It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that following a healthy diet is good for us. But did you know that there are foods that can elevate your mood?
We often seek comfort in our food choices, opting for warm and cozy stews and soups in winter and refreshing snacks in summer. Often we can feel sluggish and slow after too much of some food – especially junk food – but it’s time to kick those bad habits to the curb.
So, let’s get started! Here are some foods to boost your mood.
Omega-3 fatty acids
A balanced diet is crucial for a healthy body and a happy mood. Omega-3 fatty acids aren’t produced by our bodies on their own, so it’s time to turn to food!
Some great sources include:
Serotonin is responsible for regulating brain function – including mood. These omega-3 rich foods help to raise these all-important levels, as well as helping your brain release dopamine.
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Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter, released during excitement or pleasure. Yep, orgasms included, ladies!
Chocolate, in small, dark amounts is actually quite good for us. Dark chocolate – at least 70% cacao – has excellent mood-boosting abilities. So always opt for the good, rich stuff!
If you’re looking for some extra tryptophan – which increases those happy chemicals – incorporating some extra dark chocolate into your diet is a must. It also has the ability to help improve reaction time, can make you more alert and increase circulation to the brain. Clever stuff!
Plus, word on the grapevine, dark chocolate can also improve your sex life. Bonus.
Asparagus may not look like much, but these delicious green stalks are actually packing a powerful punch! Incredibly common for plant-based dieters, they are an excellent source of tryptophan – the key to increasing serotonin levels.
Serotonin is super important for a whole manner of things, including brain health and mood. As well as appetite, memory and sleep. So if you love to catch those ZZZs, be sure to add some asparagus into your diet.
Typically, those who feel anxious or experience a lot of bad moods are low in serotonin. So if you’re not quite feeling yourself, get that asparagus on your plate!
Fruits and vegetables
We all know how important fruit and veg is for a healthy, balanced diet – but are you sourcing the mood-boosters amongst them? Fruit and vegetables are packed with vitamin B, with studies showing it to increase those all-important happy chemicals.
To give you everything you need to know, check out the following:
- B2 in foods such as mushrooms and spinach
- B3 in avocado
- B6 in bananas
- B9 in broccoli
Of all the vitamins Bs, B12 is one of the most crucial for serotonin production – helping to boost and regulate your moods. So, ladies, get those greens in!
Green tea or coffee
While your usual cup of coffee in the morning will kickstart your day, if you’re feeling a little sluggish, give green tea a try.
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As well as your usual caffeine-fuelled coffee break, green tea is an incredibly mood-booster and pick-me-up! Plus, it is packed with plenty of health benefits due to its antioxidants.
Don’t go overboard with the caffeine, however, or you could experience a “crash” later in the day.
A common ingredient in hair masks due to its moisturising abilities, coconut oil is great for your hair, skin and even your mood. As an MCT oil (medium chain triglycerides), it provides a strong source of energy that is utilised immediately – avoiding being stored as fat.
Although frequently used in cooking, did you know that the scent of coconut oil is enough to boost your mood? Yep, the natural scent triggers a “fight or flight” response in stressful situations, kicking our brain into gear.
So, however you like to use it, get that beautiful coconut scent going!
A wonderful food to help you feel fuller for longer, quinoa is a complex carbohydrate and complete protein. Making it perfect as part of a balanced, healthy diet!
It also helps to keep your blood sugar levels in check, avoiding those dips in mood and energy. If you frequently find yourself feeling hangry, add some quinoa to your shopping list and kick that urge to snack to the curb. Oh, and did I mention, it’s gluten free!
Paired with delicious vegetables, it makes for an easy meal that’ll give you the mood boost you need.
Although we’re commonly told that carbs are a no-go, in the right amount (and in the right form!), they can be great for improving your mood and well-being.
If you’re anything like me, I often forget about breakfast, but it really is the most important meal of the day. Try a bowl of oats first thing, not only are they super filling, but they’ll set you up for the day ahead.
There are plenty of complex carbohydrates around, which are slow-digesting and super tasty. Give sweet potato, brown rice, oats and whole grain pasta a try.