Hippocrates once said, “Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.” Through time, foods like dates and elderberries have been used as mood enhancers. Modern scientists have found that many foods have the power to trigger the brain to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating sleep, appetite, impulse control, and mood. While research has illuminated a number of mood boosters we can add to our diets, there are still many variables to consider in the mood food connection.
How To Improve Your Mood With Food…
- Tryptophan-Containing Foods
Since tryptophan is the amino acid that your body uses to produce serotonin, it’s no surprise that foods like bananas, clams, eggs, escargot, nuts, octopus, oysters, pineapple, plums, spinach, squid, and turkey can boost our mood.
Why do people always binge on potato chips when they’re feeling bummed out? Many carbs are categorized as foods that help your mood, so perhaps it’s an unconscious form of self-medicating. Mood foods include: baked or mashed potatoes, oats and wholegrain cereals.
Chocolate contains a number of psychoactive chemicals like anandamines, tyramine, phenylethylamine, theobromine and caffeine. All of these stimulants act similar to cannabis and amphetamine in the body to produce a euphoric high.
Caffeine is the most commonly used psychoactive substance in the world. Since caffeine blocks adenosine receptors in the brain, it can relieve headaches, drowsiness and fatigue. In the short run, you may find that a cup of coffee or tea may help if you’re feeling a little sluggish or dull.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
A University of Pittsburgh Medical Center study found that low levels of Omega-3 in the blood are linked to depression. Omega-3 fatty acids make our cell membranes more fluid, which facilitates brain development and function. So, be sure to add some wild fish, raw nuts and other healthy oils into your diet.
- B-Vitamins / Thiamine
A study by Benton & Donohoe (1999) found that people with an insufficient amount of B1 / thiamine were more introverted, inactive, fatigued, less confident, and in a poorer mood than their peers. Adding thiamine to the participants’ diet was found to help in all areas. This B-vitamin can be found in squash, asparagus, beans, cauliflower, eggs, oranges, and pork.
Iron deficiency is associated with depression, lethargy and difficulty focusing. Asparagus, broccoli, dried fruits, greens, liver, meat, parsley, and seafood are all rich in iron.
- Folic Acid
Folic acid deficiency has been linked with depression as well. Foods like dark leafy greens, grapefruits, nuts, organ meat, poultry, and sprouts are excellent sources of this mood-enhancing nutrient.