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How to Use Food to Boost Your Mood

How to Use Food to Boost Your Mood

If you’re often feeling blue without any apparent reason or if you’re just tired physically and mentally, one thing you can re-examine is your diet. Getting healthy nutrition over time can improve your mood, help you cope with stress, alleviate anxiety and even help you battle depression! Luckily, if you open your fridge, there’s a great chance you’re harboring a few foods that can put a smile on your face once again.

Let’s see how food can boost your mood.

Load up on omega-3 fatty acids

Load up on omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish has a big role in brain function. Oftentimes, omega-3 fatty acid deficiency can cause mental health issues. These acids are the key to brain and nervous system development and can ward-off depression and help you manage your impulse control. If you want to boost your omega-3 fatty acid intake, look for fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. Non-fish eaters can get their omega-3 from walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds and veggies like Brussels sprouts and spinach.

Choose whole grains

Choose whole grains

Grains are very good sources of different types of vitamin B which are all vital for healthy brain function. For instance, B1 is responsible for turning glucose into energy, B5 is involved in learning and memory, B6 helps turn tryptophan into serotonin (your ‘happy’ hormone) and B12 boosts production of neurotransmitters. So, if you’re feeling down and dull, grab some grains. However, not all grains are created equal. What you want in your body are whole grains like whole-wheat flour, bulgur: cracked wheat, oatmeal, whole cornmeal, brown rice and quinoa and try to stay away from processed grains that are completely devoid of dietary fiber, iron and many B vitamins.

Don’t skip breakfast

Don’t skip breakfast

Did you know that eating breakfast every day can relieve the symptoms of depression? People who eat breakfast report feeling fewer symptoms of depression than those who regularly skip their morning meal. So, no matter how busy you are when you wake up, there’s always time to grab a healthy bite. For instance, you know fruits and veggies are great for your overall health, but some are also full of vitamin B. It’s found in various breakfast foods like leafy greens as well as citrus fruits, avocados and bananas.

If you don’t have time to whip up a quick salad with your breakfast, you can easily make a fresh juice. With good juicers, you can make fresh beverages from all types of fruits and veggies, mix and match your ingredients and come up with new tasty and nutritious combinations. Take them to work, chug them for a quick shot of energy or leave them for later and have a light and tasty evening drink!

Find foods with high vitamin D content

Find foods with high vitamin D content

The importance of vitamin D is so hyped during the last few years, but for all the right reasons. This vitamin is naturally produced by your body when you’re exposed to the sunlight. However, more and more of us spend their entire day in offices and cars, so we barely get to see any sun. That’s a shame because vitamin D deficiency is connected to various health issues including mood disorders and depression.

So, if you can’t find the time to spend 30-40 minutes in the sunshine a few times a week (which you probably can), you can grab a few vitamin D rich foods and include them into your diet. Fish like salmon, herring and sardine (basically all saltwater fish and seafood) are great sources of vitamin D. They can be prepared in many ways, are available all over the world and can be quite affordable. If you don’t eat fish, mushrooms are also rich in vitamin D, but make sure to choose naturally-sourced products. Commercially-grown mushrooms that are grown in the dark have very little vitamin D.

Feel free to enjoy your coffee

Feel free to enjoy your coffee

If you’re a big coffee drinker, we have good news for you. Caffeine is linked to increased production of brain chemicals, mainly dopamine, that improve one’s performance and mood. Coffee consumption can also have a protective effect and decrease your risk of depression. As little as 1, 5 cups of freshly ground coffee per day can do wonders for your body (stay away from sugary Starbucks lattes, though). However, caffeine affects everyone differently, so if you notice you’re irritable, jittery and sleepless, it’s better to avoid it. You can switch your regular coffee for rooibos tea or choose beverages like black and green tea that are lower-caffeinated.

Another great drink you can try is chai. This Indian tea is made with black tea and spices like cinnamon (a natural mood enhancer) and cardamom. Also, the spices make this drink pleasantly sweet, so you’ll have no need for sugar or other sweeteners.

These aforementioned diet tips are very easy to pull off—you don’t need to change your lifestyle at all. However, they will definitely help make your gloomy days a bit brighter!

Credit

BIO:

stellaStella Green Thompson
Graphic designer and lifestyle blogger

Stella is a graphic designer and illustrator, a lifestyle blogger and a food enthusiast. She is very passionate about the environment and her hobbies center around her love for nature, yoga and living in balance. Stella loves giving tips about healthy lifestyle and self-development. She is a contributor to several health and lifestyle blogs. 

You can find more about her writing by following her on Twitter

This article was submitted exclusively to CrystalWind.ca by Stella Green Thompson

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