It’s no secret that eating tends to lift our spirits. Food is after all one of our basic biological needs along with shelter and sleep. The resulting dopamine rush from getting a satisfying meal can put a smile on anyone’s face, but did you know there are certain foods you can eat to improve upon this effect?
That’s right! You can eat your way into a good mood. Certain foods trigger an increased reward response in the brain, and others improve your overall mood and health for the long term. Other foods can also help boost your energy, or even make you more attractive by nourishing your skin, hair, and nails.
So, what are you waiting for? Feed yourself better with these good mood foods.
Omega 3 for Overall Mental Health
Food rich in Omega 3 can help improve your overall mental health. In fact, there is scientific evidence that shows a lack of this fatty nutrient can worsen or cause depression. If you might have mild depression, or occasionally blue moods, eating the following foods may help to lift your spirits.
- Fatty fish, especially salmon, sardines, and anchovies
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
- Canola oil or other fortified oils
Tea, the Happier Alternative to Coffee
Caffeine in coffee is as essential to millions of peoples’ daily lives as it is a strain on them. The jitters and mood swings that may be caused by caffeine can sometimes outweigh the benefits of the temporary buzz coffee provides. However, you can have your cake and eat it, with a hot cup of tea.
A compound found in black tea, known as theanine, stimulates areas of the brain that make the brain more alert, without the hyped up, jittery feeling you get from caffeine. It has also been linked to overall mood improvements. Unlike most natural supplements, you don’t need to drink twenty gallons of tea before you feel the effects. The normal dietary amount (a cup or two a day) is enough to reap the benefits.
Healthy Gut, Healthy Mind
Did you know that the vast majority of your body’s serotonin levels (responsible for regulating mood) are created by your gut bacteria? Though we typically associate this particular hormone with mental health, it all starts in the digestive system. That’s why it’s important to eat fermented foods and probiotics to help sustain a healthy culture of gut bacteria. Try these foods for a healthier gut and mind.
Say “C” You Later to Wrinkles with Vitamin C
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found sufficient evidence on the anti-aging properties of Vitamin C. In their study, they found that increased intakes of the vitamin over a period of a minimum 12 weeks improved overall skin texture and reduced wrinkles in middle-aged women of multiple ethnicities. So, not only does this miracle vitamin strengthen your immune system, but it can also leave you looking younger! Vitamin C is abundant, healthy, delicious and mostly found in fruits and vegetables of which we are listing only a few.
- Citrus fruits
- Spicy peppers
Zinc for Clearer Skin
If you’re not at the point where wrinkles are an issue, you might be more concerned with clearing up acne and blackheads. There’s food for that too and more specific foods containing high levels of zinc, such as oysters, can control oil production in your pores and lead to healthier, clearer skin. Not a fan of seafood? Here are some other ways to get your zinc.
- Pumpkin seeds
- Most nuts
Biotin for Healthy Skin, Hair, and Nails
You’ve likely seen the uprise in biotin supplements, but did you realize you can find this vital nutrient in the produce aisle? Foods like Swiss chard contain biotin, along with vitamins A, K, and C, all of which have health benefits for your skin, hair, and nails.
Eat (Don’t Take) Your Vitamins
In most cases, eating vitamin-rich foods is far healthier than simply taking a supplement. In the case of vitamins A and K, it’s actually vital to consume these nutrients from your food, as supplements can contain doses that are either too large or cannot be properly digested. Likewise, calcium supplements are likely to cause build-up that can lead to kidney stones and other issues, so eating calcium-rich foods is the safer route.
The exceptions? Vitamin C, folic acid, and vitamin B12. These supplements are just as digestible as they are in their natural forms. In fact, in the case of B12, you can typically absorb more from a supplement than you would from eating foods containing this nutrient.
To sum it up, a healthy diet with plenty of nutrients will give your body the fuel it needs for optimal performance which equals a better mood, more energy, and an improved appearance for you!