The foods you eat are the building blocks for neurotransmitters.
Neurotransmitters are chemicals in the brain that affect many different
aspects of our lives, including our mood. Thus, what you eat can have
a big impact on how you feel! Here are some good mood foods to try:
1. Protein-rich foods lead to increased production
of the neurotransmitter tyrosine, which can help improve
concentration. Protein also helps food digest more slowly, which
contributes to sustained energy and stabilized blood sugar levels. I
recommend including a protein-rich food at every meal! Great sources
of protein include: fish, chicken, eggs, whey protein powder, organic
milk, and Greek yogurt.
2. Smart carbohydrate-rich foods produce the
neurotransmitter serotonin, which can help relieve stress and anxiety.
A diet rich in whole-grains, legumes, fruit and vegetables, therefore,
can help keep us relaxed. A word of caution: highly processed
carbohydrates found in white bread and sugary foods may relieve stress
temporarily, but they are followed by a rapid crash in blood sugar that
will undo those feelings of relaxation. So try to stick to the
whole-grains for sustained calm vibes!
3. Omega-3 fatty acid rich foods are vital to
building healthy brain cells. Current research indicates that, in some
instances, omega 3 fatty acids may be more effective in treating
depression than medication! According to one study mentioned in Psychology Today,
after three months of receiving omega-3s, over two thirds of patients
suffering from depression reported a “50% reduction in their
symptoms—particularly feelings of sadness and pessimism, inability to
work, sleeplessness and low libido.” Great sources of omega 3s include
salmon, walnuts, and flaxseed.
4. Leafy green vegetables are rich in folic acid, a
vitamin that is frequently found to be inadequate in the diets of
people who are depressed. Look for ways to incorporate more spinach,
kale and salads into your diet. Just one serving per day of foods rich
in folic acid can provide enough of the vitamin to help prevent
Meal timing and portion sizes are also
important. You should not go more than 4 hours without eating in order
to maintain sustained energy levels throughout the day and keep a
positive mood. Ever felt sleepy after eating a large meal? Eating a
large meal causes increased blood flow to the gut to help digest the
food, meaning blood is diverted away from the brain. This leads to
that groggy, drowsy feeling. So, just as I’m always preaching. Stop
eating when you are satisfied- before you feel stuffed or sick!