Ever eaten food to cope with stress, boredom, and sadness to uplift your spirits? If you answered this with a yes then still no need to worry. All of us have used foods to improve mood at some point. However, a problem might arise when we overindulge or eat foods that have high-calorie content.
Did you know you don’t have to do this? You know why? Because there are foods that improve your mood naturally and instantly! So why not indulge in healthy foods from now to uplift our spirits.
Here are the top foods that will improve your mood immediately.
These vegetables are highly rich in various nutrients. These include iron, B vitamins, and folate. Research has shown the link between folate and depression. People who have a deficiency of folate are more at risk for depression. This is why it is essential to incorporate leafy greens into your diet.
Iron and B vitamins also boost energy and the production of neurotransmitters. Incorporate leafy greens more in your diet to stabilize your mood. Here are some leafy greens that will boost your mood instantly:
- Swiss Chard
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
This is one of the best foods to improve mood and also a rich source of nutrients. Omega-3 is essential when it comes to the development of one’s nervous system and brain.
Studies have also shown that foods rich in Omega-3 help boost the production of neurotransmitters. People who consume this nutrient have lower levels of both anxiety and depression.
One important reason to consume this nutrient is that your body doesn’t produce it. This is why you need to rely on foods to provide you with this amazing nutrient.
It is great for health and mood and here are some foods you can eat to fulfill this nutrition requirement:
- Canola oil
Whole grains are one of the pillars of a healthy diet. Without them both our body and brain won’t remain healthy. This is why this one of the most important foods to improve mood. They are rich in Vitamin B1, B5, B6, and B12.
All these vitamins boost the production of serotonin and dopamine. They also provide energy and help keep our blood sugar levels stable. Whole grains also aid in digestion and boost metabolism due to high fiber content.
If you start consuming whole grains daily, it will improve your health significantly in the long run. Here are some whole grains you can use in your daily diet:
- Wild Rice
- Brown Rice
A neurotransmitter that is present in our brains is serotonin. It is also known as the “happy hormone”. One reason you might be feeling down is that the serotonin level in your brain might be low. Bananas are a great way to release hormones such as serotonin and dopamine.
They stabilize the mood and make you feel better by balancing your blood sugar levels as well. So, the next time you feel that your blood sugar level is unbalanced, try a banana!
If you want to be in a good mood all day then you should incorporate bananas in your breakfast. You can mix it with oats, granola or just make a banana milk shake!
While fermented foods go a long way in improving one’s gut health. Research has shown that these foods also send signals to the brain that balance the level of neurotransmitters.
Bacteria that are present in the gut, signals the brain to improve serotonin levels. This is emerging research and one that shows the link between gut health and mood.
Such foods when taken in moderation can help boost mood, immunity and gut health. If you want to be less irritable then you need to prioritize the health of your brain and your gut.
Here are some fermented foods you can include in your diet:
- Pickled vegetables
Vitamin-D Rich Foods
Studies show that people who have a Vitamin D deficiency are more prone to problems such as depression. Usually, when people hear Vitamin D they instantly think of sunlight. However, you can take in Vitamin D through the consumption of certain foods as well.
A vitamin D deficiency can also cause seasonal depression or mood disorders in young adults and adults. If you live in an area where the climate is colder or you work inside an office all day. Or for some reason, you don’t get much sunlight. Then you need to fulfill that deficiency with foods so you can feel better.
Here are foods to improve mood that are rich in vitamin D:
- Egg yolks
Yes, chocolate doesn’t just make you feel better because it is so delicious. It instantly fixes your mood because it is a rich source of many compounds that alleviate the mood. Chocolate is rich in N-acylethanolamine, phenylethylamine, caffeine, and many such compounds.
All of these work to improve mood and make one feel good instantly after consumption. Benefits of consuming chocolate include:
- Better brain health
- Boosts flow of blood to the brain
- Rich in antioxidants
- Reduces inflammation
However, one thing to remember is that normal chocolate has a high level of fat and sugar. This is why if you want to consume chocolate for mood regulation then you should opt for dark chocolate.
If you don’t like dark chocolate on its own then you can include it in other things. You can make dark chocolate pudding, energy balls or even ice cream!
Of course, there is a reason why people wake up and the first thing they consume is coffee. It is because caffeine boosts the production of dopamine in the brain. There have been many studies that also show the link between caffeine and depression.
People who consumed more caffeine were better protected against depression. Through the production of dopamine, it promotes feelings of euphoria and happiness. This is why many people consume it right before they start their day.
Another benefit of caffeine is that it enhances the circulation of blood in the body. This also improves blood flow to the brain which regulates your mood and makes it better.
However, do note that excess of anything is not good. This is why caffeine should also be consumed in moderation every day.
Such poultry for example chicken and turkey can also promote mood. It is one of the foods to improve mood that we might miss out on. Such poultry has amino acids present in them. These amino acids are then used by the body to boost the production of serotonin.
These are the kind of foods to improve mood that we consume regularly. They help keep our mood better and also provide nutrients such as zinc and vitamin B’s.
A moderate amount of lean poultry should be present in everyone’s diet.
Seeds and nuts
Nuts and seeds contain fatty acids and have a high level of protein. A handful of nuts should be consumed daily to help regulate mood and stay healthy.
Just like lean poultry, nuts also have amino acids that boost serotonin. You can find these in nuts such as:
Apart from that our mood is also dependent on the nutrients, we have in our body. This is why if we have a nutritional deficiency it directly impacts our mood. Seeds have many minerals and nutrients that our body needs.
They are rich in zinc, selenium, protein, and fiber. To boost your mood you can consume seeds such as:
- Chia seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
You don’t have to consume these seeds on their own. There are many great recipes out there that can help in making delicious snacks. Chia pudding is a great way to mix dark chocolate and chia seeds for a double boost of serotonin!
It is a well-known fact that incorporating more fruits into your diet is healthy for the brain and body. Fruits keep mood disorders at bay and help us in feeling fresh and healthy.
However, if you’re having a blue day then take the help of berries. They have a high content of antioxidants. They reduce inflammation and boost mood by getting rid of any bad compounds that are present in the body.
You can consume berries during breakfast or have them as snacks in between meals. It will also help curb your sweet cravings while helping you to feel better all day!
Anyone who is into fitness will tell you how great sweet potatoes. They are packed with nutrients that provide energy and boost mood. Sweet potatoes are rich in fiber, vitamins B and Vitamin C.
They are also a great way to curb cravings and feel full for a longer time. However, incorporating it in small doses will help you feel better and boost your mood in no time.
There are a variety of ways you can consume sweet potatoes:
- Steam or roast them and then sprinkle it with different spices
- Have them as fries
- Can even be used to make brownies
- Add them into your salads
- You can even make stuffed sweet potatoes using a variety of ingredients
Apart from using different foods to improve mood, you can even make some changes to your diet. A good strategy will get you far and also help in keeping mood stable regularly. Here are some improvisations you can make to get the most out of your diet.
Don’t underestimate the power of B vitamins
These vitamins are the best when it comes to improving brain function and health. Only when your brain is healthy it can produce serotonin and dopamine. This is why you must add something to your diet which has some form of B vitamins.
Take baby steps and incorporate them slowly. However, once you do you will see the benefits in the long run. It will also help keep stress at bay and you will feel better every day.
Make protein your best friend
Proteins have amino acids and we have already talked about how they can promote mood. You can get protein in your diet in many ways such as meat, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
Proteins help in balancing neurotransmitters so they don’t fall too low. This is why it is recommended that you take protein in a small portion daily.
Make sure your blood sugar level is balanced
When we don’t take care of our diets they can seriously affect our mood or health. Skipping meals or overeating can throw our blood sugar level out of balance. This directly affects the hormones as well.
This will instantly make you feel irritable and stressed. This is why it is essential that one stays on the right path and indulges in healthy eating. Incorporating everything in moderation in our diet will always improve our mood.
Don’t forget fats, the good kind!
Not all fat is bad for the body. While some may increase our cholesterol level, there are also good fats. Such fats are essential to the brain because it improves function and cognition.
Avocados are popular for reason. This is because they are good for the brain, which means they are great for mood stability. Incorporate healthy fats in your diet and see how your strong your brain and body become.
There are many varieties of foods to improve mood. However, it is not just about consuming those foods, but how you do that matters. Apart from having a healthy diet, one should also have a great strategy to get the most out of food.
If you feel irritable, cranky or down then start by making changes in food. Your diet has a direct effect on how you feel inward and outward. Incorporate all these mood-boosting foods into your diet and see how positively it affects your mood and life!
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Jeremy Park, the founder of jeremylife.com, is a love and relationships expert. With a journalism degree and years of exploration, he offers valuable insights to help you live your best love life. His mission is to make the journey enjoyable and effortless.