Mood Foods: A HealthCentral Explainer
As the saying goes, ‘You are what you eat.’ While this usually is meant to apply to your physical appearance, ‘what you eat’ can also affect your mind. For instance, new research found that consuming a compound found in daffodils could be a key to fighting depression because they are capable of infiltrating the blood brain barrier - a defensive wall that blocks many potential treatments from entering the brain. While the discovery of this unique compound is a breakthrough, other more edible foods can also improve your mood.
Here’s just a taste of some common mood- boosting foods that can raise your energy level and get you thinking more positively.
Spinach is loaded with antioxidants, which are known to protect brain cells from free radicals that can dampen your mood and sap your energy. Spinach is also a great source of folic acid, a B vitamin that is strongly associated with reducing fatigue and preventing depression.
Almonds pack a nice happy punch. They’re high in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins, which make them healthy for overall brain function, and they can boost your dopamine levels. Snack on some almonds if you need to stay sharp and focused throughout the day. Aside from their mental health powers, almonds also improve heart function, lower cholesterol, and decrease blood pressure.
As if we needed another reason to eat the world’s most popular fruit - can you say more dopamine and serotonin production? Eating just two bananas provides enough energy to power through a 90-minute workout. Bananas have a low calorie count, are packed with vitamins and minerals, and provide a healthy source of fiber and iron. And they’re full of potassium; an essential mineral that aids in nerve cell function, muscle growth, and restoring the body’s natural balance- making it an effective reducer of stress.
Predictably, this sunny snack has been linked to a happier mood , as well as better physical health. This is because sunflower seeds are loaded with healthy fats, vitamin E, selenium, protein, folates, magnesium, tryptophan, phytochemicals, and dietary fiber. To run down the long list of benefits, eating sunflower seeds contributes to heart and circulatory health, DNA repair, preventing asthma attacks, and migraines, calming the brain, halting the growth of cancerous cells, supporting healthy digestion, and lowering cholesterol levels.
The “B” in berries should stand for brain food since these juicy little elixirs come loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that are believed to slow the rate of mental decline associated with aging. They also can reduce stress. The healthiest berries to consume are strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and boysenberries. Go for the gusto and blend them all together in a smoothie.