Foods can act as natural mood enhancers and your mood or the way you feel has a lot to do with your eating habits. Do you have a diet high in sugar, salt and fat? Take a look at what you eat throughout the day and see if you can change your habits a little bit, try it and see the results after a couple of weeks.
An overall healthy diet is important, but there are certain foods that will affect your mood in a much more positive way and foods that will cause depression over time.
Foods can affect your mind and mood in two simple ways: Through its influence on your blood glucose levels and on the chemical messengers in your brain.
Foods As Natural Mood Enhancers:
• Mashed or Baked Potato, by releasing the serotonin in your brain, can make you feel better.
• Flaxseeds, Walnuts, Salmon, Sardines and Soybeans as they are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, by influencing metabolic pathways in your brain.
• Turkey and Other Lean White Meats, Tuna, Shellfish, Bananas, Nuts and Dairy Products– especially yogurt and cottage cheese all are good sources of tryptophan, which can help stabilize your mood. Tryptophan is well-known for its role in the production of nervous system messengers, especially those related to relaxation, restfulness, and sleep.
• Seafood contains good amounts of selenium and it is another great antidepressant. Meat, cereals, eggs and nuts are also good sources of selenium.
• Spinach, Broccoli, Asparagus and other green vegetables are good sources of folate. Folate and folic acid are types of B-vitamins and folic acid deficiency is linked with depression.
• Tofu, like other soy products is rich in tryptophan and Omega 3, both proven to combat the blues and the depression.
• Oats and Wholegrain Cereals are absorbed slowly and keep your blood sugars stable as the swinging blood sugar is a good reason for mood swings. Slow release complex carbohydrates also increase the tryptophan in your brain, which in turn leads to better serotonin synthesis.
• Water to prevent dehydration and to avoid fatigue and irritability. Eating fruits can also help you stay hydrated.
• Dark Chocolate tastes great and contains theobromine and caffeine, stimulants that trigger the release of serotonin and endorphins.
Types of Natural Mood Enhancers:
• St John’s Wort is widely known as a herbal treatment for depression. In some countries, such as Germany, it is commonly prescribed for mild depression, especially in children, adolescents, and where cost is a concern.
• The B-Complex Vitamins are essential to mental and emotional wellbeing. They cannot be stored in our bodies, so we depend entirely on our daily diet to supply them. B vitamins are destroyed by alcohol, refined sugars, nicotine, and caffeine so it is no surprise that many people may be deficient in these.
• 5-HTP is the precursor of serotonin from the essential amino acid L-Tryptophan. It is not affected by the presence of other amino acids; therefore it may be taken with meals without reducing its effectiveness.
• Melatonin may help to provide positive support for occasional sleep difficulty caused by restlessness, nervous tension, occasional anxiety, mild to moderate mood changes, or jet lag and daytime drowsiness and fatigue caused by occasional sleeplessness.
• Serotonin comes from the essential amino acid tryptophan, which is found in protein containing foods such as fish, chicken, cottage cheese, avocados and bananas. Researchers have found that when they take depressed patients who have improved and deprive them of tryptophan, their depression returns.