Do you notice that whenever you’re getting the blues, you usually crave high-sugar, high-calorie foods like cake and ice cream? It’s an all-too-common occurrence, and then your mood is better and the world is a happy place again.
Beware, though, because this can give you a sugar rush, which in the long term is likely to be helpful for your health. Instead, you should consume natural, raw, wholesome foods that have been proven to help uplift one’s mood and promote overall health.
Here are foods to help you get started on the positivity train:
- Dark chocolate – Chocolate isn’t a certified happiness-inducing food for nothing. It’s rich in mood-increasing compounds, including theobromine, caffeine, and N-acetylanolamine, which is a substance chemically similar to cannabinoids, a mood improver in a number of studies. It’s also chock full of flavonoids, known to increase blood flow to the brain, slash inflammation, and aid brain health. Since most milk chocolate products are filled with sugar and fat, dark chocolate is your best bet for mood enhancement.
- Fatty fish – Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to lower levels of depression. And why not, when they help the cell membranes of the brain become fluid and contribute to brain development as well as cell signaling? Omega-3s are found in abundance in fatty fish like salmon and tuna – feast on these a few times a week.
- Oats and whole grains – These are fiber-rich foods that can help keep your blood sugar stable, versus when you eat refined sugar and flour products. A stabilized blood sugar level can help regulate brain neurotransmitter secretions. Oats, too, can be enjoyed in several forms, from oatmeal to muesli to granola bars.
- Fermented foods – Kimchi is a staple Korean food commonly seen in K-drama and shows. Like yogurt, kombucha, lassi, and sauerkraut, it undergoes fermentation, which allows live bacteria to thrive in foods that are able to convert sugars into alcohols and acids. This way, probiotics or “good” bacteria are created, supporting health bacterial growth in the gut. The good news is the process may increase serotonin levels and therefore improve your mood.
- High-quality protein – Grass-fed beef and similar high-quality protein sources aren’t just a real treat for the palate. They are also an important building block for a mood-enhancing diet. Research shows that grass-fed beef has plenty of healthy fats like omega-3, which can help combat depression.
- Bananas – Many fruits and vegetables can help improve mood, but we’re singling this one out for its high levels of vitamin B6, which helps synthesize neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. When there’s better mood control and stable blood sugar levels, you can avoid mood swings and irritability (especially when blood sugar goes too low).
- Nuts and seeds – We’re capping off this list with these sources of plant-based proteins, fiber, and healthy fats. In addition, they also offer tryptophan, an amino acid that produces serotonin. You have a lot of choices around, including almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pumpkin and sunflower seeds You can even sprinkle sesame seeds on dishes to get your fix.
At a time like the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to take control of your emotional wellness. Start with helping improve your mood with the food you eat – like an instant and affordable mood and brain enhancement program! Add this to the things that you do with your time. Exercise, start a new hobby, meditate, and sleep well to fight the blues.