Maintaining a healthy mood is an essential aspect of overall wellness. While there are various contributing factors, our diet can play a significant role. Nutrient-dense foods provide the body with the necessary vitamins and minerals to function optimally, and each bite we take can positively impact our well-being. Incorporating mood boosting foods into your diet is a proactive step toward supporting overall health and a balanced mood. In this exploration of mood boosting foods, we delve into the science behind how specific nutrients, vitamins, and minerals interact with our brain chemistry to support emotional well-being.
- BONE BROTH : A positive mood starts with a healthy gut. Approximately 90% of serotonin is produced in the digestive tract, making balanced gut health essential for emotional well-being. Bone broth is rich in nutrients such as collagen, gelatin, minerals, and amino acids. Various amino acids are found in bone broth, particularly glycine, which acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter, calming the central nervous system and promoting relaxation. Collagen is a prominent component, containing amino acids such as proline and hydroxyproline, which may help to support the body’s stress respon. For the most nutrient-dense bone broth, try making it yourself at home with various organic and grass-fed bones. Add chicken feet to make an extra collagen-rich broth that can support your health, mood, and beauty.
- SALMON : Salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, playing a crucial role in maintaining healthy brain function. The omega-3s found in foods such as fatty fish help regulate neurotransmitters supporting a positive mood. The human brain is composed of 60% fat; consuming adequate amounts is essential for a healthy mood. The omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, especially DHA, help maintain brain health and play a role in synthesizing serotonin, necessary for emotional stability. The omega-3s in salmon also have anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation, especially in the brain, can contribute to mood disorders. Regularly consuming nutrient-dense foods like salmon is a fantastic way to support a healthy mood.
- RED BELL PEPPERS : Red bell peppers are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support brain health and overall well-being. This brightly-hued pepper contains high amounts of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that is crucial to brain health, protecting brain cells from oxidative stress and inflammation. Red bell peppers also contain folate, a B vitamin necessary for mood regulation. Folate plays a role in the synthesis of serotonin and dopamine. Red bell peppers are also an excellent water-rich food that hydrate the body to support a healthy mood and energy levels.
- DARK CHOCOLATE : Besides being incredibly delicious, dark chocolate is an excellent food that supports a healthy mood. Cocoa is a source of magnesium, a mineral that regulates mood. Dark cholate is also rich in phenylethylamine, a compound that can promote feelings of pleasure and happiness. It’s a tasty treat that supports health and a positive mood; however, quality matters and it should be consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet. Choose dark chocolate with a higher cocoa content (minimum of 70%) to minimize added sugars.
- YOGURT : Yogurt is a natural source of probiotics – beneficial bacteria that support a healthy gut microbiome. Yogurt contains protein which is essential for neurotransmitter production. Yogurt is also a good source of calcium and magnesium, which are minerals that support a balanced mood. It is essential to choose unsweetened yogurt – many yogurts contain a lot of sugar, which can negatively impact gut health and mood. Instead, use fresh fruit as a sweetener. Another great option is kefir which may contain a higher concentration of probiotics.
- EGGS : Eggs are an excellent source of quality protein and healthy fats. Regularly consuming eggs provides the body with choline, an essential nutrient for optimal brain health. Egg yolks are one of the best sources of choline, a precursor to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that supports mood, memory, and cognitive functioning. Eggs are also an excellent source of B vitamins and a natural source of vitamin D, which play a role in regulating mood.
- WALNUTS : Walnuts are rich in protein, antioxidants, and healthy fats that support brain health. They make an excellent plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3s also supports cognition and can promote well-being. Walnuts are a rich source of antioxidants such as vitamin E and polyphenols, which protect brain health from inflammation and oxidative stress. They are also a good source of the amino acid tryptophan, known as the “feel good” neurotransmitter. Walnuts make an excellent snack, providing the body with fiber, protein, and healthy fats to support satiety and a positive mood. The best option is to choose organic nuts.
- TURMERIC : Turmeric is rich in curcumin, which is well known for its positive influence on brain health and emotional well-being. Curcumin is anti-inflammatory and can reduce inflammation throughout the body, which may contribute to a more balanced and positive mood. Curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects can help protect brain cells from oxidative stress and damage. Turmeric can be added to foods to provide flavor and support a positive mood. Combining it with black pepper may increase its absorbability. It can also be taken as a supplement, however you should consult your doctor before incorporating any new supplement into your daily routine.
- DARK LEAFY GREENS : Dark leafy greens are a fantastic addition to a healthy diet due to their rich nutrient profile of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other compounds that support brain health and emotional well-being. Many dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are packed with vitamins A, C, and K and antioxidants like beta-carotene and lutein. These compounds protect brain cells from oxidative stress and inflammation, contributing to brain health and a balanced mood. Dark leafy greens contain fiber to support the gut microbiome and diverse nutrients for overall health and well-being.
- LENTILS : Lentils are an excellent plant-based source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber that support brain health and a balanced mood. Lentils are a source of complex carbohydrates that provide a steady release of energy. Stable blood sugar levels can help prevent mood swings and promote balanced emotions. They are also rich in dietary fiber to support gut health and B vitamins for neurotransmitter production. Lentils contain tryptophan, an essential amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin production, promoting emotional well-being. Lentils also contain potassium and magnesium which support relaxation and mood regulation. Lentils are perfect in stews, salads, soups, and as a side dish.
CONCLUSION : Incorporating these healthy foods into your diet can improve everyday health and a positive mood. It is crucial to remember that bio-individuality plays an essential role in overall health and wellness, and only you know which foods are best for you. Remember to consume a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods and incorporate plenty of movement into your daily routine as the best approach for supporting your mood naturally. Healthy food has the potential to transform how we look and feel, and making your health a priority will have a positive influence on your well-being. You are in the driver’s seat of your wellness journey, and food can be a powerful driver.