From time to time, when you’re feeling sad or stressed, you might find yourself racing to the freezer for a pint of Chunky Monkey.
Eating for emotional reasons is something we all do. Experts say eating gives us a feeling of wholeness when negative emotions make us feel empty. And that’s especially true today, as we all faced an avalanche of anxiety, stress, and uncertainty.
Using food to boost your mood can be an effective tool in your wellbeing toolbox. But to get the best effect of mood-boosting food, you have to put down most of the sugary treats and crunchy processed snacks and go for the good stuff.
The Mood Boosters
Most of us can attest that our brains and bodies work better when we indulge in nutrient, wholesome foods. We are also happier, in the long run, when we choose our food wisely.
Let’s take a look at seven must-have foods to boost your mood.
1 – Fish: Brain Food at Its Best
Oily fish, including wild and farmed salmon, is the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of fat that has a profound effect on your brain and mood.
Up to 60% of your brain is fat, and half of that is omega-3 fat. For this reason, omega-3 from your diet can easily interact with mood molecules inside your brain, reducing the risk of depression and anxiety.
If fish doesn’t appeal to your taste buds, alternative sources of omega-3 include walnuts, berries, flax seeds, olive oil, and krill oil supplements.
2 – Nuts and Seeds
Flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts are good sources of mood and brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids.
Sprinkle chopped walnuts and ground seeds on everything from breakfast cereals to fruit and vegetable, salads, and stir-fries.
You can use ground walnuts and chia seeds alone or combined with bread crumbs as a coating or topping for baked seafood.
3 – Yogurt
Up to 95% of the “happy hormone” serotonin originates in your gut. Serotonin is a mood stabilizer and gives you a sense of wellbeing. So, it makes sense that what you eat influences your mood and how your brain works.
Yogurt is a prime source for probiotics, the live beneficial bacteria that mostly live in our gut. Regularly including the sugar-free varieties improves the balance of good bacteria, which helps the production of serotonin.
4 – Colorful Vegetables
The more colorful the veggies, the more likely you’ll reap a variety of brain health benefits, so pile them on your plate! The best are dark leafy greens, peppers, carrots, and butternut squash.
If you don’t like kale or spinach in your salad, try it cooked with a dash of salt and pepper. And if you don’t care for steamed broccoli, you may like it better roasted in the oven.
5 – Fruit Salad
Fresh fruit salad that includes apples, grapes, blueberries, and strawberries will fill you with antioxidant goodness and other phytochemicals known to protect your brain from cognitive decline and potentially boost your mood.
Like veggies, each type of fruit provides slightly different benefits, so your best bet is to toss up a fresh fruit salad that combines various fruits and berries. Dress it up with chopped fresh or dried mint, or spices like ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon, along with seeds and nuts for a happy-making combo sure to please.
6 – Dark Chocolate
For many, chocolate is a favorite snack, but why is it that you automatically feel better after indulging in dark chocolate?
Chocolate is one of the top mood boosters because it contains an amino acid called phenylethylamine, which stimulates brain cells to produce the feel-good chemical dopamine. Chocolate can also increase serotonin.
For an instant dose of dopamine, use real cocoa powder without additives. Raw cacao contains the full spectrum of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that regular processed chocolate doesn’t have.
7 – Krill Oil
Krill oil is an excellent source of omega-3 and a super convenient way to get your recommended brain and mood-boosting daily dose – especially if eating fish and seafood doesn’t appeal to your taste buds. Even if you love eating fish, a supplement can ensure you get enough omega-3 fatty acids each day to combat anxiety and depression.
Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Krill Oil contains 1,600 mg of K•REAL® Pure Antarctic Krill Oil, EPA, DHA, along with phospholipids to help improve bioavailability and 2,000 mcg of Astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals and help cognitive decline as we age.
Start supplementing with krill oil today and enjoy a more upbeat mood and better overall health.
Keeping a positive outlook and an upbeat mood makes daily life more enjoyable. Give these foods a try the next time you’re feeling down and see if they don’t help turn that frown upside-down.
2. Best & Worst Foods for Brain Health, According to Dietitians | EatingWell
3. 12 Brain Foods That Supercharge Your Memory, Focus & Mood (nhahealth.com)
4. 7 foods that can improve your mental health, mood and wellbeing | news.com.au — Australia’s leading news site