Many of us crave sweets or look for comfort food when we are not in the right frame of mind. But all we end up doing is packing in extra calories to feel good temporarily.
Even in the current lockdown situation, there are foods sitting in your kitchen rack that are rich in certain nutrients which hold the potential of elevating your mood. We often associate balanced meals or functional foods with changes in physical or physiological health but you’ll be surprised to know that it has a positive impact on your mental health too.
So let’s dig deeper and read more about ways in which you can boost your mood:
Dopamine: Cut the craving and enhance your reward system!
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that directly affects the reward and pleasure centers in the brain, which in turn affects mood. It also plays a part in motivation, attention, learning, coordination, and other similar activities. Activation of dopamine occurs for a number of reasons, including the sudden availability of food which can change your mood. So, are there any foods that can increase dopamine levels in your body?
Foods rich in Tyrosine (a precursor for dopamine) can improve levels of dopamine in the body. Tyrosine is an amino acid that naturally occurs in foods rich in first-class protein like lean meat, fish, cheese, eggs, and dairy products are good sources of the same. Other sources are avocados, pumpkin and sesame seeds, cashew nuts, and bananas.
Say no to stress by boosting Serotonin & Tryptophan Levels:
Serotonin is made in our body and brain from an amino acid called tryptophan. Just like Tyrosine, Tryptophan being an amino acid is also found in protein rich foods like cottage cheese, soybean, chia seeds, fish, pistachios, hemp seeds, chicken breast and some uncommon sources such as mango and oats. Serotonin helps in resolving cognitive disorders and anxiety. Serotonin is also a precursor of melatonin, a chemical that helps regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
Boost your mood with B Vitamins and Omega 3:
B vitamins such as B2, B3, B6 are generally taken to enhance energy and relieve fatigue. But what is its role in improving one’s mood? B vitamins like B6, B9, B12 help in the production of dopamine and serotonin, which regulate one’s mood and appetite. Research studies have shown that supplementing your diet with B vitamins can reduce the symptoms of depression as it acts as an anti-depressant. Foods like seafood, whole grains and pulses, nutritional yeast, leafy vegetables, sunflower seeds, peanuts, pistachio, brown rice, peanuts, mushrooms, and egg yolks are high in B vitamins.Omega-3 fatty acids also help to boost serotonin levels in the body. Foods rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids are flaxseeds, walnuts, garden cress seeds, salmon, and fenugreek seeds. A perfect snack for the day can be a portion of fruit with a fistful of nuts or palmful seeds.
Balance your Blood Sugar Levels
Spiking and crashing of blood sugar levels is also associated with irritability and tiredness. It has been observed that there is a direct link between mood and blood sugar level. It is proven that higher fluctuation in your blood glucose levels affects the production of hormones, that in turn affect the mood. You can maintain your blood glucose levels by eating whole foods that are high on fibre and take longer to digest such as oats, millets, brown rice, legumes, nuts and vegetables.
|Best food to boost your mood:||Foods to avoid|
|Whole grains which are high in fibre||Sugar|
|Nuts and Seeds||Caffeine|