Transform Your Health with these Mood-Boosting Foods
If you want to increase your happiness quotient or well-being, look no further as you can achieve it with just the food you eat.
Have you ever enjoyed a delicious meal of rice and rajma for lunch but felt yourself struggling to stay awake right after? Or been tempted by a steaming hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning but then a few hours later find yourself dozing? It’s not you; it’s what you ate.
Food plays so many roles in our life – it gives us sustenance, nourishment, and even comfort. But there’s an additional quality it possesses that is often overlooked, which is the ability to change your mood. So make the right choices and adopt experiential eating i.e. eating with all your senses. You can immerse yourself not just in the taste but the authentic value food brings to your body.
The Starting Point
The food we consume gets broken down into nutrients, making neurotransmitters, otherwise known as brain chemicals, that control our moods. Hence, both your emotions and cognitive abilities are affected by the food you eat.
There are various types of neurotransmitters. Some like Serotonin help your mood, elevates it, and help you sleep better. Another neurotransmitter, Dopamine, keeps you mentally alert and responsible for pleasure, motivation, and being in a positive mood. You need to feed your body well for the neurotransmitters to be most effective.
Otherwise, when your Serotonin levels are low, you will experience feelings such as anxiety and depression. You might find it hard to sleep. When your Dopamine levels are low, you are putting yourself at an elevated risk for Parkinson’s disease and may find yourself dealing with social anxiety, moody, and unmotivated.
The Right Eating Habits
Do you know? When and how you eat is essential. One of the best habits you can develop is to take an interest in eating a proper breakfast. Studies show that this can affect your whole day. Who can resist a plate of delicious cut fruits to start your day on the right note?
Remember your mother coaxing you to eat your greens when you were a child? She had her reasons. Green vegetables like spinach, fenugreek, and broccoli enhance your mood and improve your health immensely.
Did you know that trans fats increase depression by 48%? Fast foods are full of preservatives, chemicals, and stabilizers to tempt your taste buds but are the fastest way to put your health at risk. Fruits, vegetables, and legumes keep you satiated and stop you from giving in to temptation.
Hormones regulate your cells and organs and impact stress levels and menstrual cycles. Load up on broccoli, which balances the sex hormones, particularly estrogen, needed for a healthy reproductive system. Avocados contain fiber to keep your insulin levels in check and also, reduce inflammation and stress. Pomegranates contain punic acid, a rare fatty acid that can burn fat.
The juice trend shows no signs of slowing down, so juice up for better health and hydration. Orange juice is full of vitamin C, which can improve your memory and focus. Blueberry juice is full of antioxidants to boost your brain. Beetroot juice, apart from being delicious, is rich in nitrates for improved blood flow and oxygenation. Don’t just have your veggies whole; blend spinach, cucumber, green apples, lemongrass, and celery for a fast-acting health-boosting drink.
The Right Foods
If you have felt low or experienced symptoms of depression caused by the traumatic pandemic, you should know that you could improve your mental health by changing your diet. Opt for healthy treats that open up a lasting world of well-being and give you stress relief and energy to cope.
Self-care starts with the correct functional foods whose value extends beyond nutrients to offer additional vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Focus on intentional consumption, which involves asking yourself why you are eating a particular food before putting it into your mouth in the first place.
Apart from those mentioned above, here are some more fruits and vegetables to pick from:
- Berries are full of brain-boosting chemicals that reduce anxiety. It is hard to find a more delicious snack than a bowl of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or blackberries
- Citrus fruits are packed with Vitamin C and folate
- Papaya contains compounds to reduce pain levels
- Mango gives you 20% of the recommended vitamin B6 quota
- Bananas can prevent anemia and constipation
- Radishes can make you alert and happy by increasing Dopamine and Norepinephrine levels in your brain
- Sweet potatoes increase Serotonin to help you feel good
- Spinach regulates blood sugar
- Mushrooms are one of the best sources of vitamin D, which is needed for bone health
- Bell peppers help neurotransmitters to function properly
- Asparagus can keep you from feeling irritable
You have no excuse for letting your diet keep you down. Just fill your plate with foods that are bursting with health and vitality and watch the positive effect on your mood.