How to Improve Your Mood Through Good Food
By Sara Butler
You know the drill. You’ve had a terrible day, so you head straight for the kitchen to pull out your favorite calorie-dense treat. People tend to reach for food to help them feel better when they’re down. While emotional eating isn’t advised, eating in a way to impact your emotions might just be worth considering!
You are what you eat -- and if you want to boost your mood, then you can do that through food. Here are a few of the foods you should add to your diet to help give your mood a bump.
Boost Your Mood With Food: Really?
There are a lot of factors that influence your mood, but a growing body of research does suggest there is a link between mental health and diet. However, your diet doesn’t simply exist in a vacuum. Other factors, such as stress, genetics, poor sleep, and your environment can also influence your mood. Nevertheless, there are some foods that have been shown to improve brain health and also improve some mood disorders, so including a few of these foods in your diet is a great idea!
Your Feelings on Fatty Fish
Fatty fish is full of something your brain craves: omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fats have to be a part of your diet because your body cannot produce them on its own and these fats happen to be linked to a lower level of depression.
You should make sure to include fatty fish such as salmon and tuna in your diet a couple of times per week so you can reap the benefits and possibly lower your risk of depression.
Your Brain on Bananas
Bananas are high in Vitamin B6, which helps your brain make the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine -- you know, the feel-good neurotransmitters.
Bananas also happen to be an excellent source of prebiotic fiber and natural sugars, which can help to keep your blood sugar stable, something else that can help to stabilize your moods and keep you from getting hangry.
Your Disposition on Dark Chocolate
Yes, chocolate can be good for you! Dark chocolate contains less sugar than its milk or white brethren and is full of health-promoting compounds called flavonoids. Flavonoids have been shown to help reduce inflammation, increase the flow of blood to the brain, and boost overall brain health. Each of these can support a more stable mood. Plus, it just tastes good and that always helps you feel a bit better.
Your Attitude on Avocados
Avocados are high in folate, a nutrient that can help to reduce anxiety. They’re also another food that is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your brain and your mood. The healthy fats in avocados have also been found to increase endorphins and raise dopamine levels. So go ahead, have a little guacamole -- it’s good for you!
Your Condition on Coffee
Coffee is the most popular drink in the world. Sure, it has the incredible ability to help give you a bit of energy to start off your morning, but it’s also good for your brain -- and not simply from the caffeine. Coffee contains phenolic compounds that can work to influence mood and give it a boost, which means even drinking decaffeinated coffee is good for your mood.
Your Emotions on Oatmeal
Oats are a whole grain, which makes them an excellent source of fiber. You may be wondering what on earth fiber has to do with your mood, but it has a big impact! When you eat foods high in fiber, it helps to slow the digestion of your brain’s favorite food group: carbohydrates.
This allows the sugar from the broken down carbohydrates to slowly release into your bloodstream and keep your energy level stable throughout the day. In other words, it helps keep your emotions stable by keeping your blood sugar stable -- and that will help you feel better emotionally any day of the week.
When you’re feeling down, you may want to reach for high-calorie foods in an attempt to lift your spirits. While this no doubt provides your body with a sugar rush, it doesn’t help you in the long run. Instead, you should try to incorporate healthy foods such as the ones listed here to help boost your mood right along with your overall health. And let’s face it -- being healthy is something you can feel really good about!
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