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10 Foods That Will Improve Your Mood

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There are lots of foods that bring a smile to my face: cookies, veggie burritos and peanut butter oatmeal (trust me, it’s delicious) are just a few. But it turns out some foods don’t just please the palate; they stimulate the brain and make us physically happy, too. When we need a little pick-me-up, we should skip the cookies (as yummy as they are, the sugar rush destabilizes our moods) and seek out these foods instead.

- Spinach

This leafy green is loaded with the B vitamin folate, which has been linked to depression when levels are too low. B vitamins help the brain produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects mood and behavior.

- Turkey

Turkey’s full of tryptophan, an amino acid that the body uses to create mood-regulating serotonin and melatonin. Since our bodies don’t produce tryptophan naturally, we must get it from food sources. For a non-poultry vehicle for the amino acid, try pineapple, cottage cheese or lobster.

- Walnuts

Researchers at the Massachusetts based McLean Hospital found that rats’ moods improved when given an injection of omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts and ground flaxseeds (they have to be ground for the body to absorb the nutrients) are the best non-animal source of omega-3s.

- Milk/Non-Dairy Milk

Milk products and vitamin-fortified non-dairy products (soy milk, almond milk, etc.) are rich in vitamin D, which can increase serotonin production and has been linked to reducing depression in some people. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine found that vitamin D alleviated some depressive symptoms.

- Soy

Like turkey, soy products such as tofu and edamame have high levels of tryptophan. Soybeans also rank low on the glycemic index, meaning they don’t spike energy levels too quickly and won’t cause a mood crash later.

- Salmon

If you’re not a vegetarian, the best way to get a good dose of omega-3s into your diet is through salmon. Not a fan of salmon? Tuna and herring boast a decent amount of the fatty acids as well.

- Beans

Protein and fiber-filled legumes, like black beans and lentils, are also packed with iron, an essential mineral that combats lethargy and gives us energy.

- Chocolate

Few people would frown after popping a square of chocolate into their mouths, but it’s not just because it tastes so good. Chocolate causes the brain to release endorphins and can boost serotonin levels and it contains compounds, like phenylethylamine, that act as mild stimulants. However, plain old milk chocolate won’t do; opt for 70 percent dark chocolate to ensure maximum health benefits.

- Carbohydrates

Foods rich in carbohydrates also affect serotonin levels in the body, but simple carbs — those with white flour as the primary ingredient — increase insulin production so rapidly that the feel-good vibes we get after ingesting them quickly turn into grumpiness. Stick to whole grains like oats, brown rice and whole-wheat bread, all of which contain B vitamins as well.

- Bananas

Besides being a potassium powerhouse, eating bananas adds a hefty amount of tryptophan to our diets. In a study at Oxford University, researchers found that women recovering from depression who were deficient in tryptophan had a higher chance of regressing back to depressive states. Bananas are a great source of iron, too.

What makes certain foods mood-elevating seems based on whether they contain essential ingredients such as omega-3 fatty acids, tryptophan, vitamin D or B vitamins. Unfortunately, what we crave when we’re depressed usually isn’t flaxseeds or salmon. Our cravings are usually in the form of french fries and donuts, foods that comfort us briefly but make us feel even more sluggish and moody afterward. But if we learn to reach for these mood-boosting foods instead, maybe we can banish the blues before they even start.

Link to article: http://www.divinecaroline.com/22177/78876-ten-foods-improve-mood

Add a Comment5 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Food play very important role in boosting one's metabolism, mental disposition and mood swings. For example, apple is very good for health, include whole wheat or multigrain bread as it increases glucose level, macademia nuts lowers cholesterol, one should eat green leafy vegetables, flaxseed, hemp seed, walnuts as it is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids. For more details on it, refer http://www.zippy-health.com/foods-to-bolster-vigour-and-mood-part-i/

August 11, 2009 - 10:59pm
EmpowHER Guest

Great article. I hear alot of great testimonials from clients who have been treating depression,high cholesterol and other issues with Omega3. I'd like to make you aware that there is a better source of Omega3. Being forgotten for so long, Chia has finally been rediscovered! But not all Chia is the same, however. You should take a look at Mila. Mila contains one of the highest, if not the highest, amounts of omega 3 fatty acids known in the plant world. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, the “fat-free” diet craze took all fats out of our diet, including the good ones. Now we know the impact that healthy fats have on our general well-being. The alpha linolenic fatty acid (ALA) found in Mila is known as the only essential omega 3 fatty acid. This means that a person must consume this fatty acid because the body cannot manufacture it. The fatty acids in Mila are a near perfect balance, plus there is no cholesterol. You can read more about Mila or purchase Mila at www.mykindofgrain.com

July 30, 2009 - 11:03am
EmpowHER Guest

For the most amazing source of dark chocolate...no alkali and cold processing methods insures the highest antioxidant value of any chocolate, tastes great,too! Go to www.divinechocolatetherapy.com
and check it out.

July 29, 2009 - 6:47am
EmpowHER Guest

Ah, but just 70 per cent dark chocolate won't give you the antioxidants you are looking for if it is processed, which nearly all store bought chocolate is. Then it has processed sugar, even if it is organic cane sugar, it is still killing us. Look for raw, cold-pressed dark chocolate. That is the kind the clinical trails use because it delivers the health benefits. You can find such a chocolate at: www.cocoa101.com.

July 28, 2009 - 5:49pm

Thanks for those feel good foods. It's nice to think about the concept of food for pleasure. We often deprive ourselves of food and emotionally overeat and then punish ourselves with not eating! I love the idea of eating foods for pleasure and to improve the mood.

July 27, 2009 - 4:59pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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