Are you tired of feeling down in the dumps all the time? If so, you are not alone. But don’t worry, there are things you can do to help lift your mood. Did you know that you can actually change your mood with food? Yep! You heard that right.
So, let’s talk about food for your brain. Food that can naturally help lift your spirits. But first, let’s start with what causes sad moods and depression, and why eating can make you feel happier. Then we’ll go over how to change your mood with food.
What Causes Sad Moods?
Many things can cause you to feel sad and depressed. Depression is different than occasional sadness or a down-in-the-dumps feeling. Your sadness could be something as simple as lower-than-usual blood sugar levels. Eating regularly and eating foods that release energy can help with that. However, consistent sadness and depression could be caused by a medical condition, genetics, changes in your brain, or something else. Therefore, if you consistently feel depressed, it’s best to talk with your doctor to determine what treatment is recommended for your specific situation.
Why Eating Makes You Feel Happier
There are parts of your brain that regulate serotonin. Serotonin is what regulates your mood and promotes sleep. Additionally, when you eat, your brain signals your body to release dopamine. Dopamine creates a feel-good sensation and gives you a positive outlook. That’s why you feel better when you eat. It’s also why you feel even better when you eat some foods versus other foods (more about that in a moment). Therefore, food plays a huge role in how you feel each day. Here are some great dopamine boosters.
Now let’s talk about food for mood enhancement and food for your brain.
Foods That Help Change Your Mood
Here are some of the foods proven to help fight depression and lift your mood.
Salmon and other fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are known as being a great food for your brain. Low levels of omega-3s are associated with depression.
Yes, we hear some of you saying yuk! But if it helps make you feel better, then maybe you could give them another try. A psychiatry professor at Columbia University is recommending them. Why? Because oysters, mollusks, and shellfish are great sources of zinc, and zinc plays a key role in your brain’s behavior, mental clarity, and how your brain functions.
· Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are the top plant foods with the highest nutrients. Foods such as spinach, collards, kale, cabbage, and watercress are all high in vitamin C, folate, and beta-carotene. People lacking folate are more prone to depression. Peppers and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli can be added for additional nutrition and food for mood.
All berries, but especially wild blueberries, are exceptional for improving your mood because they have high levels of vitamin C and polyphenols that protect your brain cells from free radicals while promoting proper brain function.
· Fermented Foods
Studies show that probiotic-rich and fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, and kombucha, as well as fermented dairy products like yogurt all improve your gut health. Gut bacteria aid in the development of mental health. So adding fermented foods and other probiotic-rich foods can significantly reduce depression and sadness.
· Other Foods That Will Help Improve Your Mood
There are lots of foods that will improve your mood. For example, turmeric, walnuts, lean proteins (eggs, poultry, fish, etc.), beans, flaxseed, cauliflower, and selenium-rich foods like organ meats, Brazil nuts, oatmeal, brown rice, flour tortillas, and more.
Foods to Avoid If You Want to Prevent Sadness
Here are a few of the foods (and drinks) you should avoid eating if you want to prevent sadness.
- Fried foods
- Processed meats
- High-fat dairy products
- Refined cereals
- Energy drinks
- Soy sauce
Although water is not technically food, drinking plain water is associated with a decrease in depression and anxiety in adults. So don’t forget to drink plenty of water every day.
Go ahead and try some of these mood-boosting foods for a better day today and every day!
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.