When feeling low in mood, food cravings are pretty common. Eating a healthy and nutritious meal might help. Not a miracle; however, research proves the relationship between nutrition and mental health. Yet, it's true that mood can be influenced by many factors, such as stress, environment, poor sleep, genetics, mood disorders, and nutritional deficiencies.
A healthy diet comprising of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein can help when it comes to energising your body and just generally contribute to helping you feel your best.
Various foods have been shown to improve overall brain health and certain types of mood disorders.
Green tea is a great mood booster as it contains antioxidant compounds that have cancer-fighting properties and reduces the risk of other chronic diseases.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds etc., are high in plant-based proteins, healthy fats, and fibre. They are also one of the sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, a nutrient that's beneficial for the heart and the brain. Nuts and seeds are rich in tryptophan, zinc, and selenium, which support brain function and lower the risk of depression.
The vitamin B6 and prebiotic fibre in bananas prevent cognitive decline and keep your blood sugar levels and mood stable. One banana provides about 12% of your daily fibre needs for better digestion.
Oats provide the fibre that can stabilise blood sugar levels and boost the mood. They're also high in iron, which improves mood symptoms in those with iron deficiency anaemia.
Coffee is the world's most popular drink and for most, a classic cup of happiness.
Vegetables should always be a part of your dining plate when feeling a little irritated. Listed below are some vegetables that can save the day for you.
- Have some asparagus for dinner. The spears contain prebiotics good-for-your-gut and the amino acid asparagine, known for its diuretic effects.
- Spinach is rich in nitrate content, which reduces cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. Nitrates also help improve athletic performance, so why not your mood.
- Okra is full of heart-healthy high-fibre rich in polyphenols, micronutrients found in many plant foods that can help the heart and fight inflammation.
- Soybeans provide a plant-based protein source full of vitamins and minerals crucial for reducing risk of chronic disease; and fibre that helps you feel satisfied.
Since up to 90% of the body's serotonin is produced in the gut, a healthy gut corresponds to a good mood. According to Healthline, "Fermented foods like kimchi, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut are rich in probiotics that support gut health."
Eggs provide choline — an essential nutrient involved in memory, improving mood, muscle control — and vitamin B12, which helps with neurological function.
Let's be real, when feeling blue, I crave calorie-rich, high sugar foods like ice cream or cookies to lift my spirits. Just make sure to add some wholesome foods that boost not only your mood but also your overall health into your day. Try out some of the foods above, most of which are in your kitchen right now to kick-start a positive routine.