Top 10 foods to boost your mood
If you’ve been feeling a bit low of late, you might be interested to learn how a change in diet can help improve your mood. Number one on the list is cutting down on your sugar intake, which not only balances your energy levels but also your stress hormones.
On top of this there are a few specific foods that can help to improve your mood:
- Oily fish – like salmon and tuna, are packed with omega 3 fats which have been proven to help with brain function and are useful for all aspects of mental health
- Fermented foods and probiotics - nourish the beneficial bacteria in the gut, and these bacteria have a role in sending and receiving signals to the brain. A number of studies have found positive effects of probiotics on depression
- Beans and lentils – are an excellent source of B vitamins, which help improve mood by increasing levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine
- Bananas – are high in vitamin B6, which helps to synthesize feel-good neurotransmitters in a similar way to beans and lentils
- Berries – contain high levels of antioxidants which reduces the inflammation associated with mood disorders – studies have found that a high consumption of berries correlates with a lower risk of depression
- Nuts and seeds - including almonds, cashews, pumpkin and sesame seeds – are rich in healthy fats and also contain the amino acid tryptophan which helps the body produce serotonin
- Dark chocolate – has small amounts of a ‘feel good’ compound called theobromine which is similar to caffeine. It is also high in flavonoids, which increase blood flow to the brain and is low in sugar compared to other types of chocolate
- Whole grains – help to keep your blood sugar stable which in turn regulates secretion of brain neurotransmitters – they are also a good source of B vitamins
- Leafy greens - like spinach and other green vegetables - contain folate (a member of the B vitamin family). Studies have consistently found low folate levels to be associated with depression and low mood
- Vitamin D - increases the level of serotonin, and a deficiency has been linked with mood disorders. As well as eggs and dairy products, tinned salmon with bones is rich in vitamin D.