I have been focused on my mood lately. Your mood, mindset and outlook on life can have a big impact on bringing all the elements of your life into balance. It can be difficult to exercise, eat right and get enough sleep when you’re in a bad mood. Your disposition can affect your relationships, stress level and even your spiritual well-being.
As we head into the fall season, here are more ideas for boosting your mood. You may not realize that the foods you eat can help put you in a good mood.
Here are 11 foods to boost your mood:
When you’re feeling grouchy, go for a spinach salad instead of a sweet snack. Dark, leafy greens like those found in spinach, asparagus and Brussel sprouts are packed with folic acid, or folate. Folate is a B vitamin that helps the brain synthesize mood chemicals, such as norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. You can also get folate from potatoes, fortified breads and cereals, beans, peas and mushrooms.
Fruits and veggies (or whole foods)
You already know you need to eat your fruits and vegetables every day. Here’s another reason to eat these whole foods. A diet rich in fruits and veggies provides antioxidants and important vitamins and minerals that can boost your overall health. In fact, those who eat more whole foods and less fatty, processed and sugar-laden foods are at a lower risk of depression.
While most of us already know that chocolate improves our mood based on personal experience, science shows that chocolate does in fact make you happy. Eating a moderate amount of dark chocolate (1.4 ounces) every day for two weeks has been shown to reduce stress hormones like cortisol.
Bananas contain dopamine, which is a natural chemical that boosts your mood. Bananas also provide B vitamins and magnesium – both nutrients aid in creating a positive mood.
If you start to feel tired and moody, grab a snack made of high-quality protein. For instance, a scrambled egg, handful of almonds, or a few cubes of cheese.
Blueberries and blackberries get their deep purple color from a pigment called anthocyanin. This pigment is an antioxidant that allows your brain to produce dopamine, which helps improve your mood, memory function and coordination.
Omega-3 fatty acids play a role in your emotional well-being. They may also protect against depression. You can find Omega-3 fats in salmon and other fatty fish, flaxseed and walnuts.
Saffron, a spice that is popular in Middle Eastern, Indian and Spanish foods, is made from the dried stigmas of crocus plants. Saffron has been used in Eastern cultures for healing and for nerve-calming purposes. Researchers believe the spice has the same affect as Prozac by making serotonin more available to the brain.
The link between carbohydrates and your mood has to do with tryptophan. It’s an amino acid that helps your brain produce more serotonin and improve your mood. Be sure to make smart carb choices, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes. You’ll get good carbs as well as other important nutrients and fiber.
If you’re feeling anxious or unable to concentrate, drinking a cup of green tea can help calm you down and give you more focus. Green tea contains theanine and is gentler on your body than coffee. In addition, tea has less caffeine than coffee, so it won’t give you the jitters or set you on edge.
Vitamin D helps your body process all of these mood boosting vitamins and nutrients. It also increases the levels of serotonin in the brain. As we head into fall and have less sun exposure, be sure to get as much vitamin D as you can each day from the foods you eat.
Your mood and outlook have a huge impact on your ability to keep all aspects of your life in balance. Good wholesome foods are a foundation for good health and overall well-being. Do you have certain foods that help you focus, tackle your day and boost your mood?