Most of us have days when we feel sluggish or ‘down’ and if you’re regularly experiencing these, it’s time to look at your diet. As well as being part of a healthy diet, there are certain foods which can make a big difference to your mood. Next time you’re feeling down, try reaching for some of these foods that lift your mood and test it out for yourself!
11 Foods That Lift Your Mood
They’re full of a B vitamin called folate (also known as folic acid in its synthetic form), which helps to regulate nerve function in the brain and is believed to affect mood. Folate deficiency has been linked to depression and B vitamins in general can reduce stress levels. Broccoli is another good source of B vitamins and folate.
Stocking up on wholegrain carbs boosts serotonin levels in the brain, and the slow release of energy means that your blood sugar levels stay more constant so you’re less likely to experience mood swings because your blood sugar levels are dipping. This includes wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta, sweet potatoes, brown rice and wholegrain cereals. Wholegrain is infinitely preferable to white flour counterparts as the latter is more likely to affect your blood sugar levels.
They’re full of vitamin C and antioxidants, which are believed to reduce stress.
It contains Omega-3 fatty acids, as do walnuts, and these are believed to help keep your brain healthy if eaten several times per week . These fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory properties. Other good sources of Omega-3 include halibut, mackerel, trout and flaxseed oil. Fish is also a good source of stress-fighting B vitamins and more specifically, salmon also contains vitamin D, which studies have suggested may increase serotonin levels.
Here’s a good excuse to indulge your sweet tooth (in moderation, of course!) – it releases feel-good endorphins which increases serotonin levels in the brain. Not just any kind of chocolate does the trick though as experts recommend dark chocolate over the milk variety.
They’re known for having lots of potassium but bananas also contain tryptophan. An Oxford University study found that women who had previously suffered from depression were more likely to experience a relapse if they didn’t get enough tryptophan in their diet. Other good sources of tryptophan include turkey, pineapple, cottage cheese, lobster and soy. Bananas also contain vitamin B6. If you’re deficient in this vitamin, you’ll often feel ‘down’ and are more prone to suffering from stress.
As well as containing tryptophan, turkey also contains the phenylalanine chemical, which is converted to dopamine, a neurochemical which lifts mood.
It boosts serotonin levels and has the added bonus of containing monounsaturated fats (a healthy type of fat) which can help to prevent high blood pressure. Avocados also contain vitamin B6.
It contains whey protein, which has been shown to decrease anxiety symptoms. It also contains tryptophan.
It encourages the production of serotonin so a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast can get the day off to the right start.
It’s rich in iron, which is a common deficiency in women (often due to the blood lost during menstruation). Iron deficiency anemia causes fatigue, amongst other symptoms.
Foods To Avoid
While caffeine can make you feel more alert and give you an energy boost, try not to drink too many caffeinated drinks as these can make you more prone to stress and anxiety. Drinking too much can also mean that you struggle to get to sleep. Alcohol can also have a similar effect.
Sugar Rich Foods
The initial energy boost is short-lived and is usually followed by an energy dip which can leave you feeling tired and irritable.
The next time you are feeling down, be sure to reach for some of these foods that lift your mood. And of course, you will want to save money on these foods as well. Be sure to learn how to save money at discount grocery stores, by shopping at multiple stores, and how to save money on groceries in general.