Not feeling like yourself? Try these seven foods for a happier you!
Your gut and your brain are connected through millions of nerves, the vagus nerve being the most prominent one. This connection is better known as the gut-brain axis. The vagus nerve sends signals both ways, meaning that your brain and gut are both equally affected by each other. D you remember that feeling when you didn’t feel like eating because you were upset or in a bad mood? Or when you ate a little too much during a stressful time? It all comes back to your gut-brain connection. You enjoy a normal diet and healthy digestion when both your mind and stomach are aligned and working in a balanced state. So, what makes foods enhance our mood? There are a few ways, but the most effective way is to choose foods that contain tryptophan, which is an amino acid that helps our body produce serotonin, our “happy “hormone”. With that said, let’s explore a list of foods to boost your mood naturally through numerous ways.
Seven foods to boost mood that I highly recommend:
Tea is a renowned mood lifter, and since it can be consumed in different forms feel free to craft your own recipe and enjoy the splendid benefits tea has to offer. Green tea is enriched with bioactive compounds and is rich in antioxidants. Such a tea variant helps detoxify the body, improve metabolism, reduce the chances of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes and keep your brain functioning well. Black tea is enriched with antioxidants, such as polyphenols. Such antioxidants help repair damaged cells and remove free radicals from the body. Black tea also lowers cholesterol and blood pressure along with blood sugar levels. It also improves focus and keeps your gut healthy.
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acid Sources
Omega-3 fatty acids are not produced in our body but they can be consumed through several food sources. They are essential for improving the fluidity of the brain membrane and also lowering depression symptoms, thus serving as an incredible food to boost mood. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as tryptophan, which increases dopamine levels. Nuts, avocado and edamame are great vegetarian options for omega-3 fatty acids.
3. Fermented food
Fermented foods introduce probiotics into your system, which keeps your gut happy and boosts your mood. Such probiotics help increase the production of good bacteria while keeping the bad bacteria in check. It’s important to remember that some fermented foods, like bread, wine and beer, are not excellent sources of probiotics and negate the good effects. However, they do improve the production of Serotonin in the body that uplifts your mood, appetite and even sex drive.
4. Dark leafy greens
Leafy greens are loaded with the goodness of magnesium that actively reduces cortisol in the body, a stress hormone. Such greens also reduce oxidative stress through chlorophyll and are enriched with vitamin C and E. Foods to boost mood like spinach, kale, lettuce, parsley, broccoli, bok choy and more can also be trusted to prevent the failure of cognitive functioning and support proper brain activity.
Fruit is enriched with the goodness of vitamins, minerals and micronutrients, making them a non-negotiable in your diet. If not in high quantities, consume at least half a bowl of fruit daily to replenish your nutrients. Bananas are rich in potassium, B6, and carbohydrates that improve the production of serotonin which further lifts your mood and reduces anxiety. Oranges and kiwis are enriched with the goodness of vitamin C, which helps make neurotransmitters, reduce cortisol and repair body tissues.
Majorly hailing from India, spices play an imminent role in upholding your gut and brain health. Cinnamon is a superfood as it helps boost memory and cognitive activities. It also reduces inflammation in the body and naturally keeps cholesterol in check. Turmeric is rich in antioxidants and has antibacterial and antifungal properties which help boost the immune system. The presence of curcumin in turmeric allows it to enhance memory through the growth of new brain cells. Ginger is a blessing for your stomach and your brain too. It’s a rejuvenating herb that improves digestion and enhances energy levels. It also lowers the chances of depression by allowing the brain cells to relax and rejuvenate. Some other herbs that you must incorporate into your foods to boost mood include pepper, nutmeg and cardamom. An easy way to incorporate these is to add them to your tea. Or, you can buy quality pre-mixed teas with spices, like the Chai Latte Mix.
Did you know that it has been shown that consuming mushrooms regularly keeps your mood uplifted and prevents the chances of depression? Well, mushrooms are rich in magnesium, vitamin D and ergothioneine that help reduce oxidative stress and fight free radicals in the body. Mushrooms also enhance the feeling of satisfaction due to the presence of potassium which helps combat anxiety.
Here’s a quick recipe for you to start your day on a healthy and happy note.
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 large ripe banana, frozen
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond butter
- 1/4 of a small avocado
- 4–6 ounces of unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 cup low or nonfat probiotic yogurt
Add all ingredients to the blender at once and blend it well. Add a little more almond milk to reduce the thickness of the smoothie as per your liking. This is a very easy way to get mood-boosting foods into your diet every morning when you break your fast.
If you want to understand the gut microbiome at a deeper level, join my 7-Day Gut Microbiome Reset Challenge.
- Microbiome 101
- How foods can be causing your cravings
- How to improve your mood through the gut brain axis
- Understand the different types of bacteria
- Learn the secrets to reprogramming your gut + brain