Do you stand in front of an open refrigerator door or pantry when you are feeling down or bored? You’re not alone if you turn to food when you are feeling sad or out of sorts. And there’s a good reason why. Certain food can help elevate your mood. But it’s important to eat the right foods that will boost your mood and still be healthy for you.
What are the feel good foods?
- Chocolate: Just like anti-depressant drugs which work by increasing the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin in your brain, chocolate can have the same effect. Eating just one ounce of 70% cacao or higher of chocolate can make you feel calmer and elevate your mood noticeably.
- Nuts: Keeping your blood sugar stable is one key to keeping your mood regulated. Instead of loading up on a sugary snack which can cause your blood sugar to spike, have a handful of almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts or hazelnuts.
- Bananas and dark berries: Bananas, blueberries and blackberries have natural chemicals that help lift your mood and bring some relaxation to your mind.
- Salmon and sardines: These foods contain omega-3 fatty acids that can boost your mood. The brain needs good fats to stay healthy.
On the other hand, there are plenty of food that can bring you mood down – some crashing fast.
- Sugar: Eating a sweet can cause a quick spike in your blood sugar causing a sudden but brief good mood. But that only lasts briefly and then your blood sugar plummets rapidly. Having too much sugar in your diet can lead to mood swings, low energy levels and feeling sad. When you crave something sweet, reach for a banana or a small piece of dark chocolate (without added sugar).
- Gluten: Many people have a sensitivity to gluten without having an allergy or Celiac Disease. Gluten can affect mood by raising the cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body.
- Processed foods: There are artificial colors and flavorings in processed foods which can take a toll on your body. Trans fats, for example, can cause many health issues over the long term and could cause irritability.
Foods are not the only way to happiness!
It’s important to eat healthy nourishing foods to keep your mood in balance but that is only one part of the picture. You need to balance your “primary foods” including your relationships, career, physical activity and spiritual life. Make certain you include time in your daily life to
- Spend time with family and friends
- Get plenty of restorative sleep
- Take time to play and enjoy life
- Love the work you do or do the work you love!
What things do you do that help boost your mood? Post below and let me know of other ways to bring more happiness and joy in your life.