Diet and Nutrition

Superfoods That Will Boost Your Mood

It’s true that you are what you eat—and that also holds true for your mood. If you mostly put junk into your system, it can end up not only causing you to pack on unwanted pounds, but also make you irritable. You may be sabotaging your happiness just by the foods you’re consuming.

If you don’t believe food affects your mood, think of how you feel after eating a big turkey dinner, or after drinking an extra large coffee. One can slow your brain to a halt, while the other can perk you up. However, while these are extreme examples, here are seven mood foods that can kick your brain into a higher gear…

1. Egg Whites Omelets

Prevention magazine suggests chowing down on this healthy breakfast along with low-fat cheese and spinach for the protein content. The magazine says protein is a good fighter against SAD (Season Affective Disorder) that affects many Americans from colder temperatures and shorter days.

The suggestion is part of a high-protein diet designed by Elizabeth Somer, RD, who shared the information with Prevention. The article notes that while a high-carb diet can be effective for curbing SAD, it’s not the right path for everyone. High protein diets (with protein-packed snacks) are a good alternative, it adds.

2. Salmon suggests these delicious fishes for their brain-boosting properties. The article on the website notes that low mood and depression has been tied to a lack of certain nutrients, and that salmon in a vinaigrette salad contains Omega-3 fatty acids that may improve happiness levels (especially in children).

While you’ll get the added health benefits of the salad greens, you don’t necessarily have to eat the salmon with leaves, notes the CBC. It notes the fish on its own has a positive effect on the brain and helps you stay sharp, and is also good for your heart.

3. Chocolate

Many of you out there will be happy to hear that chocolate, a close-to-sinful treat has the ability to improve your mental well being. However, we’re not talking about sugar-loaded milk chocolate, but rather pure chocolate without all the additives.

According to Best Health magazine, raw chocolate doesn’t just make you smile because it’s delicious—it contains chemicals called phenylethylamine, anandamide and theobromine, which it says are all pick-me-ups. Chocolate can give you same jolt as coffee does without the negative side effects, adds the magazine.

4. Milk

Many of us stopped drinking milk when we were toddlers, but there’s some evidence that suggests it may be a good time to start drinking it again. This study presents a study in scientific speak, but the gist of it is that the ingredients in milk can boost serotonin—an important neurotransmitter that affects our moods.

Another positive effect of drinking milk is it promotes restful sleep – remember when your parents would suggest a warm glass of milk before bed when you were little? There might’ve been more to that than you (or they) realized. This is because milk contains tryptophan, our friend in turkey that makes us sleepy. However, the effect of milk on sleep is much stronger when you pair it with carbohydrate-rich foods (cookies).

5. Bananas

They’ve been called the “perfect food” (although we all know that’s pizza). Bananas contain high levels of tryptophan, which your body converts to serotonin to naturally elevate your outlook. Perhaps this is why monkeys always seem to be in a playful mood?

The BBC suggests “stewed” fruit prepared with bananas and apricots on an oatcake (flatbread) base. Top it all with walnuts for a better result, added the BBC. The British network notes this snack will release sugars gradually for a longer brain boost, as opposed to caffeine and sweets that lift you up but drop you back down quickly.

6. Brazil Nuts

These particular nuts are high in selenium. In fact, they have more than 2,500 times more selenium than any other nuts, according to Best Health magazine. So what’s the big deal about selenium, you ask? According to Best Health, it’s a “powerful antioxidant” that has been proven to boost mood as well as cognitive performance.

According to the magazine, eating just one of these nuts per day is more than enough to reap the positive benefits. The best part is, despite the name of these nuts, you don’t have to travel to travel to Brazil to get them. A local grocery store will do.

7. Coconuts

This exotic fruit apparently is good for more than a tasty chocolate bar filling or to sip milk from with a straw. According to Eating Well magazine, the mere scent of coconut can dull the “fight or flight” response in your brain that can lead to anxiety, while slowing your heart rate.

The magazine explained that a study out of Columbia University found that inhaling the scent of coconut helps high blood pressure return to normal faster following a stressful event. The All Women’s Talk online forum also notes that coconut oil is a natural fat that cures bad moods. One writer in the forum said they take 3-tablespoons of coconut oil per day and “have never felt better in my life.” Worth a shot?


Catherine Roberts

Catherine is our go-to writer for women’s health news, diet trends and more. She’s dedicated to providing Activebeat readers with the information they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle every day.