10 Foods to Uplift Your Mood
Modern life can be exhausting, meaning that poor mental health can be a symptom of a 21st Century lifestyle.
But what we choose to eat could help to boost our mood and reduce our chances of feeling low.
Research suggests that a diet rich in antioxidants can improve brain function and decrease the risk of depression. Foods that contain quercetin, a phytochemical found in fruits and vegetables, can increase serotonin levels and protect against stress.
Blueberries are one of the most antioxidant-rich fruits, making them a powerful addition to your diet. They boost your memory, decrease inflammation and protect against cancer.
They also help prevent heart disease. According to a study, people who eat at least 3 servings of blueberries a week have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
They’re low in calories but high in nutrients like vitamin C, manganese and potassium. They are also a good source of iron and zinc, which enhance bone strength. They also help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
Spinach is a great source of folate, which has been linked to lower levels of depression. It also contains antioxidants, magnesium and B vitamins that help to generate dopamine and serotonin in your brain.
The nutrients in spinach also help to regulate blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes and kidney diseases. It can also help to prevent eye health problems like cataracts and macular degeneration.
It is low in calories and provides fiber to keep your digestive system healthy. It also helps to curb your appetite and make you feel full quickly.
Spinach is a great source of potassium and can help to control your blood pressure. It is also a good source of iron, calcium and magnesium. It can help to prevent osteoporosis and may lower your risk of getting bone fractures.
Oats are a great source of fibre, which stabilises blood sugar levels and helps prevent mood swings. They also contain tryptophan, which triggers the release of serotonin in your brain to help lower anxiety and depression symptoms.
The soluble fibre beta-glucan in oats also reduces cholesterol and blood glucose levels, improves digestive health and increases feelings of fullness. It can also boost the immune system and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Oats can be eaten as porridge, or mixed with yoghurt and fruit for a nutritious breakfast. They also make an excellent base for homemade granola or even muffins.
4. Beans and lentils
Beans and lentils are both nutrient-dense foods that can help to boost your mood. They are a great source of plant protein, essential vitamins and minerals such as iron and magnesium, and they are high in tryptophan which helps the body produce serotonin, an amino acid that regulates your mood.
They also contain fiber that slows down the absorption of sugar and can cut down on blood sugar spikes, which can cause mood swings. They are also rich in microbiome-enhancing fiber and resistant starch, which reduce inflammation and improve digestion.
However, beans and lentils do have phytates. So, it is recommended to soak them for at least eight hours before cooking to reduce the phytate content.
5. Oily fish
Oily fish is a great source of protein, fat and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are crucial to human health and can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and dementia.
In fact, a number of studies have shown that consuming oily fish regularly can increase HDL (good) cholesterol, which may lower your risk of heart disease. It also provides EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which can improve brain function.
However, it is important to avoid fish that contains high levels of mercury or other environmental pollutants. You should try to eat a variety of different types of fish and shellfish to avoid getting too much or too little of the essential nutrients you need.
Nuts are a great snack for boosting your mood and are packed with protein, healthy fats, Vitamin E and selenium. They are also heart-healthy and can help lower cholesterol levels in the body.
They are a great source of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps create serotonin in the brain, which can help reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. They are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are neuroprotective and can boost the production of dopamine and norepinephrine, two key mood chemicals that are linked to feeling good.
Besides helping to boost your mood, nuts are also a great source of energy. The healthy fats in nuts can provide a sustained stream of energy over a longer period of time, while the protein can help keep blood sugar levels stable.
7. Fermented foods
Fermented foods, like kefir and kombucha, are a great source of probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that promote your gut health. These microorganisms can help to improve digestion, strengthen your immune system and reduce your risk of certain diseases, like diabetes and heart disease.
Eating fermented foods can also benefit your mental health because they can increase the amount of serotonin in your body, which is a mood-stabilizing chemical. This can help you to feel more positive and happy, Medical News Today wrote.
Another study looked at 372 psychiatrically healthy university students and found that those who consumed more fermented foods had fewer symptoms of depression when they were stressed. This could be because the foods are a natural antidepressant.
8. Leafy greens
Leafy greens are a great source of magnesium and folate, which can boost serotonin levels in your brain and reduce anxiety. Incorporating kale, spinach, collard greens, watercress, arugula and beet greens into your diet is an easy way to get more of these nutrients.
Other cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts are rich in chromium, which can increase your body’s levels of brain chemicals related to positive feelings and alertness.
They also contain potassium, which can help to lower blood pressure and improve heart health. Dark green vegetables are also expert detoxifiers, thanks to their high concentrations of chlorophyll, which can bind to heavy metals and remove them from your system.
Coffee is a delicious beverage that can help to boost your mood. It contains caffeine, which is a central nervous system stimulant that improves alertness, concentration and mental fatigue.
Research shows that coffee can even help to combat depression. It blocks the brain from binding with a chemical that usually signals depression and fatigue, known as adenosine.
Drinking two cups of coffee every day can increase happiness levels by up to 20%, according to a study in Korea.
In addition, coffee can reduce seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is a common condition that causes people to feel depressed and sad as the days get shorter. It’s also known to improve performance during exercise.
A fruit is the seed-bearing structure of a flowering plant that develops from an ovary after flowering. Edible fruits, including apples, grapes, blueberries and pomegranates are botanically classified as such.
However, the definition of fruit also includes foods that are thought to be vegetables, such as tomatoes.
This may seem confusing, but the truth is that all fruit, whether it’s a pineapple or a kiwi, contains vitamins and minerals that can boost your mood. For example, a ripe banana (136 grams) delivers 16 grams of natural sugar as well as vitamin B6 and prebiotic fiber, all of which work together to keep blood sugar levels stable and your mood intact.
Other fruits to try include apricots and lemons. They’re rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, which are antioxidants that have been shown to improve mood and enhance cognition.