12 Foods That Lift Your Moods

smaller-mealsSometimes you might find yourself in a bad disposition, perhaps you had a bad day at work, or you had a fight with your best friend or maybe it is just the bad weather outside.

It is important to understand that you can get rid of your blues by eating the right foods. The secret to happiness may be in your next meal.

According to findings from studies that have examined the connection between food and mood, what you eat plays a role in how content you feel.

Eating certain foods will help you boost your mood, increase your energy and desire to stand up to whatever might come next. Below you will find the main ones.


1. Atlantic Salmon

Oily fish like salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids, which help prevent the blues. They boost serotonin levels,one of the key neurotransmitters influencing our mood.

Salmon is also one of the best food sources of Vitamin D. Research has suggested that vitamin D may also increase the levels of serotonin, and help to relieve mood disorders.


2. Bananas

This fruit is loved all over the world by both humans and animals.

Bananas are a good source of tryptophan which serves as a precursor for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps the body regulate appetite, sleep patterns, and mood.


3. Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts are the number one source of the mineral called selenium, which assists in stabilising your mood and helps to prevent depression.

In fact it is so important that when the body’s store of selenium is being depleted, the brain is the last organ to lose its supply.

Just six Brazil nuts give you your recommended daily intake.

Protein in nuts lowers the glycaemic index (GI), so your blood sugar levels don’t spike and plummet, and this prevents the ‘sugar slump’ and accompanying crabbiness you’d get soon after eating a high GI sugary snack like a biscuit.


4. Chillies

Chillies also have mood elevating effects. They work by stimulating a specific type of pain receptor (called TRPV1) on sensory nerve endings.

When these nerves are stimulated they signal the brain to release chemicals called endorphins.

Endorphins, in turn, stimulate the release of the brain chemical, dopamine which acts as a mood elevator and relieves depression.


5. Cinnamon

This spice has been remarked for its capacity to moderate the blood sugar of human beings. This, in turn, helps you to prevent mood swings.

Cinnamon facilitates digestion, which is one of the causes for feeling depressed and lifeless.

You can add cinnamon in your porridge, hot cereal or yoghurt.


6. Dark chocolate

Those who crave chocolate tend to do so when they feel emotionally low.

Chocolate really can make you happy, it just has to be 70% or higher in cocoa for the added health benefits like antioxidants.

As all palatable foods stimulate endorphin release in the brain, just about all the ingredients in cholocate can lift your spirits and even offer a “fleeting feeling of euphoria : fat, sugar, caffeine, phenylethylamine, anandamines, flavonols, theobromine, and tryptophan.”

To find out more on dark chocolate, read Sweet Science:The health Benefits of Dark Chocolate.


7. Lentils

A member of the legume family, lentils are an excellent source of folate, a B vitamin that appears to be essential for mood and proper nerve function in the brain.

Folate deficiency appears to impair the metabolism of serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline, neurotransmitters important for mood.

Lentils also contain protein and fibre, which are filling and help to stabilise blood sugar levels.

Whole dry lentils are also an excellent source of phenylalanine which is an essential amino acid necessary to maintain normal brain chemicals (L-dopa, epinephrine, and norepinephrine).

Deficiency of this vital amino acid can cause confusion, lack of energy, depression, decreased alertness, memory problems, and lack of appetite.


8. Oats

There is a reason why people have been consuming oats for centuries. This whole grain actually calms, soothes and reduces stress.

Packed with fibre, oats help avoid the blood sugar crash-and-burn that can lead to mood swings.

Oatmeal at breakfast can stabilise your mood and help you begin your day in a calm state.


9. Saffron

For centuries, saffron has been used to treat depression in traditional Persian medical systems.

Recently several clinical trials have shown that this yellow spice is indeed as effective as many of our current anti-depressant drugs in treating mild to moderate depression.


10. Spinach

Green leafy vegetables like spinach are high in folate (folic acid) and vitamin B6, two B vitamins that also help convert tryptophan into serotonin.

According to a Harvard study low levels of folate have been associated with depression.


11. Turkey

Turkey is high in phenylalanine, an amino acid which the brain converts to dopamine, a brain chemical that elevates mood and motivation and prevents depression.

A study published in a German psychiatry journal showed that phenylalanine was as effective as an antidepressant drug.

Tryptophan found in turkey boosts serotonin levels to balance mood and provide a more positive outlook.


12. Walnuts

Walnuts are especially mood-boosting and have long been thought of as a “brain food” because of their wrinkled, brain-like appearance.

But now we know that walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, a type of fat that’s needed for brain cells and mood-lifting neurotransmitters to function properly and possible help some people with depression.

Walnuts also contain uridine. The combination of omega-3 and uridine, is thought to be a natural antidepressant, according to another Harvard Medical Study.