Good mood foods you can indulge in to uplift your spirits
Eat your way to better mental health with these foods that come with anti-anxiety benefits.
With the ongoing pandemic and uncertainty that’s gripping the world right now, it’s no surprise that some of us may be feeling low in spirits from time to time. While you may be inclined to reach out to a tub of ice cream to boost your mood, you may want to reconsider that—for obvious reasons. Good mood foods are often not within the same category as comfort foods (sadly), but the good news is that not all of them taste awful. In fact, this list of mood-lifting foods may already be in your diet:
Chocolate lovers who can’t resist a nibble every once in a while—you’re in for a treat. Studies have shown that chocolate contains compounds that are related to mood-lifting chemicals in the brain, including phenylethylamine (a natural antidepressant), tryptophan (which produces serotonin aka happy chemical), and theobromine (which increases the heart rate). Another recent study proved that eating a little dark chocolate on the daily can actually reduce stress—just be sure to indulge in moderation!
Probiotics don’t only keep your gut happy, it also helps to regulate your mood. A 2017 study found that a specific probiotic strain may lessen symptoms of depression in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and that’s not all—another research review found that consuming daily probiotic supplements can actually help with depression and anxiety. The next time you’re feeling peckish for a mid-day snack, a yogurt smoothie might just do the trick.
Any fish that has high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids will work in this case, as these fats have the ability to increase serotonin levels (which influences our mood) and reduce inflammation. Fatty fish that you can add to your diet include Atlantic salmon, sardines and mackerel—100g of serving per day would suffice!
Popeye was right—spinach doesn’t just give you strength (it actually has a natural steroid-like chemical that increases muscle mass!), it even gives you good vibes. Spinach, among other leafy greens, are packed with magnesium, a multifunctional mineral that helps with the development of serotonin. It’s been reported that magnesium deficiency can lead to irritability, fatigue, poor memory and higher stress levels. So there—yet another reason to eat your greens.
Where do we even begin with the benefits of green tea? This well-loved plant has a host of health compounds that include natural antioxidant EGCG, amino acid theanine (which helps alleviate stress), polyphenols (cancer-kicking properties and reduces inflammation) and more. And that’s not all—the mild doses of caffeine in green tea can heighten your productivity levels without giving you jitters (like coffee would).
So if you need a pick-me-up, zero in on your diet and start including these good mood foods—we could all use a stress-buster on a daily basis.