How do foods improve moods? Quite simply it’s thanks to the way the brain works. When your brain is functioning properly you have well-regulated moods. There are some nutrients that can affect the cognitive system and keep our brains functioning normally. There have been a number of studies linking nutrients and the brain and scientists have discovered 9 nutrients that can be used to overcome depression and elevate our moods. These are calcium, chromium, folate, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin D and lastly vitamin Z. Here are foods rich in those nutrients.
Outside of being super cute and a great addition to any salad a cherry tomato is great for staying in a good mood.
Cherry tomatoes contain lycopene. Lycopene is rich in antioxidants that can elevate your mood. You can get the same effect from regular tomatoes too. Make sure that you cook the tomatoes to the point that the skin is wrinkled and add healthy oil to the mix like a virgin coconut oil or olive oil. This ensures that the body can use the precious lycopene.
There are a lot of physical health benefits to taking spinach but did you know that it works great for mental health too? Spinach contains the aforementioned iron and it’s also rich in folic acid; another nutrient that can perk you up. Folic acid keeps your red blood cells healthy and improves your immune system so you stay healthy physically and mentally.
You should avoid white rice and bread as these can give you blood sugar crashes and ruin your mood. Instead embrace quinoa, a complex carb that keeps you energised for a longer period of time. Quinoa is one of those ultra-rare plant-based foods that is filled with all nine essential amino acids. These are the amino acids the body can’t produce by itself and they are vital for protein synthesis.
Walnuts are one of the best sources of serotonin around. Serotonin is the chemical in your brain that makes you happy. A Spanish study looked into how the brain is able to absorb serotonin from food and found that people who ate 1-ounce worth of nuts including walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds had more serotonin than people avoiding nuts.
The best weapon against depression is folic acid. Having low folate levels is linked to depression. You can take folate supplements or you can take a natural source of folate and tryptophan like asparagus.
Tryptophan is behind the production of serotonin, making asparagus one of the best vegetables around to boost your mood thanks to both folate and tryptophan.
You might have trouble finding them at a supermarket but you should look for blue potatoes at your next farmer’s market. Blue potatoes are blue thanks to anthocyanins. These are powerful antioxidants that protect your neurological system. They can boost your short term memory and reduce inflammation. They are also rich in iodine; one of the essential nutrients that keeps your thyroid working.
Honey is a great organic sugar substitute. It can make just about anyone happy and have them buzzing like the bees that collected it. Two things found in honey that help with brain health are kaempferol and quercetin. They can also reduce inflammation in the brain too. One last benefit of honey? Strawberries dipped in honey are a powerful aphrodisiac and a great way to cap off a romantic evening.
Pumpkin seeds are like nature’s Prozac. They are packed with an amino acid called tryptophan. This helps your brain to produce serotonin and keep you happy. One of the main functions of antidepressants is to keep your brain circulating serotonin so pumpkin seeds are a great addition and can make them even more effective.