Whenever you’re feeling a bit down, it’s easy to turn to food to make you feel better. And it’s easier to binge eat your feelings by munching on sugary and junk food items. Even so, it’s okay to eat what you love, it’s crucial to keep your health in mind.
Research shows that what you eat, reflects on your mood. However, several factors can affect mood, including stress, the environment, lack of sleep, genetics, mood disorders, and poor nutrition. As a result, determining whether or not food will lift your spirits is challenging. Then again, studies have shown that certain foods can help with general brain health and certain forms of mood disorders.
Here are 8 delicious foods that will help you feel better in no time.
1. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate and happiness go hand in hand! Many mood-enhancing compounds can be found in chocolate. It’s high in mood-regulating flavonoids which increase blood flow to the brain, minimize inflammation, and improve brain health. It has a high hedonic ranking, which means that its pleasant taste, texture, and aroma can help improve one’s mood. Dark chocolate, richer in flavonoids and lower in added sugar, is preferable to milk chocolate because it includes added ingredients such as sugar and fat so have 1-2 cubes at once.
2. Beans and Peas
Mediterranean-style diet has several benefits, including a possible role in preventing and controlling depression throughout your life. Chickpeas, peas, beans, and lentils are all popular legumes found in the Mediterranean diet. Furthermore, prebiotics found in legumes and other high-fibre foods (such as oatmeal, asparagus, and bananas) promote gut health by feeding the good bacteria in the gut. As per the USDA, you can consume 1 to 2 cups of beans per week, based on your age and gender. At your next meal, try a bowl of warm lentil soup or a scoop of hummus with raw vegetables.
3. Seeds and Nuts
Seeds and nuts are rich in tryptophan, which is converted to serotonin, which helps you sleep better and boosts and stabilizes your mood. We all understand how important decent sleep is for mental health. Sow the seeds of wellbeing by adding pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashew nuts, chia seeds, and pecans to your grocery list. Nuts can be pricey, but if you’re going to buy one, go for walnuts: a handful of such brain-shaped nuts contains 318mg of tryptophan. Furthermore, nuts and seeds are a big part of the MIND and Mediterranean diets, which may aid in boosting brain health. Both of these diets emphasize organic, whole foods while limiting processed foods.
4. Fatty Fish
Omega-3 fatty acids are a category of essential fats which your body cannot generate on its own and must be obtained through your diet. Fatty fish, such as salmon and albacore tuna, are high in omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your mental health. Omega-3s tend to play a crucial role in brain growth and cell signalling by contributing to the fluidity of the brain’s cell membrane. Although the evidence is mixed, one study of clinical trials found that eating omega-3s in the form of fish oil reduced depressive symptoms in some studies. Salmon contains 2,260 mg of EPA and DHA per 3.5-ounce serving, so eating it a few days a week is a perfect way to get these fats in your diet.
Fruit is good for all of us, but did you even know that berries are also good for your mental health? There is scientific proof that consuming berry fruits has several positive effects on the brain, including preventing age-related memory loss. According to the findings, berries alter the way neurons in the brain interact. According to the findings, berries alter the way neurons in the brain interact. Such signalling improvements enhance motor function and cognition while also reducing brain inflammation. Berry fruits are also rich in antioxidants, that protect cells from free radical harm. They also contain flavonoids, which aid in mood regulation and memory improvement.
Eggs are a great mood booster because they contain many nutrients linked to brain health, including vitamins B6 and B12, choline, and folate. The B vitamins are necessary for a variety of cellular and metabolic functions, as well as the development of a variety of brain chemicals. Folate and B12 deficiency have been related to depression, and folate deficiency is widespread in dementia patients. Folic acid supplements have been shown in studies to help reduce age-related mental deterioration, so having enough folate from eggs and other sources could be beneficial.
Bananas are your go-to, especially when you’re PMSing. It contains Vitamin B6 that aids in the production of good feeling neurotransmitters in the body. Irritability and mood swings can occur when blood sugar levels are too low. One large banana (136 g) contains 16 g of sugar and 3.5 g of fibre. Sugar is released steadily into your bloodstream when combined with fibre, allowing for more healthy blood sugar levels and improved mood regulation.
Coffee can indeed make the world a happier place. Caffeine in coffee prohibits a naturally occurring compound called adenosine from binding to brain receptors that cause fatigue, improving alertness and focus. It also boosts the production of mood-enhancing elements in the body.