We all know that the foods we eat can affect our physical health. For example, eating too much fast food will lead to obesity. But our diets can also impact our mental health, our moods and the amount of energy we have everyday. Here are five mood-boosting foods you should incorporate into your diet.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Greens such as kale, Swiss chard and collards offer a tremendous amount of nutritional value. They contain folic acid, which studies have shown can have a positive effect on mental health. Folicacid can act as an antidepressant because it helps your brain’s serotonin receptors work properly. Serotonin plays an important role in overall happiness. On top of that, leafy greens are a rich source of nutrients, such as iron, vitamin K and potassium, which will help your body stay healthy.
Eating seafood, specifically fish that’s rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, can encourage neurological health. Some scientists think a diet consisting of these compounds can benefit people who may have a psychological disorder, such as schizophrenia or Alzheimer’s disease. It’s generally accepted that fatty acids optimize performance of your body and mind, keeping you sharper. The most common source of Omega-3s in seafood is salmon, which is available in most supermarkets. You can also find Omega-3 fatty acids in herring, trout and tuna.
Oatmeal contains magnesium, which helps fight anxiety and fatigue. People who have not consumed enough magnesium tend to feel antsy and sometimes suffer from insomnia. When you’re shopping for oatmeal, try to find steel-cut oats, which are less processed than instant or quick-cook oatmeal. Also, avoid flavored oatmeal, which often contains lots of sugar. For an added boost of magnesium, top your oatmeal with almonds and pair your breakfast with a cup of fresh-brewed coffee. Nuts, coffee and tea all contain magnesium too.
The nutrient lycopene can help improve your mood by stopping the formation of organic compounds that studies have linked to depression. There is no better way to get lycopene than a tomato. Lycopene is what gives tomatoes their red color. Make sure to look for certified organic tomatoes, which can contain up to three times more of the nutrient than traditional tomatoes.
This advice is easy to give: Eat more chocolate! It contains serotonin, which can help improve your mood. Dark chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain and some studies have shown that it can decrease your risk of a stroke. It’s important to eat dark chocolate and not milk- or semi-sweet chocolates, which contain more sugar. Buy dark chocolate that contains about 70 percent cocoa solids. And remember, moderation is the key!