9 Foods to Improve Your Mood
It’s official – food equals happiness. Literally. (makes my day)
Foods rich in certain minerals, vitamins, and fatty acids can actually increase your happiness. The following nine nutrients are the top “mood-boosters” found in our food: calcium, chromium, folate, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and zinc.
These nutrients have a huge impact on maintaining your normal brain function. A healthy brain leads to a regulated mood, which leads to a happier you. See the connection here?
We’ve rounded up a list of 9 foods that can help give you a little pep in your step—and some yummy in your tummy.
1. Leafy Greens
When you eat vegetables like spinach, kale, and collards, you are providing your body with a variety of B vitamins: Three of which are essential for your brain, pyridoxine (B6), cobalamin (B12), and folic acid (B9).
An avocado provides your body with a variety of vitamins (C, K, E, and B9), as well as monounsaturated fats. These are the good fats that contribute to healthy blood flow. Avocados can also boost your brain’s production of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is the ‘chemical of reward,’ which is why an avocado can be one of the foods for happiness.
3. Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms are a nutritional upgrade from the typical white mushrooms found in your local grocery store. The good news is that this Asian variety has become more readily available in the larger supermarkets around the country. Shiitake mushrooms contain vitamin D and a lot of pyridoxine, which is particularly effective in making you feel good. Pyridoxine boosts the production of neurotransmitters, including serotonin. Just like dopamine, serotonin improves your mood.
All nuts contain the amino acid tryptophan: Tryptophan increases your body’s production of the feel-good chemical serotonin. A chemical that your body frequently lacks when you are feeling down. Although consuming nuts with carbohydrates may make you feel tired, this combination does increase your body’s production of serotonin even more.
You can raise your serotonin levels by eating asparagus: In fact, asparagus is one of the plants that offers high levels of folic acid, which increases its ability to brighten even the gloomiest of days!
Besides providing your body with protein and iron, an entire egg (that includes the yolk) is full of B-vitamins and Omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids assist in reducing negative thoughts. Other good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids and foods for happiness include black walnuts, Chia seeds, and flaxseed.
7. Wild Salmon
Just like eggs, wild salmon is high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Although most fish are, wild salmon have an especially high concentration of these fatty acids. Wild salmon is preferred over their farm-raised counterparts because wild salmon attains its Omega 3 from natural food sources (small crustaceans and wild plankton); whereas, farm-raised salmon receive very little of either.
8. Quinoa (keenwah)
Quinoa is a gluten-free grain. It is a great source of protein and is high in folic acid, phosphorus, magnesium, and manganese. Quinoa provides energy and helps improve your mood making it one of the top foods for happiness.
9. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate comes from cocoa seeds. These seeds contain compounds that increase your body’s production of endorphins. Endorphins are pleasure-giving substances, which can boost your mood and reduce your stress levels—yes, please!
For the most part, the health benefits that chocolate provides are due to flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidant compounds. Although flavonoids are present in all chocolate that derives from cocoa seeds, dark chocolate contains more flavonoids than its lighter counterparts.
So, go ahead… Eat it up buttercup!