When someone mentions foods that make you feel good, you might automatically think of those comfort foods, like a pint of ice cream, mashed potatoes and gravy or double chocolate, chocolate chip cookies. That’s not the type of food that really changes your body to help lift your spirits, but the type of food associated mentally with feeling better. There are actual foods that can help improve your mood in the long run. In fact, if your comfort food is a sweet, it’s probably prolonging your misery, since sugary processed food causes fluctuations in your blood sugar level, with lows leaving you sad and miserable.
Look for foods high in vitamin B6, tryptophan and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Nuts are a great food for lifting your spirits, particularly cashews, Brazil nuts and peanuts. Flaxseed also joins that group. The vitamin tryptophan in cashews converts to serotonin, which helps stabilize your mood and makes you feel happier and more relaxed, and the vitamin B6 helps with that conversion. Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which helps make you less angry and happier. A study focused on changing the diet at a prison with a higher amount of violence and found it reduced the incidences dramatically.
Boost your brain power, fight cancer and improve your mood with berries.
Berries, particularly blueberries, have loads of phytochemicals that fight free radicals that come from our environment. Anthocyanin that makes blueberries blue, is one of the flavonoids that provide brain protection and also helps you feel good. One study compared the effects of drinking a placebo, to drinking a drink made of wild blueberries. The wild blueberry drink improved the mood for people, no matter what their age. Other fresh berries, particularly those that are deep red or purple, also have a similar effect. The same is true for vegetables that are deep red or purple.
Eating your greens helps you body and your mood.
If you have a bowl of leafy greens, you’ve got a bowl of fiber, magnesium, vitamin B6 and folate. As noted previously the B6 helps convert tryptophan to serotonin, increasing the amount the body gets. Serotonin is similar to antidepressants, so the more you have in your body, the lower the risk for depression. You’ll also find B6 in carrots, green peas, sweet potatoes and legumes. The folate (not folic acid, which people often confuse it with) in leafy greens also helps regulate the serotonin and magnesium has been used to treat depression for years.
- If chocolate was on your feel good list, you may be on the right track, but it has to be dark chocolate with a high amount of cacao, very little if any milk or sugar. It’s the polyphenols in cacao that make it good for your mood.
- You need foods high in vitamin C to produce neurotransmitters that are necessary to make hormones like dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin, which make you feel good. Red bell peppers and citrus fruits and good sources.
- Many Americans have a deficiency of magnesium, which can cause depression. Eating a handful of pumpkin seeds each day can help replenish the magnesium.
- Increasing blood circulation can occur when blood vessels dilate. That can improve your mood. A cup and a half cups of coffee each day can help do that. The caffeine also increases the production of dopamine.
For more information, contact us today at Team Worx