If all you need to go from ‘hangry’ (hungry + angry) to calm is a bite of your favourite chocolate, then you know food can affect your mood. There’s a reason why comfort food exists, but sometimes a tub of ice cream or a jumbo bag of chips won’t cut it! Your favourite (read: unhealthy) food can give you a high but there are certain foods out there that work specifically to boost your mood. If you’re feeling down in the dumps, try these eight super foods to help lift your mood. As if we needed another reason to pig out!
1. Dark Chocolate
This comes as no surprise. Chocolate has been the number one comfort food for a reason. But in case you still have doubts, studies prove that consuming dark chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins and boosts serotonin levels. Chocolate also contains phenylethylamine, the same chemical that’s released in our brain when we fall in love. See? It’s meant to be!
Be it blueberries, raspberries or strawberries, they’re all are packed with Vitamin C and can prevent the release of cortisol, a hormone produced during stressful situations. Berries are also rich in flavonoid, which improves the memory and helps control mood swings. Since they’re low in sugar and calories, you don’t need to feel guilty when indulging in a bowl full of berries!
Salmon is one of the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, which alleviate anxiety and are proven to lower the risk of depression. They’re also high in proteins, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D, and boost the production of feel-good endorphins. Not only does this improve your mood by keeping the brain cells flexible, salmon is high in flavour too!
Health conscious people don’t swear by lentils for nothing. When it comes to providing the body with essential nutrients, these little pulses act as all-rounders. Lentils are complex carbohydrate, which means they help increase the brain’s production of neurotransmitter serotonin. This reduces anxiety, boosting your mood! They also provide a good supply of folate — a vitamin that helps develop the nervous system and prevents depression. We knew there’s a reason daal chawal is the ultimate desi comfort food.
We can go on and on about why eggs should be a part of your daily diet. They’re high in protein, Vitamin D and B12. Egg yolks are rich in Omega 3 and 6 fats as well as choline — a nutrient that supports the nervous system, improves mood and helps produce the antioxidant selenium. You know what they say – eat breakfast like a king – and eggs are the reason why!
Although all fruits have health benefits, bananas in particular work wonders in brightening up your mood. They contain the amino acid, tryptophan, and are packed with healthy carbohydrates, vitamins A, B6 and C, as well as fibre and iron. The vitamin B6 helps convert the tryptophan into serotonin, which instantly lifts your mood.
This leafy green vegetable is a great source of energy and has a huge impact on your mood. It’s been suggested that magnesium deficiency can lead to anxiety, depression and extreme stress. Since spinach is loaded with soluble fibre and magnesium, it can keep your levels up and boost your brain health. That explains Popeye’s obsession!
From vitamin B6, E and C to fibre, folic acid and amino acids— avocados have it all. Avocados are natural hormone balancers and help decrease homocysteine, an amino acid linked to causing anxiety and depression. So if you haven’t already given this superfood a shot, here’s another reason why you definitely should. After all, it’s a millennial favourite!