The relationship between mood and food - Did you know that certain foods can enhance your mood, make you calmer and more relaxed?
How does food affect mood?
Food affects the body’s metabolism, hormones and neurotransmitters (mood chemicals that are produced in the brain), and these in turn influence our emotions, concentration and energy.
Proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins in foods work to keep our metabolism, hormones and neurotransmitters in check, which also balances our moods. By contrast, consuming too much sugar, alcohol and caffeine can cause low moods by bringing on an inflammatory response in the nervous system.
Pumpkin seeds, leafy greens and almonds
Magnesium, found in pumpkin seeds and leafy greens, is a calming mineral that gets depleted when we’re stressed. For people experiencing more than average stress. Studies have suggested 150 milligrams of magnesium may elevate your mood. For a relaxing effect to aid in sleep try pumpkin seeds and almonds which are both high in calming sleep-enhancing gamma aminobutyric acid and tryptophan.
Asparagus, beans, peas, sunflower seeds, and spinach
These essential nutrients contain folate, vitamin B and vitamin B12. These B vitamins work to keep homocysteine levels low. Homocysteine is an amino acid produced by the body, and high levels can be a predictor of depression, especially in women, according to studies. Vitamin B6 aids the adrenal glands in producing adrenalin, which controls your body’s fight-or-flight response to stress. (Stress also causes our metabolism to use up more vitamin B stores.)
Leafy greens, legumes, nuts and eggs
These types of foods are packed with vitamin B, which helps to create neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which calms and reduces anxiety. Women are biochemically more prone to low serotonin because our bodies react to worry and anxiety more acutely than men’s, so greater amounts of serotonin are required and, as a result, levels may become depleted.
Camomile tea with a slice of lemon: Drinking herbal tea such as camomile relieves anxiety by aiding the nervous system; vitamin C, found in lemons, helps the adrenal and immune systems cope with stress. In periods of high stress, vitamin C is released in large amounts and its stores are rapidly depleted. People who have low vitamin C levels have been shown to have an increased stress response.
Bananas are a great source of potassium, but did you know they are also a great source of dopamine? A study published found a Cavendish banana contains up to 10 milligrams of dopamine. "Dopamine is our primary reward chemical, you know that enormous amount of pleasure you get when standing under a hot shower? You feel that because your body is producing dopamine. So anytime you get extra dopamine, that's going to have a beneficial effect on mind and mood.”
Researchers have found that eating dark chocolate (1.4 ounces of it, to be exact) every day for two weeks reduced stress hormones, including cortisol, in people who were highly stressed. Cocoa boosts brain serotonin. Be careful of over indulging as chocolate is high in calories. Dark chocolate is the best for you because of the higher percentage of cacao.
Whole grains and oats have been linked to promote the production of serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical. Also, researchers have found the challenge of following such a restrictive low-carb diet for a full year may negatively impact mood.
“Certain foods can stimulate the happy-making parts of your brain. And other foods have the opposite effect." There is an abundance of healthy good foods that enhance your mood, increase energy, make you calmer and more relaxed, and can even make you happier. Incorporate these healthy foods into your lifestyle and feel the difference instantly!