Foods you consume directly affect your mood. Have you ever noticed that you feel more energetic after certain meals and more tired after others? If you really pay attention, you may further realize that some meals actually depress your mood. Interestingly, 90% of serotonin - the neurotransmitter responsible for a good mood - is actually produced by bacteria in your digestive tract. A high-quality diet is paramount to having a good mood.
6 Good Mood Foods
- Leafy greens: Vegetables like kale are high in folate, which is linked with low levels of depression.
- Citrus fruits: High in vitamin C, citrus fruit is linked to reduced stress hormones and a strengthened immune system.
- Whole grains: Complex carbohydrates like rice and quinoa elevate serotonin levels and provide sustained energy.
- Black tea: Drinking black tea has been associated with lower levels of stress hormones and a calm state.
- Fish & nuts: Omega-3-fatty acids, found in fatty fish- like salmon, mackerel and sardines- flaxseed and walnuts, have been shown to alleviate inflammation, which prevents surges of stress hormones and may reduce the risk of depression.
- Lean meat: Chicken and turkey are high in tryptophan. Eating foods high in tryptophan elevates serotonin levels, which enhances the sense of well-being.
Foods to Limit for Optimum Mental Well-Being:
- Trans fats: Typically found in processed foods and baked goods, trans fats have been shown to increase depression and inflammation in the body.
- Added sugars: Eating added sugars, think table sugar or high fructose corn syrup, negatively impacts mental and physical health. The effect they have on blood sugar can lead to increases in anxiety, irritability and depression.
- Alcohol: Though people react differently while intoxicated, alcohol intake alters hormones and gut health and can lead to mental health issues. It is also often used to cope with anxiety or depression rather than handling those emotions directly. If you drink, it is always best to drink in moderation and refrain from using it to self medicate for sleep or anxiety issues.