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Foods to Improve Your Mood

Foods to Improve Your Mood

Did you know that you can use foods to improve your mood?

Some ways to use foods to improve your mood…

  • Reduce caffeine (coffee, sodas, energy drinks). These increase your cortisol and adrenalin levels which can increase anxiety and make you feel worse.
  • Remove processed and packaged foods to improve your mood. Often the foods that we reach for when we are feeling down can exacerbate the problem. Sweets, refined carbohydrates and other processed foods, increase inflammation causing havoc in the body and affecting our physical and mental health.
  • Cut out artificial sweeteners. Evidence shows that aspartame is linked to mood disorders.
  • Reduce alcohol intake. Alcohol is associated with increasing low mood.

Try adding these mood-boosting foods into your diet…

Real foods improve your mood

The most important change you can make to help ease your depressive symptoms and to lead a healthier life is to switch over to a diet of real food. By doing this you will remove processed foods, fast foods, artificial flavours, preservatives, colours and sweeteners from your diet.

Regular meals will help improve your mood

The brain and nervous system have very high nutritional demands. We need to ensure that we are providing the necessary building blocks and co-factors to ensure optimal brain function, memory, concentration, and mood stability throughout the day. Regular meals also ensure that our blood sugar and energy levels remain stable.

Good quality proteins

Include some good quality proteins with all meals. These are the essential building blocks for energy and neurotransmitters. Include fish, organic poultry, lean meats, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds.

Dark, leafy greens

Foods such as spinach, kale, and silver beet are high in mood-boosting magnesium, which creates a feeling of calm and plays a large role in the development of serotonin. Add a kale or spinach salad to your daily diet to help beat stress and depression.

Beans & Legumes

These are great plant based proteins that when added to your diet are pre-cursors for neurotransmitters and to help improve your mood. Include lentils, chick peas, split peas, black beans, kidney beans, borlotti beans, cannellini beans, etc. Legumes are packed with nutrients that improve mood, such as folate, calcium, copper, magnesium, iron, and zinc. Other plant-based foods that are packed with high-quality protein include:  chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, quinoa, millet, oats, rye, buckwheat, tofu and tempeh.

Fermented foods

There is increasing understanding about the gut / brain connection. The gut is where most of the body’s serotonin is found. Serotonin  is important in regulating mood and social behavior, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire and function.  It stands to reason that we should take good care to improve our gut health.
Cultured and fermented foods promote good gut health. Fermented foods include coconut kefir, tempeh, miso, sauerkraut and kimchee. Besides boosting your mood, they’ll also add beneficial bacteria that protect the lining of the gut and prevent inflammation throughout the body. You can also find probiotics in things like yogurt and dairy kefir, but these should be avoided if you’re sensitive to dairy.

Healthy Fats

Essential fatty acids both brighten our mood and improve our cognitive functioning and alertness. In particular, foods loaded with omega-3s, such as wild salmon, sardines and walnuts have been proven effective to help improve depressive symptoms. These fats also help to reverse low-level inflammation throughout the body, including the brain. Though the brain is rich in omega-3 fats, the body can’t make its own, so getting this fat from the food you eat is essential. Other great plant-based sources of healthy fats include seeds (flax, chia, hemp, pumpkin), walnuts, cold-pressed olive oil and coconut oil. Omega Algae is a good vegan alternative supplement to fish oil.

Foods rich in B Vitamins

By increasing the amount of B vitamins in your diet, you may begin to notice positive changes in your mood. Some good food sources of B vitamins include dark green leafy vegetables, seafood, bananas, chicken, eggs, nuts, legumes, brown rice, almonds, and avocados. You may need a high-quality B complex vitamin supplement. Note that B vitamins are destroyed by things like heat, sugar, alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine!

Some Specific foods to improve your mood…

  • Turkey has high levels of tryptophan and the mineral selenium, and much more than other types of poultry. The tryptophan triggers serotonin, while the anti-inflammatory selenium helps to fight depression.
  • Asparagus is a rich source of folic acid, a natural mood booster. The high levels of folate in asparagus also help to alleviate symptoms of mild depression, like lack of energy and foggy thinking. Asparagus is also rich in inulin and provides a good prebiotic food for our healthy gut microbiome.
  • Dark chocolate has been shown to help improve mood, cognition and brain power. It must be at least 80% dark chocolate. Cacao is one of the highest food sources of antioxidants and magnesium, and it also contains iron, fiber, chromium and manganese. It has been shown to help with cardiovascular health, boost energy levels, promote longevity, increase libido and improve your mood.
  • Green tea contains the compound theanine, an amino acid that helps reduce stress and relaxes tense muscles. Plus, green tea is also anti-inflammatory and lifts your metabolism.
  • Chili is not just a tasty addition to a dish, it’s actually been shown to increase the release of endorphins in the brain which boost symptoms of pleasure.

For support with mood, depression or anxiety, call us on 0403755 584

***Please note, if you’re seriously depressed, please contact a qualified health practitioner for support. If you are suicidal please contact Emergency 000 or Lifeline 13 11 14 or Youthline 1800 262 376

Angela McTaggart
Qualified Clinical Naturopath
Brunswick Naturopathy

Angela McTaggart - Naturopath, Brunswick Naturopathy