Mood - Boosting Foods: What, Why & How
Transform Your Health with these Mood-Boosting Foods
If you want to increase your happiness quotient or well-being, look no further than the food you eat.
Have you ever enjoyed a delicious meal of rice and rajma for lunch but soon after that felt yourself struggling to stay awake? Or been tempted by a steaming hot cup of coffee first thing when you get up 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 or eating with all your senses, where you 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 various nutrients, making neurotransmitters, otherwise known as brain chemicals, that control your moods. Hence, both your emotions and cognitive abilities are affected by the food you eat.
There are various types of neurotransmitters. Some like serotonin helps you sleep well and keep you calm, while others, like dopamine, keep you mentally alert. For the neurotransmitters to be most effective, you need to feed your body well. Otherwise, when your serotonin levels are low, you will experience feelings of anxiety and depression and might find it hard to sleep. When your dopamine levels are low, you are putting yourself at risk for Parkinson’s disease and may find yourself dealing with social anxiety.
The Right Eating Habits
When and how you eat is essential. One of the best habits you can develop is to take an interest in eating the right breakfast. Studies show that this can affect your whole day. Who can resist a plate of delicious cut fruit to start your day off 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 your stress levels and menstrual cycles. Load up on broccoli, which balances the sex hormones, particularly estrogen, needed for a healthy reproductive system. Avocados contain fibre 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 tasting 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 as well as energy to cope.
Self-care starts with the correct functional foods whose value extends beyond nutrients to offer additional vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. Focus on intentional consumption, which involves first asking yourself why you are eating a particular food before you even put it into your mouth.
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 anaemia 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. Start your mood-boosting shopping here