Skip to main content

The relationship between food and mood is distinct. What we consume does not only affect our physical health but our mental well-being either positively or negatively. We certainly do have days that we are at our best feelings and days we feel sad or down, but is there a connection between your mood and what you eat? Is it possible to improve your chances of being happy through a carefully planned diet? Here are seven (7) foods that have been linked to an improved mood!

Fatty fish

Fish like salmon, sardine, mackerel are very helpful in improving your mood, this is because it contains omega 3 fatty acids (an essential type of fats that cannot be produced by the body). Omega 3s can swiftly travel through the brain cell membrane and interact with mood-related molecules inside the brain.  Various research findings have shown that people whose diet lack omega 3 fatty acid usually have their mood disturbed compared to individuals who consume more of these fatty acids.

 Yogurt

Probiotic bacteria found in yogurt helps to influence the balance of gut microbiota (microorganisms that live in the digestive tract of humans), which is linked with behavioral changes. Consuming yogurt increases the ingestion of probiotic bacteria which may affect the balance of human gut microbiota. Changes found in gut microbiota helps in moderating the central nervous system, leading to a change in brain functioning, which may positively impact mood.

 Banana

Banana contains lots of nutrients and has quite several amazing health benefits. Banana contains tryptophan, a type of protein that is converted into serotonin in the body. Serotonin (the feel-good hormone) has been known to induce relaxation, improve mood levels, and generally make individuals feel happier. Also, vitamin B6 found in bananas helps to regulate blood glucose levels, which has also be linked to improved mood.

 Oat

Oat is very effective in boosting mood because of its low glycemic index- making it easy to release energy slowly into the bloodstream which keeps blood sugar and mood stable. Oat also contains selenium (the mood-boosting mineral). Selenium is a trace element naturally found in foods, and added to foods through fortification. Research findings have shown that poor intake of selenium may result in an altered mood. Oat is also rich in iron, which prevents fatigue and tiredness common among those that are iron deficient.  Oats can be enjoyed in various ways such as making into porridge, smoothie, pancakes, granola, etc.

 Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are filled with important minerals that promote mood such as omega 3 fatty acids, selenium, copper, magnesium, and zinc, all of which promote brain health. Nuts and seeds include walnut, almond nut, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, cashew nut.

Vegetables

Varieties of micronutrients are packed in vegetables that help maintain ones’ physical and mental wellbeing. Evidence has shown that an increased intake of vegetables is related to better mental health. Eating vegetables reduces the chance of having mood disorders and increases the likelihood of greater happiness and a positive mood. Vegetables include kale, parsley, mint leaf, pumpkin, carrot, bell peppers, etc.

Beans and lentils

Apart from the fiber content found in beans and lentils, they contain other nutrients that help to improve mood. Vitamin B content helps to improve mood by increasing levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin important for regulating mood. Also, B vitamins play a major role in allowing communication between nerve cells. Low levels of these vitamins particularly B12, and folate has been associated with depression.

Summary

By eating the right foods, you can control and take charge of your mood the whole day! Always aim for healthy foods that can improve your mood especially if you are struggling with depression, it is also very important to seek the help of your health provider for proper management!

 

References

  • Appleton K. M., Woodside J. V., Yarnell J. W., Arveiler D., Haas B., Amouyel P., et al. . (2007). Depressed mood and dietary fish intake: direct relationship or indirect relationship as a result of diet and lifestyle?  Affect. Disord.104, 217–223. 10.1016/j.jad.2007.03.012 [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  • Blanchflower D. G., Oswald A. J., Stewart-Brown S. (2013). Is psychological well-being linked to the consumption of fruit and vegetables?  Indic. Res.114, 785–801. 10.1007/s11205-012-0173-y [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  • Benton, D. and Donohoe RT. (1999) The effects of nutrients on mood. Public Health Nutrition, 2(3a) 403-409
  • Bienenstock, J. et al., microbiota and the gut-brain axis, August 2015, vol 73(8), pp. 28-31.
  • Gilbody, S., Lightfoot, T. and Sheldon, T. (2007) Is low folate a risk factor for depression? A meta-analysis and exploration of heterogeneity. Journal of Epidemiol Community Health 61, pp.631-637
  • Mischoulon D, Freeman M. Omega-3 fatty acids in psychiatry. Psychiatric Clinics of North America. 2013;36(1):15–23. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

Leave a Reply