Can healthy food boost your mood?
Do you ever feel blue? Tweaking your diet may be the way to turn that frown upside down.
According to a recent study from New Zealand, researchers say there is a direct correlation between the foods you eat and your mood.
The study involved nearly 300 people who kept a food diary for three weeks. Each day, the participants recorded the number of servings of vegetables, fruits along with other less-than-healthy choices including sweets, candy and chips. The results showed that moods were higher on the days when the participants ate healthy choices.
Dr. Rodrigo Bastidas, family medicine physician at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital and Advocate Medical Group says incorporating these healthy foods into your daily diet can reap the benefits of a stabilized mood and beating the blues.
Dr. Bastidas recommends adding in the following “superfoods” to boost your day:
- Kefir milk is loaded with tryptophan which is an amino acid that increases serotonin levels in your brain and calms your nervous system. Kefir Milk comes in a variety of flavors, so making it a part of your every day diet is easy.
- Asparagus is packed with folic acid. Keeping your folic acid level up can decrease your chances of depression. Try putting asparagus in an omelet or in a salad to achieve your daily intake of folic acid easily.
- Oranges are filled with vitamin C and can bring down high blood pressure and high stress hormone levels as well. Eating an orange before a high stress situation can help you stay calm.
- Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids which increase your serotonin, one of the key neurotransmitters that helps control your mood. Eating a handful of walnuts as a snack is a great way to make sure your energy and mood stays high throughout the day.
- Salmon is another great source for omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D which can boost your “feel good” serotonin levels. Grilling salmon is a way to achieve your amount of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D levels every day.
- Dark chocolate has high levels of phenylalanine which increases the production of serotonin as well as dopamine in your brain. Eating a few ounces of pure dark chocolate a day will give you a great mood boost.
- Greek yogurt is packed with calcium, raising the dopamine and norepinephrine levels in your brain. If you have low calcium levels you are at a greater risk for having anxiety and depression. Having some Greek yogurt and granola for breakfast is a great way to boost your mood first thing in the morning.
- Spinach is loaded with folic acids, magnesium and vitamin B. If you have a deficiency of any of these nutrients, you are increasing your chances of depression and increased anxiety. Making a spinach salad is a tasty way to achieve the proper levels of folic acids, magnesium and vitamin B.
- Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, which is an antioxidant that helps fight off depressive symptoms and protects your brain. Putting tomatoes on a sandwich or in a salad will give you your daily dose of lycopene.
- Whole grains promote the production of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin not only makes you feel good, but it also stabilizes your mood. Making some whole grain toast in the morning or making a sandwich with whole grain bread for lunch is a great way to increase your serotonin levels so you mood is stabilized for the rest of the day.
“Eating healthy foods will help you build a stronger, healthier body, but also a happier you,” Dr. Bastidas says. “And most of these superfoods can be found in your pantry.”
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.