The food we eat has a significant effect on how we feel. You may even say that our state of mind and why we feel the way we do depends on what type of food we consume.
Conversely, our current state – emotional and physical – can in turn affect our body’s ability to digest, absorb, and eliminate the food we eat.
According to nutrition experts, our overall health and state of happiness depends heavily on how well our digestive system is functioning. In short, a well-balanced mind and body system can be achieved through a healthy digestive system.
The connection between food and mood
It is a common belief that our gut functions as our “second brain.” This may be connected to the fact that more serotonin is produced in the gut compared to the brain. Consuming anti-inflammatory nutrients regularly is proven to lower stress levels, help us maintain more energy, and give us a calmer, more relaxed mood. Processed foods, on the other hand, have the opposite effect.
What are the best types of food to improve our mood?
- Foods rich in Folic Acid (Folate) and Vitamin B12
Folic Acid and Vitamin B12 is effective in preventing mood disorders, dementias, and central nervous system disorders. Some dishes you could try which are rich in these two vitamins include light Caesar salad made with romaine lettuce and skinless chicken breast, chili made of lean beef and kidney beans, and grilled salmon with a side of broccoli.
- Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are rich with essential nutrients and antioxidant phytochemicals, which are effective in improving your mood as well as enhancing your overall health. According to one study, eating at least two or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily can lead to an 11% higher likelihood of gaining good, functional health.
- Selenium-rich foods
Selenium is a mineral which functions like an antioxidant in our body. Having a daily diet supplemented with high amounts of selenium can prevent depression, and can improve blood circulation. Some examples of food high in selenium include lean meat, beans and legumes, whole grains such as oatmeal and brown rice, nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy foods, and seafood.
Numerous studies have indicated that eating fish regularly helps lower the risk of having symptoms of depression in men and women. Fish rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, such as Salmon, Rainbow Trout, Herring, Sardines, and Tuna have positive effects on several clinically defined mood swings.
- Dark Chocolate
Small amounts of dark chocolate can have positive effects on our brain’s endorphin levels – these chemicals are helpful in boosting our mood, and are produced naturally by our bodies. Additionally, dark chocolate is also great for the heart, as they have an anti-clogging effect on blood vessels.
- Foods with vitamin D
According to recent studies, low levels of Vitamin D can lead to higher risks of getting mood disorders, such as seasonal affective disorder, non-specified mood disorder, PMS, and major depressive disorder. There are few types of food rich in vitamin D, but you can get it from other sources, such as short exposure to sunlight, and supplements. Some foods with vitamin D include egg yolks, fish liver oils, fatty fish, and beef liver.