We have all experienced bad moods on some days, but did you know that there are many natural mood enhancers? You can try out these mood boosting foods to lift you out of those bad moods, as there is a sure connection between food and mood.
What are feel good foods? They are foods that change your mood and make you happier. A healthy diet consisting of these foods that improve mood will help you deal with depression and mood swings, thereby proving the connection between food and happiness. Moreover, it will also help you contain that growing waistline.
There are a variety of such foods, consisting of fruits, veggies as well as grains and nuts. According to the recommendations for depression published in Nutritional Neuroscience, eating such healthy foods and cutting down on processed foods can help you deal better with depression and bad moods.
Top 10 Feel Good and Mood Boosting Foods
Go Nuts: Brazil Nuts, Walnuts, Almonds
It tops the mood enhancing foods list. It’s truly a miracle food! An ounce of mixed nuts can lead to increased serotonin in your body.
- Walnut, almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts and so on can create a lot of positive changes in your body.
- Serotonin reduces hunger pangs, boosts your mood and improves the health of your heart as well.
Note: Lowered serotonin levels have been connected with depression. Whatever keeps your heart healthy is also good for your mood and brain!
- Almonds contain amino acid tyrosine, which is crucial for manufacturing dopamine.
Dopamine activates pleasure systems in the brain, provides motivation and the will to meet challenges in life.
Fatty Fish is a Moodbooster
Fish is the best source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Scientists have found that societies where people do not eat sufficient omega 3s (vitamins for good mood) have higher rates of depression disorders.
- The fatty acids found in fish like mackerel; bluefish; tuna; wild salmon and some others have mood boosting properties.
- Healthy fat that is present in mackerel and swordfish as well as herring are of prime importance in the fight against depression.
- Research has shown that people who are depressed are generally low on fish fats, so consumption of fatty or oily fish could stabilize their mood.
- Such mood boosting foods are also good for overall health, as they reduce inflammation, the risk of heart disease and also improve blood circulation among others.
- Healthy fats in fish come in the form of omega 3.
Tip: Mackerel has one of the highest concentrations of omega 3s.
Recently, there have been several reports that a Mediterranean diet can protect you against depression and is the best mood food. There are very few cases of depression in the Mediterranean countries as they consume mood lifting foods regularly.
- This means a diet that contains a lot of fresh vegetables that contain a lot of mood enhancing vitamins, whole grains, legumes as well as olive oil.
- A mediterranean diet can also benefit the brain in other ways, such as offering protection against cognitive decline.
- Mediterranean diet is rich in omega 3 fatty acids as well as monounsaturated fats and consists of mood enhancers.
- It satisfies the muscles craving for protein; the digestive system with its need for fiber and the tissues and bones of the body by providing vitamins for good mood.
Grass Fed Beef
Grass fed beef is one of the natural mood enhancers food and contains lower levels of fat, almost a third less than the factory bred ones and is among the best mood enhancing foods.
- It constitutes lean meat, which is lower in calories and cholesterol levels as well.
- Grass fed beef contains omega 3.
- Since no artificial hormones are involved, they are better for boosting beta carotene, vitamin E as well as Omega 3 levels.
- Though it is more expensive, it also tastes better.
Spinach – One of the Foods that make you Happy
There is a reason why Popeye seems so happy! Spinach has several health benefits, but it can also fight mental disorders like depression and rightfully takes its place among the natural mood boosters.
- The folic acid provides immunity against several diseases that can lead to depression.
Tip: Low levels of folate have been linked with depression and low levels of folate also make an antidepressant less effective.
- Spinach also contains magnesium that fights anxiety and is one of the mood boosters for depression.
- The selenium; niacin; and the Omega 3 present in spinach keeps the mood up.
- It also relieves pain, as it gets attached to the opioid receptors, offering a feel good effect.
Turkey – A Good Mood Food
Foods rich in tryptophan are known to reduce depression. Tryptophan increases the serotonin levels in your body.
- There’s a reason why Thanksgiving dinner makes you so happy. It’s the ultimate stress buster and mood booster.
- Turkey is one of the best foods for fighting depression due to its tryptophan content, which increases the feel good chemical, serotonin, in the body.
A study concerning 70,000 postmenopausal women reported that consuming whole grains could result in lowered rates of depression. On the other hand, refined grains are connected with increased depression.
- Again, whole grains are rich in the amino acids known as tryptophan.
- Whole grains also promote good sleep patterns, as they lead to improved production of melatonin, which keeps depression away.
- Whole grains also keep blood sugar levels steady, thereby stabilize your moods.
- They also contain beneficial nutrients, fiber and mood boosting vitamins.
Fermented food and beverages have been around for centuries. In addition to their regular benefits of nutritional and medicinal value, they can also contribute towards positive mental health.
- It enhances the production of intestinal microbiota, which enhances production of serotonin and dopamine.
- Such foods include yogurt; kefir; fermented soy; soy milk; fish sauce; honey; red wine; fermented rice and wheat bran; sourdough bread; buckwheat sprouts, etc.
- Fermented foods contain a lot of good bacteria, have pain relieving properties, reduce the burden of toxins in the gut. People with poor mental health have reduced gut health.
- Fermented beverages improves mood, cognition, depression; anxiety and anger.
Honey has been used to fight depression since time immemorial. Romans used it for happiness.
- You can take it directly or in water; milk; yogurt or in some fresh fruit juices.
- It improves the immune system and mental energy.
- Strawberries dipped in honey are effective as mood enhancers.
- The kaempferol and the quercetin present in honey improve brain health.
- It also contains tryptophan, which causes sleep.
Who wouldn’t love to indulge in chocolate treats? The good news is that dark chocolate can be a great mood alleviator.
- Dark chocolate is recommended for those with Parkinson disease; autism; ADHD; stroke and concussion disorders.
- It also has antioxidant, anti inflammatory properties.
- Flavonols present in dark chocolate reduce memory loss, help regulating the moods and reduce depression.
Note: Some French scientists recently conducted a test where they gave rats some dark chocolate extract and the rats passed the depression tests with great excellence. Interestingly, the test is conducted like this: they put the rats in a cylinder with water. The ones that are happy try to escape whereas the depressed ones don’t. Don’t worry:) All the rats are finally rescued, depressed or not!å
Tip: Opt for chocolates that contain 85% or more of cocoa. The darker the better for those dark moods. Sorry to say, milk chocolate and white chocolate does not qualify!
We all go through bad moods and need something to lift us out of it, with some people even opting for mood supplements. During such times, just open up your fridge and see if you can find these and other mood boosting foods, that are also delicious, satisfying and healthful.
You surely must have craved for certain sweet or fatty foods when you’re in the blues. Well, you’re not alone. When we enter a healthy eating plan, we curb these cravings for junk foods and enhance our energy levels. These foods can ease the symptoms of depression and help you lead a happier and more productive life.
A lot of factors contribute to depression, but we should not forget what we put into our mouths. Diet can play a huge role in keeping depression away. Most cases of depression can be significantly improved or even cured completely by changing the diet and nutritional intake.
Depression could also be caused partly or even wholly by low quality of foods or an imbalanced diet. Your brain needs to produce hormones for happiness and motivation and for this it needs the proper vitamins, proteins, antioxidants and nutrients from nutritious food. Good food good mood: you are what you eat, so if you want to fight depression and stabilize your moods, grab these mood boosters!