It’s no secret that eating better improves your mood. It only makes sense that if you are eating better you will also feel better. However life tends to get in the way, and when you are feeling stressed, depressed or sad you might not eat as healthy as you should. Often times, this may lead you to developing bad eating habits that will only make you feel worse in the end.
For example, when times are tough your sleep is usually the first thing to suffer. This causes you to feel tired and irritable, which may cause you to crave caffeine. The caffeine will bring on sugar cravings, because your body is searching for the missing nutrients that you are not feeding it. Similarly, you may decide to go out for a few drinks to try and get your mind off your problems. Since alcohol reduces your inhibitions, it may make you crave salty, fatty and sugary foods. This will not only effect your slumber, but it will also leave you feeling bloated, dehydrated (and hungover) the next day. It’s a vicious cycle my friends!
The best wat to avoid this cycle is to eat healthy and live stress free every day! Since that’s pretty much impossible to do every single day, the next best thing you can do is eat mood enhancing foods! Certain foods are scientifically proven to boost the productivity of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that controls good moods. Obviously some stress in your daily life is inevitable, but if your feeling down all the time it may be a sign that you are missing out on essential mood boosting nutrients. These foods will elevate your mood and help bust stress levels….but only if you eat them!
- Vitamin B Complex Foods: Foods containing Vitamin B often have the protein Tryptophan that can be converted into Serotonin. Tryptophan can be found in a variety of foods that have also been linked to help fight depression. They include: Bell peppers, figs, bananas, cauliflower, eggs, fish, poultry and dark leafy greens such as kale, brussel sprouts and spinach.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3′s are heart healthy fats that aid mood, memory, attention and concentration. They can be found in oily fish such as salmon, trout, sardines, mackerel, herring and sole and in walnuts, flax oil and flax-seed.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is a fabulous nutrient that stabilizes mood, and also helps regulate sleep. It is especially necessary for women because it can also aid PMS symptoms. It can be found in dark leafy vegetables, halibut, scallops, oysters, wheat germ, certain nuts and pumpkin seeds.
- Vitamin C: This nutrient help circulate oxygen through your brain which helps to boost your mood. Oranges are probably the most common known food source for vitamin C, but it can also be found in kiwi, strawberries, cabbage, tomatoes and broccoli.
- Fiber: Fiber fills you up quickly, gives you lots of energy and helps keep your digestive system on track! You should aim for 20-30 grams of fiber or more per day! The best sources are whole grains (such as oatmeal), fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables and beans.
- Vitamin D: Similar to Vitamin B, this nutrient also the amount of Serotonin in your body. It especially helps with “Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)” which is also known as the winter blues. It can be found in fish with bones, low fat milk, fortified soy milk and egg yolks.
If you eliminate the processed junk and increase the fruits, veggies, whole grains and good fats that you have in your diet, you will look and feel a whole lot better. It’s important to remember that small changes really can make a big difference, and there’s no need to fall victim of all the “sugar-free” or “non-fat” marketing gimmicks out there. Keep your food whole, keep it real and keep it (mostly) organic, and you’ll be eating your way to a healthier and happier life in no time!
Which foods enhance your mood?