There are foods that can encourage bad moods or even slide one towards depression, and there are foods that can instantly boost your mood and make you feel like the world is a perfect place to live in.
Have you ever wondered why we order ourselves a big bar of chocolate when our mood is at its worst? Or have you given a thought as to why we are asked to eat bananas when our energy reserves are running low? It’s because food can greatly influence our mood.
How Can Food Alter Your Mood?
Our daily diet can make a great deal of change to our moods. The number of nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants, probiotics and other essential fats in our food can determine our physical as well as our mental well-being. Some foods that taste like a piece of heaven on our plate can leave you feeling lethargic and dull (sugars and high-fat foods), while other average tasting foods have enough scientific backing that they can elevate our mood.
Since we humans are a moody lot, it becomes all the more important to ensure that our diet includes more of happy foods rather than those deceiving Instagram-worthy foods that leave you at a higher risk of obesity, anxiety, and depression. A research conducted by BMC medicine has found that those who were sputtering from mild depression and anxiety showed considerably better moods with a healthier diet (5). So, we have created a list of all the happy foods that you should have in your armory. We have also furnished you with a list of foods that you should show the door to.
1. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate and raw cocoa beans contain polyphenols (a type of antioxidant usually found in plants). It’s because of these that the chocolates have a calming effect on us. Dark chocolates have the ability to stimulate the production of endorphins-a chemical that creates feelings of pleasure. Additionally, chocolate is also high in serotonin and can elevate your mood.
Stay away from milk chocolates and other chocolates that have less than 72 percent of cacao.
2. Fermented Foods And Probiotics
Did you know that you had a second brain? Don’t strain your neurons. We are talking about your gut; it is often dubbed as your second brain. So the foods you eat need to keep the bacteria in your gut happy, and that’s possible only when you eat fermented foods like kimchi, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, etc. These probiotics reduce social anxiety and depression.
Stay away from Soy yogurt, a fermented yogurt that is rich in probiotics but also abundant in omega-6 fatty acids that block the mood enhancing omega-3 fatty acids.
3. Blueberries And Berries
Berries are a great source of antioxidants and are great mood elevators. Blueberries are packed with health benefits and can protect your brain from Alzheimer’s by up to 35 percent.
Stay away from salted peanuts, and other chaknas that are high in sodium, salt, and MSG (monosodium glutamate) that are known to trigger mood swings.
4. Hazelnuts, Walnuts, And Almonds
If you don’t want to go nuts, snack on some nuts. Studies have found that a daily intake of about 30 grams of assorted nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, and almonds) can prevent depression to a great extent. Also, these nuts are rich in vitamin E.
Stay away from salted and fried potato chips and other junk foods that satiate your hunger for a short term. They are packed with omega-6 fatty acids that hinder the effect of mood enhancers in the body.
5. Fish And Fish Oil
We love seafood because it is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, that prevents the onset of depression and keeps anxiety, or bad moods at an arm’s length (the kind of arm that extends from Kashmir to Kanyakumari). Fish oil and fish can uplift your mood greatly if you include these in your diet.
Stay away from cold cut meats, sausages, and other meats that are doused with preservatives. These food additives make it easy for consumption but they leave you with mood swings and headaches. It’s always better to get raw meat and cook it from the scratch.
Not all days are the same- there are the good, bad, and the worst of days. But our food influences our moods greatly. So, be mindful of what goes in the stomach. Keep all the processed and junk foods at a distance. They do more harm than good to us. Try eating clean for a couple of weeks and make little changes. Use honey instead of sugar, fermented foods instead of dairy products, green tea instead of sodas, black pepper in place of salt, and fresh fruits instead of sugar-coated desserts.
Being happy is a state of mind, but you need to cultivate this state of mind through your food habits and everyday routine. Eat happily to be happy. What are your go-to happy foods? Tell us in the comments below