We’ve all reached into the pantry here and there for a little pick-me-up when we’re feeling down. But, did you know that there are certain foods that may scientifically boost your mood?
According to WebMD, “research shows that dietary changes bring about changes in the structure, chemistry, and physiology of our brains, which in turn lead to changes in behavior – it all depends on what you’re feeding your brain.”
Allen Marketing Communications, Inc., a boutique food and beverage public relations agency based in New York City, has five great foods that could help uplift your mood, and keep you healthy, in their latest blog.
Omega Rich Foods
“Researchers have noted that Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may play a role in mental health as they could be mood stabilizers,” according to WebMD. One study found that among new mothers, those with lower levels of fish consumption and DHA (the Omega-3 fatty acid found in fish) in their breast milk had a higher likelihood of postpartum depression.
Getting a balance of Omega-3 rich foods is essential; in addition to fish, you can get this nutrient from flaxseed, canola oil, cauliflower, and broccoli among other plant foods. If you’re looking for an easier snack that contains omega-3 fatty acids, grab some nuts such as almonds or walnuts.
“Berries’ purple-blue color is what makes them so good for our mood,” according to Healthline. Their vibrant coloring comes from a pigment called anthocyanins, which some studies have found to be associated with lower risk of depression symptoms.
Berries are also packed with antioxidants and phenolic compounds, which both play key roles in fighting oxidative stress, which is an imbalance of harmful compounds in your body. A handful of berries a day is an easy way to keep your spirits high.
Fermented foods, such as kimchi, yogurt, and kombucha, are all great sources of probiotics and may help improve gut health and mood. The fermentation process involves live bacteria converting sugars into alcohols and acids which then creates probiotics.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that support the growth of healthy gut bacteria which, in turn, affects your mood. It’s important to note, though, that not all fermented foods, such as beer and wine, don’t provide these probiotics due to their creation process.
A healthy gut has been shown to lead to improved moods, and according to Healthline, up to 90% of our body’s serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects things such as our mood, appetite, and stress response, is produced by our gut microbiome. Who knew your gut could be so in charge of your mood?
We all know that sipping a cup of warm tea is a nice way to relax when you’re stressed, but drinking green tea may actually reduce depression symptoms. According to EatingWell, “a Japanese study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that drinking two or three cups of green tea per day was linked to reduced depression symptoms in elderly people.“
Green tea contains nutrients such as L-theanine, an amino acid that helps fight anxiety. It also has just enough caffeine to wake you up but not so much to make you anxious. So whether you’re looking to just relax or even brighten your spirits, green tea is the perfect drink for you.
Though it may not be the most calorie-efficient choice, dark chocolate has been shown to have benefits on mood. According to EatingWell, “a study done at the Nestlé Research Center in Switzerland showed that eating small amounts of dark chocolate every day for two weeks reduced the levels of cortisol and other stress hormones in people who were highly stressed. “
Experts say it may be because of the antioxidants found in dark chocolate, but either way, next time you’re feeling a little stressed, don’t hesitate to break off a little piece of that chocolate bar.
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By Marley Merrihew at Allen Marketing Communications, Inc.