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With extremely busy and tiring schedules, we often find ourselves feeling low, not in the best of moods. This is due to several reasons. Long hours of work, commuting, managing house chores, and private lives all leave us tired with very little time for ourselves. If you continue being in a negative state of mind, it can cause some serious problems in your day to day life.
People try different ways to uplift their mood. One common thing we turn to try to lift our spirits is food. Some components of food like tryptophan can release serotonin in the brain. As more and more tryptophan enters the brain, more serotonin is formed, which is known to uplift mood. It is very often referred to as the happy chemical and helps the body perform different functions like eating, digesting, and sleeping.
Often, the very cause of bad mood is tryptophan deficiency. Therefore, it is important to eat foods like red meat and cheese that have high levels of tryptophan. But turning to food to improve your mood doesn’t mean that you eat a block of cheese every time. You have to be wise about what food items do you want to eat when your spirits need lifting. This is because certain foods can do harm to your body while some can improve your health.
Deciding healthy foods for a good mood is very important. You need to take a few things into account.
• Good fats: when we say fat, we usually associate it with being unhealthy. However, not all fats are unhealthy. Healthy fats are known to improve brain function and improve the production of neurotransmitters.
• Balanced blood sugar: it is important to maintain your blood sugar. This means you must eat at regular intervals. Skipping meals or erratic eating habits can disturb your blood sugar level. This can often cause hormonal imbalance, make you cranky, and also cause anxiety.
• Vitamin B: vitamin B plays a vital role in keeping your brain healthy. One of the biggest problems that are triggered by vitamin B deficiency is mood swings and disorders like depression. You may see a change in your mood on regularly consuming vitamin B rich food.
Here are some foods that you can include in your everyday diet to improve your moods and be happier. You may include them in your breakfast or a mid-day snack to keep you going throughout the day. Most of them have additive benefits and are healthy choices.
Dark chocolate is one of the most common foods that people eat when feeling low. It contains high levels of tryptophan, which, as discussed above, is important for the production of serotonin. It also contains mood-boosting chemicals like caffeine.
Chocolates also contain flavonoids, which, when consumed in moderation, have anti-inflammatory properties and also increase blood flow to the brain. All this may support and enhances mood. Another way in which chocolate acts as a mood booster is through its taste and texture.
Bananas are rich in vitamin B6. B6 is closely linked to brain function as it helps integrate neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. Bananas are also a source of sugar and fiber. These bring the blood sugar levels in control and also helps manage mood. If your blood sugar is low, it leads to irritability and mood swings. Bananas are also a rich source of prebiotics, which is a type of fiber that is food for healthy gut bacteria in your stomach.
This gut bacteria acts as a communicator between your stomach and your central nervous system. A healthy gut system is vital for a happy and healthy brain. Neurotransmitters secreted by bananas can influence the neurotransmitters in the brain, in the end, affecting your mood and behavior. In other words, bananas can boost the absorption of tryptophan, which ultimately converts into serotonin.
The low glycaemic index (GI) makes oats a good mood booster. The Glycemic index tells you how quickly the carbs present in the food raises your blood sugar level. Oats are an excellent source of fiber, which helps digest the carbs slowly, maintaining a stable blood sugar level. Including oats in your everyday diet can significantly boost your mood and keep your irritability in check. Oats are packed full of vitamin E.
A source of vitamin D, B, and protein, eggs are known for their mood-lifting capacity. Eggs are abundant in choline, a nutrient that is essential for the growth of the central nervous system. It also improves mood. Selenium present in eggs is an antioxidant, which prevents oxidative damage to the brain, thus keeping your mood in check.
Coffee is used all over the world as a mood booster. The caffeine in coffee helps in preventing a compound called adenosine from attaching to the brain receptors. Otherwise, which may result in tiredness. Coffee is also known to increase the release of mood-boosting chemicals like dopamine.
Studies have shown that both caffeinated, as well as decaffeinated coffee, plays a vital role in improving mood. However, it is essential to keep your coffee intake in control as an excess of it can lead to anxiety and low mood.
Cashews, almonds, walnut, along with seeds like pumpkin and sunflower are excellent sources of tryptophan. They are also rich in healthy fats as well as fiber. A study conducted over a period of 10 years showed moderate consumption of nuts reduces the risk of depression by 23%.
Nuts and seeds are also rich in minerals like zinc and selenium. These minerals are essential for healthy brain function, and a deficiency can lead to depression.
Folate, a type of vitamin B, is necessary for important body functions. It helps in converting carbs into energy and making red and white blood cells. Folate deficiency may lead to mood disorders. Including greens like spinach and kale helps you to tackle folate deficiency.
Berries are full of antioxidants that control inflammation that leads to depression and mood swings. They reduce oxidative stress. Berries contain a pigment known as anthocyanin. According to studies, they can reduce depression symptoms by up to 39%.
Food is an easy means to feel better when you are not in the best of moods. But it may turn out to be a very unhealthy choice if not done properly. You have to be careful about what you eat and how much you eat. Eating a tub of ice cream will give you a momentary sugar rush, but in the long run, it will only cause you harm.
You must choose the food you think will help the best when it comes to managing your mood. Once this is decided, find ways to include them in your daily diets, drink your greens, or have some oats in the morning. These foods also have other ways of benefiting your body, as well.
So, make these a part of your daily food intake and notice the difference. The key to reaping all the benefits is moderation. After all, you are looking for better health and not additional problems.
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