Let’s talk about food for a minute. Yes, I know, it’s boring and a difficult topic for some so why don’t we use a metaphor? Think about your car, you need to put gasoline in the tank, air in the tires and oil in the engine. What happens if those things do not get done? The car won’t drive, it won’t move, it downright will not work properly and it is just a machine. So if you don’t provide your body with nutrients, how do you expect it to work properly? I know this is a super simple concept of “You are what you eat” but think about it on a deeper level. When you binge on fast food or unhealthy meals how do you physically feel? Bloated? Maybe a stomach ache? How do you feel emotionally after a sugar binge? Maybe after your sugar rush you crash and burn? This is because food has a direct impact on your physical and emotional health. This is why it is so important to fuel your body, put air in your tires and gas in your tank, so to speak. We all know what superfoods are but do we know what boosts your mood? Although I am not a licensed nutritionist I do know a few things about ways to boost your mood with a meal. So here we go, foods to boost your mood:
Yep, fatty fish do it alright! Here is why, omega-3 fatty acids can not be produced by your body, they have to be obtained through consumption, your diet. When we talk about omega-3s we are talking about docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These omegas specifically have been linked to lowering levels of depression. Pretty cool, right?! Who knew some salmon would make you smile?
Things like yogurt, keifer, sauerkraut, and kombucha not only improve your gut health but also improve your mood. How? Well, the fermentation process turns these foods into probiotics and these live microorganisms support the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut. These healthy bacteria may even increase serotonin levels. Although more research needs to be done on this one, it is still pretty cool that while you heal your gut you can potentially heal your mood too! The idea here is that 90% of your serotonin is produced in your gut. A healthy gut is a good mood!
Truly! These silly things are packed with vitamin B6. B6 is known to help synthesize dopamine and serotonin (these are the happy hormones, or feel-good neurotransmitters) These tropical fruits have sugar and fiber in them, this is noteworthy as when fiber is paired with sugar, the sugar is released slowly into your bloodstream. This allows for stable blood sugar (not a rush and crash), stable blood sugar equals better mood control. Bonus, these fruits (when having little green) are a wonderful source of prebiotics. This is a fiber that also helps with bacteria in your gut. (another great food for gut health are oats)
Berries are high in antioxidants which may help decrease inflammation that is associated with depression. These sweet treats are also packed with anthocyanins (a pigment that gives that purple/blue coloration). One study suggested that a diet rich in anthocyanins has a 39% lower risk of depressive symptoms. Pro tip: top your oats with berries and bananas and you have one happy mood meal!
These are just a few on a long list of healthy options to boost your mood. However, if you eat a balanced diet and drink lots of water, you will see an improvement in overall health. Both mental and physical. The mind and body are connected so when you take care of them both you are really setting yourself up for success!!!