5 Foods That Boost Your Mood
Sep 20, 2022 10:40:28 AM
Research tells us we are most definitely what we eat.
Eating healthy, balanced meals will help keep our blood sugars in check, ward off extra weight, and help us manage our moods.
A basic approach to eating for emotional health includes not letting yourself get too hungry between meals (“hangry?” anyone?). Choosing whole, nutrient-dense foods (i.e. lean protein, fresh fruits and veggies) over highly processed and high-sugar foods (i.e. pretty much anything in a box, bag or other package) is key. For example, carb-heavy dishes may taste great, but just a few hours later, brain fog sets in and our energy takes a dive.
Read on to learn your coach's top mood-boosting foods, and those that have the opposite effect.
Top Five Mood-Boosting Foods
- Salmon (and other wild-caught fatty fish, including mackerel and sardines) is a potent source of omega-3 fats. These essential fatty acids have been linked to healthy insulin function, brain health, and more restful sleep.
- Dark leafy greens are among the most nutrient-dense foods out there. The micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants) they contain play a key role in the body’s ability to produce and regulate “feel good” chemicals, such as serotonin.
- Berries are especially high in antioxidants, which may help offset the physical effects of stress.
- Tomatoes may help offset depressive symptoms, thanks to their high concentration of the antioxidant lycopene.
- Eggs are a great source of protein, which plays a critical role in balancing mood. They also contain vitamin D and B, which help support the brain and nervous system.
Check out this powerful and science-based method for improving your mood (and your entire reality) with gratitude:
5 Foods to Limit or Avoid for Emotional Health:
- Sugar wreaks havoc on your mood, largely because of the rollercoaster it sets in motion. Blood sugar quickly spikes and then crashes, driving us to eat even more sugar. This vicious cycle negatively affects everything from energy levels and sleep to hormones and neurotransmitters. (Quick side note: Regular soda is packed with sugar, but diet sodas aren’t a good alternative as artificial sweeteners have been linked to mood disorders.)
- Fried foods are typically fried in unhealthy oils that become damaged when heated to high temperatures. Consuming these damaged fats creates inflammation in the body, believed to be a risk factor for mood imbalances.
- Processed oils (i.e. canola, soybean, corn, cottonseed, etc.) have usually been extracted with chemicals, and are high in omega-6 fats. While we need some omega-6 fat in the diet, too much can lead to excess inflammation if you're not getting enough omega-3s.
- Caffeine has the potential to stimulate stress hormones and make you feel more anxious. The exception: green tea, which is high in antioxidants and an amino acid called theanine, which has been linked to positive mood and improved sleep. So, if you tolerate caffeine well, feel free to enjoy your green tea. Decaf green tea also provides theanine.
- Alcohol can make coping with mood imbalances worse. While the occasional adult beverage is fine for most, cut back if you struggle with mood issues.
Related Content: 14 Healthy Ways to Handle Stress
Sure, it’s easy to reach for a chocolate bar or glass of wine when you’re feeling stressed, but how about snacking on a few strawberries instead? Your mood (and everyone around you) will thank you.