Healthy Living: 6 Healthy Foods That Can Lift Your Mood

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Are you looking for some healthy foods to eat which will lift your mood? If yes, then this informative article is for you. When you’re feeling down, it can be tempting to turn to food to lift your spirits. However, the sugary, high calorie treats that many people resort to having negative consequences of their own.

Thus, you may wonder whether any healthy foods can improve your mood.

Recently, research on the relationship between nutrition and mental health has been emerging. Yet, it’s important to note that mood can be influenced by many factors, such as stress, environment, poor sleep, genetics, mood disorders, and nutritional deficiencies.

Therefore, it’s difficult to accurately determine whether food can raise your spirits.

Nonetheless, certain foods have been shown to improve overall brain health and certain types of mood disorders.

Here are 6 healthy foods that may boost your mood.

1. Oats

Oats are a whole grain that can keep you in good spirits all morning. You can enjoy them in many forms, such as overnight oats, oatmeal, muesli, and granola.

They’re an excellent source of fiber, providing 8 grams in a single raw cup (81 grams).

Fiber helps slow your digestion of carbs, allowing for a gradual release of sugar into the bloodstream to keep your energy levels stable.

In one study, those who ate 1.5–6 grams of fiber at breakfast reported better mood and energy levels. This was attributed to more stable blood sugar levels, which is important for controlling mood swings and irritability.

Although other sources of whole grains can have this effect, oats may be especially advantageous, as they’re also a great source of iron, with 1 raw cup (81 grams) boasting 19% of your daily needs.

Iron deficiency anemia, one of the most common nutrient deficiencies, is associated with low iron intake. Its symptoms include fatigue, sluggishness, and mood disorders.

Some research suggests that people experience improvements in these symptoms after eating iron-rich foods or supplementing with iron, but more research is needed.

2. Coffee

Coffee is the world’s most popular drink, and it may make the world a bit happier, too.

The caffeine in coffee prevents a naturally occurring compound called adenosine from attaching to brain receptors that promote tiredness, therefore increasing alertness and attention.

Moreover, it increases the release of mood-boosting neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine.

A study in 72 people found that both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee significantly improved mood compared with a placebo beverage, suggesting that coffee contains other compounds that influence mood.

Researchers attributed this boost in attitude to various phenolic compounds, such as chlorogenic acid. Still, more research is needed.

3. Bananas

Bananas may help turn a frown upside down.

They’re high in vitamin B6, which helps synthesize feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.

Furthermore, one large banana (136 grams) provides 16 grams of sugar and 3.5 grams of fiber.

When paired with fiber, sugar is released slowly into your bloodstream, allowing for stable blood sugar levels and better mood control. Blood sugar levels that are too low may lead to irritability and mood swings.

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Finally, this ubiquitous tropical fruit, especially when still showing green on the peel, is an excellent source of prebiotics, a type of fiber that helps feed healthy bacteria in your gut. A robust gut microbiome is associated with lower rates of mood disorders.

4. Nuts And Seeds

Nuts and seeds are high in plant-based proteins, healthy fats, and fiber.

Additionally, they provide tryptophan, an amino acid responsible for producing mood-boosting serotonin. Almonds, cashews, peanuts, and walnuts, as well as pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds, are excellent sources.

Moreover, nuts and seeds are a large component of both the MIND and Mediterranean diets, which may support a healthy brain. Each of these diets promotes fresh, whole foods and limits your intake of processed items.

What’s more, a 10-year study in 15,980 people linked moderate nut intake to a 23% lower risk of depression.

Finally, certain nuts and seeds, such as Brazil nuts, almonds, and pine nuts, are good sources of zinc and selenium. Deficiency in these minerals, which are important for brain function, is associated with higher rates of depression although more research is needed.

5. Beans And Lentils

In addition to being high in fiber and plant-based protein, beans and lentils are full of feel-good nutrients.

They’re an excellent source of B vitamins, which help improve mood by increasing levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), all of which are important for regulating mood.

Furthermore, B vitamins play a key role in nerve signaling, which allows proper communication between nerve cells. Low levels of these vitamins, especially B12 and folate, have been linked to mood disorders, such as depression.

Finally, they’re a good source of zinc, magnesium, selenium, and non-heme iron, which may likewise elevate your spirits.

6. Berries

Curiously, eating more fruits and vegetables is linked to lower rates of depression.

Although the mechanism isn’t clear, a diet rich in antioxidants may help manage inflammation associated with depression and other mood disorders.

Berries pack a wide range of antioxidants and phenolic compounds, which play a key role in combatting oxidative stress an imbalance of harmful compounds in your body.

They’re particularly high in anthocyanins, a pigment that gives certain berries their purple-blue color. One study associated a diet rich in anthocyanins with a 39% lower risk of depression symptoms.

If you can’t find them fresh, try buying frozen berries that are frozen at their peak ripeness to retain the maximum amount of antioxidants.

In Summary

When feeling blue, you may crave calorie-rich, high sugar foods like ice cream or cookies to try to lift your spirits.

While this might give you a sugar rush, it’s unlikely to help you in the long term and may have negative consequences as well.

Instead, you should aim for wholesome foods that have been shown to not only boost your mood but also your overall health. Try out some of the foods above to kick-start your positivity routine.


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