9 mood-boosting foods to fade your Monday blues
A 2019 study published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine shows a strong relationship between nutrition and depression.
And it’s not just depression, a whole array of emotions can be linked to what you’re eating. While genetics, sleep deficiency, stress and nutritional deficiencies can affect how you feel, so can what you eat.
For example, the involvement of certain nutrients like tryptophan, magnesium, polyphenols, and omega-3 fatty acids can impact your mood.
No, we’re not joking; you can now include chocolate in your list of food that makes you happy without even feeling guilty about it! A 2013 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology stated that cocoa polyphenols are proven to impact your mood positively. People who consumed a large amount of cocoa polyphenols through dark chocolate drinks were reported to feel more content and calmer than those who didn’t take cocoa polyphenols.
Chocolate is rich in antioxidants which may protect your brain against cognitive decline and increase your serotonin levels. Moreover, there’s no harm in indulging in an ounce of dark chocolate every day!
Nuts are filled with plant-based proteins, fibre, and healthy fats. They are also rich in tryptophan, an amino acid known for enhancing your production of serotonin, the chemical responsible for making you feel happy.
Nuts that can be labelled as foods that improve your mood include—almonds, peanuts, pistachios, and walnuts. You can never go wrong with eating a handful of these super snacks or even a spoonful of your favourite nut butter daily. Eat them raw, roasted or even in the form of nut butter and you are set!
3. Green Tea
Green tea has withstood the test of time by testifying its significance in relaxing your mind and inducing mental clarity and cognitive function.
Loaded with antioxidants, a warm and soothing cup of green tea on cold winter mornings can have an instant soothing effect on your mood. Moreover, you can even kick off your afternoon fatigue with this super mood-stabilising food. Not just this, it has even been proven to contain cancer-fighting properties along with chronic condition-reducing characteristics.
While salmon is not found natively in India, there is another fish quite similar to it, known as Indian Salmon or Rawas fish. It contains an essential compound known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that assists your brain in maintaining the central nervous system of your body. Moreover, salmon is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids that can positively affect your serotonin levels. Fish also has a positive effect on your metabolism and heart.
5. Green Leafy Vegetables
There’s a reason why parents always force us to eat our green vegetables regularly because they’re super good for our mind. Besides being packed with loads of health benefits, especially in winter, a regular dose of greens in your meals can also uplift your mood.
Greens provide a packed punch of vitamin B folates, which boost your brain’s activities. People going through depression have lower folate levels, which is also the main cause behind their brain’s inability to absorb serotonin, dopamine, and other mood-controlling neurotransmitters. So, don’t skip your greens like spinach and broccoli!
Treating yourself to a daily breakfast of avocado and toast is a great self-care tip to follow. Why? Because avocados are known to be another magical mood-enhancing food. This green fruit is rich in vitamins that promote the metabolism of neurotransmitters known to reduce stress and improve your mood.
Additionally, avocados are high in vitamins E, C, and fibre, making them a perfect dose of health for you.
The humble chickpea is actually your road to happiness! They are loaded with vital amino acids like tryptophan, along with vitamin B6 and folate. Since tryptophan is present in chickpeas, this food can boost your mood by converting itself into serotonin, which helps relax your mood.
Though bananas won’t immediately lift your mood since they cannot directly tell your brain to supply serotonin, a 2007 study published in Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience indicates that they might play a crucial role in indirectly increasing the ability of your brain to produce serotonin. Bananas can do this by releasing vitamin B6 essential to make and use serotonin in your body.
In addition to this, they are also an excellent source of fibre, providing 12 per cent of daily required fibre for adults.
9. Sweet Potatoes
Another mood-stabilising food on this list has to be sweet potatoes! It contains the antioxidant beta-carotene, which helps in reducing free radical damage caused to the brain. In addition, sweet potatoes can prevent oxidative stress that can lead to DNA damage, causing common emotional issues like depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.
Treat yourself to a sweet potato snack in the form of delicious roasted fries, or make them a healthy sweet dish by baking them into your oatmeal or pancake batter! This yummy multitasking ingredient is rich in vitamin B6, an essential coenzyme for developing your cognitive ability.