Mood and Food: Which Foods Does Your Brain Love?
Food is essentially meant to be a means of fuel for our bodies. It is what keeps our body – and mind – healthy and functioning properly. Somewhere along the way, however, we have clouded the line between eating because we need to and eating because we want to. Why? Because we want to eat what tastes good.
If you haven’t been feeling yourself lately or have been feeling down, it could be the result of the food you have been consuming, among many other potential causes. Believe it or not, it is possible to find foods that are good for you and your mood, and at the same time will quite please your taste buds. Know what foods to run to and what to avoid, and you will discover that you will start to love the way you feel.
Check out these powerful foods for your mood.
Nuts are great for your body. They are full of healthy fats, antioxidants, minerals, and other important nutrients. They are also known to give a big boost to serotonin (a neurotransmitter), which plays a key role in regulating mood, among several other functions. Some of the top nuts that have been shown to increase serotonin levels are: walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts.
Talk about making you feel good and lifting your mood! Be mindful that nuts are high in calories so be sure to watch how many you consume. A handful a day could come in handy when feeling down!
Juicy, sweet, and delicious – grapes are very tasty and super healthy. They contain many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds and have several health benefits, including enhancing cardiovascular and cognitive health. A recent study found that grapes may help people suffering from depression and anxiety.
Bananas are not only a delightful treat, they are also one of the most nutritious foods as they are loaded with vitamins, fiber, minerals, and tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid and a precursor for serotonin. In other words, it helps your body produce more of the “happy” neurotransmitter serotonin, which is associated with better mood and lower anxiety.
Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made from fermented vegetables, usually Chinese cabbage or Korean radish. Fermented foods are a source of good bacteria, which is very helpful for your digestive system. They are also a rich source of several vitamins and nutrients that are good for your brain. Kimchi has been shown to fight off common mental conditions, such as depression and anxiety.
Although people usually feel guilty when eating chocolate, there are a lot of good reasons to eat dark chocolate. It has the ability to reduce stress hormones and reduce symptoms of anxiety (read more on webmd). Dark chocolate has also been found to improve cognitive functions, enhance blood flow, and improve heart health. Now you have a legitimate excuse to eat the chocolate – so go ahead, moderately!
Salmon – among other fatty fish, such as tuna, sardines, herring, mackerel, etc. – is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Omega-3 fats have several proven benefits for the brain and body, two of which are boosting mood and fighting cognitive decline. The human body gets most of the omega-3 it needs from food intake, so it should be consumed regularly.
Food is powerful, especially when it comes to affecting your mood. Eating because it tastes good won’t necessarily make you feel good. But, eating the right nutrient-rich foods – many of which are also tasty – can change your mood for the better and leave you feeling relaxed and calm. What more can you ask for in a meal?