Everyone gets down every once in a while. Sometimes simple pick me ups such as running or meditating can help you get out of a mood funk. But your diet plays a role in how you are feeling as well, after all, food affects your hormones by providing nutrients to your body to keep it stable. Making sure you have a balanced diet is essential to keeping you feeling good and providing you with energy to get you through the day. Here are the top foods to boost your mood and fight depression:
Flax seeds provide omega-3 fatty acids, which have been known to be mood lifting and possibly help combat depression. Several studies have found that increasing the omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can aid in preventing major depression disorders. Flax seeds are also great for preventing heart disease – thanks to their inflammation fighting properties, which prevent plaque build up.
Getting omega-3s can be difficult if you don’t have fresh fish available to you, but there are many other sources you can get them from! A few of our favorites are peanut butter, oatmeal, flax seeds, walnuts, brussels sprouts and cauliflower.
Berries are considered one of the healthiest foods. There is nothing worse than letting stress get in your way, especially when you are feeling down. This can lead to an overwhelming spiral–exhausting you mentally and physically. Blueberries can help prevent the release of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal gland during stressful situations, that travels to the hippocampus (a major portion of your brain) and provides emotional responses. Berries can help control and counter the effects of this hormone’s impact on your mood.
Berries are loaded with anthocyanidins, known to boost brain function and antioxidants, which promote brain and nervous system health. Berries are also low in sugar and calories, so pile them on!
Limit sugar intake
Keeping your blood sugar level steady is more important than you think. When your blood sugar gets low you are more prone to feeling depressed and irritable. This means that paying attention to what you are eating is essential to maintaining your glucose levels to keep you in a balanced state of mind. Sugar promotes inflammation in the body that is directly correlated to promoting depression and anxiety. It also interferes with the balance of hormones within the hippocampus because of the inflammation it promotes throughout the body. Furthermore, sugar creates spikes in your blood levels, promoting you to eat unhealthy and to make poor food choices more frequently. It becomes an addiction for quick pick-me-ups, but will not help your mood in the long-run. Choose healthy wholesome foods that will make you feel great. Try choosing a balanced meal with lean protein, vegetables and whole grains to control your blood sugar and prevent inflammation.
Folate and vitamin B12 are important for mood control because low levels can lead to depression and other mental issues. Studies have shown that low blood levels of these vitamins are sometimes related to depression, although no one is exactly sure why. Some scientists believe that these vitamins are used by the body to create serotonin, one of the key neurotransmitters that help normalize mood. This vitamin is especially important for women and even more important during pregnancy. Some foods that provide folic acid are lentils, leafy greens, citrus, asparagus, kidney beans, oatmeal and broccoli.
Whole grains are a great source of B vitamins, which are key nutrients for good moods. Research has shown that vitamin B6 deficiencies can lead to higher stress, irritability, tiredness and depression. By choosing whole grains, you can get your carb-comfort food fix–boosting your mood without derailing your diet. So, don’t eliminate all carbs — just make smart choices when choosing which carbs to put into your body. Limit sugary, unrefined carbs (such as cakes and cookies) and pick smart or “complex” carbs (such as whole grains), along with plenty of fruits, vegetables and legumes, which all contribute healthy carbs and fiber.
Find out what works for your body to ensure you are staying balanced. Don’t let your mood get in the way of your enjoying your day! Try changing your diet to promote a healthy lifestyle and most importantly a healthy better feeling you.