How are you feeling? Could your mental state use an uplift? The stressors that we are being bombarded with can easily have consequences on our mental health. Do you know that you can impact the state of your mind by eating foods that boost your mood? I’m sure you have heard the famous quote from Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” This saying is something to live by. Before running off to the doctor, maybe ask yourself can I find something from nature that can heal me. This goes for mental health as well.
There has been a continuous rise in people having mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. What helps me get back on track when I am feeling anxious, depressed or overwhelmed, is I evaluate how I am treating my body, mind and spirit. Firstly, I look at my overall diet and I consciously try to include foods that are good for my mood. New research suggests getting the right foods into your diet regularly can shift your mental state. This includes taming your stress, reducing anxiety and fighting off depression. There are certain foods that boost your mood.
7 foods that boost your mood:
Chocolate: Studies show that dark chocolate helps with brain function and improvements in mood. Loaded with antioxidants, dark chocolate can help improve symptoms of anxiety and depression while making you feel calmer. To get the most out of your chocolate, look for chocolate that has at least 60% cacao in it.
Salmon: Certain types of fish including salmon, sardines, tuna, halibut and mackerel are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids which can help with depression and anxiety. Studies show that omega’s have anti-inflammatory properties and effects the dopamine and serotonin production in your brain. Experts recommend eating fish 2 times per week for the most benefits. If you do not eat fish you can find omega 3’s in chia seeds and flax seeds.
Avocados: If you’re feeling sad, anxious or fearful, avocados are one of the best foods that boost your mood. Avocados are a good source of folate. Research suggests that a deficiency in folate can by connected to anxiety and irrational fears. Avocados are good for overall mood with their high levels of Omega 3’s. Avocados are full of magnesium and B6 which helps the production of serotonin in the brain.
Leafy Greens: Spinach, Chard, Collard Greens and Kale are loaded with magnesium which positively effects serotonin levels and thus boosting your mood. Magnesium is known to help reduce anxiety and fight off depression.
Yogurt/Probiotics: Probiotics are fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi and yogurt. Fermented foods helps to keep your gut working properly. There have been recent studies linking gut health to mood enhancement, less stress, anxiety and lower risk of depression. So, keep your gut cleaned out with probiotic rich foods.
Blueberries: Blueberries are full of brain boosting benefits with their very high levels of antioxidants and vitamin C. Studies have shown that the high level of flavonoids in the blueberries help improve memory, regulate mood and protect the brain from aging.
Nuts and Seeds: Eating more nuts and seeds may be good for the brain, as these foods contain omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. A 2014 study found that a higher overall nut intake was linked to better brain function in older age.
When I go on my weekly store runs or farmers market trips, I try and bring home all of these foods for my family so we can constantly make feeling good a normal thing. These days, I make brain health a priority when feeding my family and me.
P.S. If you want to try a mood enhancing Hot Chocolate CLICK HERE for the recipe.