Can food improve your mood? We’re not talking about the ice cream you dig into when watching late-night TV or the fried samosas you tuck into at the multiplex – that food gives you momentary happiness and adds to your waistline. But some foods can actually alter brain chemistry and boost your mood.
Try these 13 healthy foods to stay content all day long:
The fruit has potent anti-inflammatory properties, with pomegranate juice promising three times the antioxidant activity of red wine and green/white A study has found that drinking a glass of juice every day lowered blood pressure, anxiety and depression.
Research has shown that this buttery fruit can keep your blood flowing smoothly. But the fruit, rich in fibre, vitamins and antioxidants, contains serotonin and will make you feel more pleased with life.
Widely advocated by most fitness trainers as the go-to pre-workout snack, an average-sized banana has only 0.3 grams of fat. The presence of pectin contributes to the feeling of satiation while the tryptophan, an amino acid, works as a precursor to serotonin.
This superfood seems to deliver on almost every front. One of the most concentrated sources of vitamin C, an important co-factor in the production of dopamine, the crunchy veggie also contains antioxidants such as carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene.
Bet you didn’t know that this pungent salad staple can lift your mood? The veggie’s bite stimulates the release of dopamine and norepinephrine, getting you into a better mood.
If you haven’t been listening to your gut, it’s time to. Cultured dairy products such as yogurt enhance your population of probiotics, healthy bacteria that keep you happy.
Eating a slice of cheese is a pleasurable experience as is biting into a cheese pizza. Calcium consumption may improve PMS-related depression as estrogen plays a large role in calcium production.
Walnuts & flax
These nuts and seeds are loaded with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which has a significant impact on your mood. Low ALA levels reduce brain levels of dopamine, associated with feelings of joy, and serotonin, which inhibits anger and aggression.
If you’re feeling stressed, time to brew some soothing green tea. It contains L-theanine, an antioxidant that reduces anxiety and calms as it modulates serotonin and dopamine.
The aroma of coffee is synonymous with a better mood. The caffeine boosts alertness, mental focus and athletic performance. A cuppa also works well as a great pre-workout food. But don’t overdo it!
Now we’re talking! Rich dark chocolate – with over 70 percent cocoa – is loaded with anti-oxidants, can curb cravings and encourages exercise. It also makes you calm and content!
We all know that kicking back with a glass of vino gives you a happy high. Moderate consumption can ward off depression, protect your heart and slim the waistline. Red wine is also among the top anti-ageing foods.
If you can lay your hand on these aphrodisiacs, eat up. These heart-healthy bivalves make you feel gung-ho as they boost circulation. Oysters are also high in omega-3 fatty acids and zinc, low levels of which are linked to depression.
Other foods that contribute to the happy feel include eggs, paneer, chocolate, soy, oats and leafy greens – all rich in tryptophan. Anti-oxidant rich foods also improve the mood. Aim to add more colours to your plate to enjoy the benefits of all food groups. This breaks the monotony and ensures you are getting all the nutrients that you need.
Keep in mind that some of these foods may be high in calories; always consume in moderation.
Eat healthy, stay happy!