Gut Feelings: 9 Foods That Can Affect Your Mood
Whenever we aren’t in the best of spirits, we have a tendency to turn to food to process those feelings. Unfortunately, the foods that we chose to eat can be horrible for our dietary health. There has been a ton a research on the relationship between food and mental health. Factors such as stress, lack of sleep, and genetics also play a part in our mood changes but can food really give our spirits a much need boost?
Here are 9 healthy foods that may boost your mood.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of essential fats that you have to obtain through your diet because your body can’t naturally produce them on its own.
Fatty fish like salmon and albacore tuna are rich in two types of omega-3s — docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) — which are linked to lower levels of depression (Source)
Chocolate is rich in many mood-boosting compounds. Its sugar may improve your mood since it’s a quick source of fuel for your brain (Source).
Furthermore, it can release a cascade of feel-good compounds, such as caffeine, theobromine, and N-acylethanolamine — a substance chemically similar to cannabinoids that has been linked to improved mood (Source).
Fermented foods, which include kimchi, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut, may improve gut health and mood. The fermentation process lets live bacteria to thrive in foods that are then able to convert sugars into alcohol and acids (Source). During this process, probiotics are created and these live microorganisms support the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut and may increase serotonin levels (Source).
Serotonin is a chemical that affects many facets of human behavior, such as mood, stress response, appetite, and sexual drive. Up to 90% of your body’s serotonin is produced by your gut microbiome, or the collection of healthy bacteria in your gut (Source).
Bananas can help you turn that frown upside down! They’re high in vitamin B6, which helps synthesize feel-good chemicals like dopamine and serotonin (Source).
Oats are a whole grain that can keep you in good spirits all morning. You can enjoy them in many forms, such as overnight oats, oatmeal, muesli, and granola.
They’re an excellent source of fiber, which helps slow your digestion of carbs and allows for a gradual release of sugar into the bloodstream to keep your energy levels stable.
Berries are rich in disease-fighting anthocyanins, which may lower your risk of depression. (Source)
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are high in plant-based proteins, healthy fats, and fiber. They also provide tryptophan, an amino acid responsible for producing mood-boosting chemical serotonin.
That morning cup of Joe may be the key for happy days. The caffeine in coffee prevents a naturally occurring compound called adenosine from attaching to brain receptors that promote tiredness, therefore increasing alertness and attention (Source). In addition, it increases the release of mood-boosting chemicals, such as dopamine and norepinephrine (Source).
Beans and Lentils
We know that beans and lentils are high in fiber, but did you know that they are an excellent source of B vitamins, which help improve mood by increasing levels of chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and gamma aminobutyric acid?
In conclusion, a healthy diet not only gives you a better body, it also gives you a better mood. Thank you for reading!
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