Eat the blues away with mood enhancing foods
Did you know that there are numerous healthy foods that you can eat to naturally enhance your mood and mental state of being? Exciting studies have emerged over the recent years exploring a significant relationship between nutrition and mental health. These studies have found that what you eat can have a direct impact on your emotional and mental wellbeing. While it might feel like a natural response to turn to junk food when feeling down, this blog will help guide you to more healthy and long lasting alternatives for your emotional and mental wellbeing.
If you haven’t heard already, avocado is one of the best foods that you can eat. Avocados contain an impressive amount of nutrients such as healthy fats, vitamin B5, fiber, micronutrients and folate which help boost brain functioning, gut health and the nervous system. The healthy fats in avocados help nourish and lubricate the brain, which improves neuro functions and overall body communications. In just a few bites, an avocado can add so much goodness to your body and mind. All this goodness is absorbed by the body which results in an almost immediate elevation in one’s emotional state. When your body is happy, you are happy!
Chocolate lovers, we have good news! Chocolate, more specifically dark chocolate, is a good thing. It is really the cocoa in dark chocolate that is the source of power. Dark chocolate contains between 50 – 90% cocoa, so milk chocolate unfortunately doesn’t make the cut for natural health benefits..
Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids which help support the inner lining of blood vessels which also strengthens and supports the heart. This helps to improve overall blood flow and assists in lowering blood pressure. This definitely makes the body and mind super happy!. Dark chocolate also contains antioxidants, healthy fats and traces of caffeine – all of which are natural mood enhancers.
So if you are feeling a bit low, don’t feel guilty about going out and getting yourself some dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or higher.
Fish is an incredible source of nutrition for both mental and physical health. “Fish contains high quality protein, good lipids consisting of essential fatty acids, and important minerals and vitamins” – Professor Abdul Hei.
For many years omega-3 fatty acids have been used to help treat various mood disorders. Omega oils are primarily found in fish oil, rich fish such as salmon, hake and fresh tuna, and if eaten regularly , it is hugely beneficial on many levels. Studies show that there is a lower rate of depression in countries where fish is eaten as a staple part of their diet. The omega-3’s lubricate the brain and positively nourish the brain cells that are responsible for our emotions. Omegas also have an anti-inflammatory benefit which helps relieve various mood disorders.
Bananas are one of the world’s most consumed fruits – and for a very good reason. Bananas are packed with potassium and magnesium which are vital minerals for the functioning of the body. Bananas contain glucose, fructose and sucrose. These natural sugars are quickly absorbed which provides an immediate energy boost without the come-down effect often experienced with various energy bars and drinks. Bananas also contain vitamin C, vitamin B6 and carbohydrates which contribute to a natural and sustained elevation of energy and mood.
Serotonin is known as the happy hormone and while this is not found in food, tryptophan is. Bananas contain a lot of tryptophan, which the body then converts into serotonin, therefore making you feel good naturally. Tryptophan, along with the vitamin B in bananas, can also have a calming effect on the body and mind and is said to even help you sleep.
You may be delighted to discover that drinking coffee in moderation does have numerous benefits. Various studies have found that caffeine has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which help to naturally improve one’s mood.
Caffeine works by blocking the receptors of the brain from binding with chemicals that cause fatigue and depression. A study conducted by the U.S National Coffee Association over 5 years found that coffee reduces oxidation, and that high levels of oxidation are found among people with depression. This same study also found that coffee can have a positive effect on gut health and may aid digestion, which is directly correlated to mental health.
But as with everything, moderation is key. One cup of coffee a day is recommended for gaining these benefits. Excessive consumption of coffee can result in adrenal fatigue, anxiety and high levels of acidity in the body.
The Nutrition Source | Dark Chocolate |
Harved Health Publishing | Omega-3 fatty acids for mood disorders | October 27, 2020 By David Mischoulon, MD, PhD, Contributor | https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/omega-3-fatty-acids-for-mood-disorders-2018080314414#:~:text=For%20example%2C%20omega%2D3s%20can,that%20may%20help%20relieve%20depression.
Healthline | 9 Healthy Foods That Lift Your Mood | Written by Katey Davidson, MScFN, RD, CPT on February 5, 2020 — Medically reviewed by Natalie Butler, R.D., L.D. | https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mood-food
Drinking Coffee Can Reduce Depression Risk by up to One Third | 08 May 2020 | NEW YORK – Drinking coffee can reduce depression risk by up to one third, according to a comprehensive new review conducted by a leading researcher in neurology.