Have you ever noticed that certain foods hold power to lift your spirits? Yes, there are specific foods that lift up your mood. Even on days when you do not feel like meeting anyone you still wouldn’t mind seeing the pizza delivery guy at your doorstep, would you? Or maybe when you’ve cancelled all your plans for the weekend just to stay in bed, you still enjoy walking up to your favourite coffee shop to pick that invigorating cup of coffee!
Everyone feels low, sad, or downright depressed sometimes, and it is during such phases that we all begin to crave certain kinds of foods. Some people crave for chocolates, ice creams, sweets, fatty or salty foods, and they feel better once their cravings are fulfilled! Why is it so? How can a certain food change your mood?
It’s simple! Food comes to our rescue when nothing else does! It is now scientifically proven that the food we eat has a profound effect on our mental well being. So, when we feel under the weather, our body organically calls or craves for those foods which increase the levels of endorphins in our system. Endorphins are known to trigger a positive feeling in the body similar to morphine, and are rightly also called ‘Happy Hormones’!
‘Junk foods’ are what people opt for in most cases. However what people forget is that this is the kind of food capable of making you feel good for some time, but later, make you dull and groggy, possibly even more depressed than before! This is why mood eaters go on ‘binges’, where they keep eating junk food every few hours to avoid the groggy phase from coming on. And this is dangerous to health in the long run!
Junk food binges can very well lead you down a dark path of obesity, heart disease and diabetes!
On the other hand, foods like lean protein, fish, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables give you higher levels of energy and better mental focus along with taking care of your mood! So why not indulge in good-mood foods which not only enhance your mood but also get you closer to good health!
11 Foods That Lift Up Your Mood
Have a look at this delicious list of foods that boost your mood when you feel low:
1. Dark Chocolate
Chocolates are everyone’s favourite ‘feel-good food’. All you need to do is to replace your regular chocolates with dark chocolate. Dark chocolate releases a chemical called Serotonin which in turn helps your heart to relax. It helps to reduce blood pressure and leaves you feeling calm and relaxed. So, the next time you feel overwhelmed with emotions or if you’ve had a long tiring day, relax with a bite of your favourite dark chocolate!
Nuts, especially walnuts are known to be a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids and is one of the richest plant-based sources of omega-3, that play an important role in the optimum functioning of the brain. Nuts help to curb depressive feelings and promote a sense of well being. Munch on a handful of nuts to beat your mid-day hunger pangs, and you will be surprised to see how smoothly you can sail through till lunch hour!
While we just told you about the best plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, fish is one of the best animal sources. Fish like mackerel, tuna and wild salmon are the best amongst all. The fatty acids found in fish like mackerel, tuna and wild salmon turn up brain function and improve mood.
Whole grains are rich in dietary fibre and complex carbohydrates that can improve your mood quickly! They help the body to release the stress-busting hormone, Serotonin. Stock your kitchen with whole wheat pasta, brown rice and oatmeal. You can include these foods in your breakfast and lunch to maintain optimum energy levels throughout the day.
Berries like strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, etc. are loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that help to repair damaged body cells. A diet rich in antioxidants is known to prevent depression in the long run. Starting your day with a berry smoothie won’t be a bad idea after all!
6. Green Tea
Green Tea is yet another high anti-oxidant food, and the best part is, it is zero in calories, which makes it one of the best drinks for weight loss. It contains the amino acid theanine, which adds to the depression-fighting properties of green tea. Theanine is known to improve sleep and mood, helps in liver function and also helps in maintaining healthy blood circulation.
Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats, high on vitamins and low in sugar. Include a mashed avocado spread in your breakfast or add pieces of avocado to salads, they go well with both! Avocado health benefits encompasses improving our mood and fighting depression.
8. Dairy Products
Low-fat dairy products like skimmed milk, cheese, yoghurt are foods that not only contain vitamin C and D but also contain proteins which leave you with a feeling of well being and relaxation. Make sure you have some form of dairy product each day.
Tomatoes are another amazing food that lift up your mood. They are packed with nutrients that convert glucose into energy and stabilize mood. Tomatoes contain folic acid and alpha lipoic acid that promotes the release of serotonin and dopamine.
Mushrooms have properties that are similar to insulin, which help in lowering your blood sugar and improve your mood. They also act as probiotics that are essential for the health of your gut. All in all, mushrooms are something that you would not want to miss including in your diet.
Apples are high in anti-oxidants and contain a large amount of soluble fibre which helps to balance blood sugar swings in the body, as sudden alterations in blood sugar also leave you feeling blue!
Following a diet full of these foods that lift up your mood, will not only keep you in a good mood but will also help in keeping you away from some illnesses. So it’s a win-win situation, isn’t it?
Note: Apart from all the foods mentioned above, you should try indulging less in coffee, excessive fats, aerated drinks and foods high is sugar.
Dr Neha D. Khodke, M.D. (Homeopathy)
Dr Neha is a homeopathic physician practising for the past 8 years. She is currently associated as Senior Doctor with Welcome Cure one of the largest online homeopathic treatment portals, based in Mumbai India.