“You are what you eat” is more than just an old saying, it’s a fact. What we put into our bodies directly affects how they operate, and our brains are no exception to this. While we often hear about the physical benefits of a healthy diet, today we’re going to look at what foods you can eat to improve your mood.
Brazil nuts are high in selenium, which has been shown to have a direct effect on our mood. People with low levels of selenium can experience depression, fatigue, anxiety and anger. Fortunately, Brazil nuts are so high in this mineral that eating just three a day is enough to give you your recommended daily allowance, so with the exception of allergies, there’s really no reason not to incorporate this into your daily life.
Oats are another great source of selenium, so if Brazil nuts aren’t your thing, this could be a nice alternative to start the day. Oats also have the added benefit of providing slow release energy. While sugary snacks may give you a high boost of energy, this will disappear quickly. Oats on the other hand can provide sufficient, stable energy throughout the day.
Oily fish are a great source of Omega 3 nutrients. This is a particularly impactful choice of food, as not only are Omega 3s an essential nutrient for mood regulation, but our bodies don’t even produce it. Furthermore, Omega 3s encourage the release of endorphins such as dopamine. As a result, oily fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna can have a huge impact on our moods. Just make sure to stick to wild fish, as farmed fish will be considerably less nutritious.
Generally speaking, dark-green, leafy vegetables are high in folic acid, which is one of the B Vitamins that helps regulate our mood. It does this by encouraging our brain to create chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin, which have a direct impact on our levels of happiness. Vegetables such as spinach, brussel sprouts, and spinach can be consumed to increase your levels of folic acid.
If you ever feel guilty about how much you’re spending on saffron, you can rest assured in the fact that you’ll feel better once you eat it. Studies in Iran, the world’s leading producer of saffron, have shown that saffron can be as effective as Prozac in treating depression.
Numerous studies have shown that consuming chocolate improves our mood, and while we’re still debating whether it releases dopamine or serotonin, we know that it releases endorphins, which make us happy. Two pieces of 70% cocoa or more a day is enough to stimulate the brain and improve your mood. Just try not to over-indulge.
As if you needed a bonus, German researchers also recently discovered that chocolate could help us absorb UV rays, meaning it also provides anti-aging benefits as well!