too much of it can hurt you. Complete avoidance of caffeine is not necessary, but moderation is key.
- Sugar – This refers to refined sugars and other refined sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners like aspartame. Table sugar may not be bad at all, but sugar consumption can easily add up. To avoid it, read this tips on minimizing sugar consumption.
- Alcohol – A few shots of red wine spread throughout the week is good. However, drinking too much of it is unhealthy. Although alcohol provides a short burst of pleasant and relaxing feeling, it takes a toll the next day. It makes you feel anxious, irritable and moody.
Hopefully, you’ll find these helpful in your quest to maintaining good mood on-demand. It is not necessary to eat all these mood boosting foods at one sitting.
Lastly, maintaining a healthy gut matters, too especially that most of the neurotransmitter serotonin are produce in the gut.