Boost Your Mood with Healthy Food
We have all been in a low mood at some point in our lives. Whether that is from life events or from something in our body that is out of balance.
When we are in a low mood we often experience symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, headaches, stress, weakness, or even depression.
Often we can experience heavy emotions that result in impacting our mood even more. When we are sad and feel unmotivated we turn to foods that comfort us. Although it can be difficult to turn towards foods that are healthier, it is important that we focus on foods that can help nourish our bodies, minds and lift up our moods.
If you have noticed that your mood has been low for some time now and you have tried all of the tricks up your sleeve, it is a great idea to gain the awareness of what you may be consuming. Nutrition and key nutrients play a terrific role in boosting our moods and according to science, food provides both physical and psychological benefits.
Below, I have listed some key nutrients along with some foods that you can incorporate to boost your moods. Our minds and bodies can be very complex so it is important that we focus on the body-mind connection always.
Omega-3 contains two fatty acids – EPA and DHA. Omega-3 fatty acids are vital for brain function and development. Omega-3 is known to help improve your mood and can help stabilize blood sugar in the bloodstream.
Foods rich in Omega-3: Mackerel, salmon, cod liver oil, sardines, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, soybeans, hemp seed oil.
The best way to naturally get Vitamin D is through sunshine. Our body naturally produces Vitamin D with the correct dosage of sun. There are actually few foods that contain vitamin D. Many foods containing Vitamin D are often fortified products. Vitamin D can produce the neurotransmitters, which create serotonin. Serotonin helps with improving mood.
Foods rich in Vitamin D: Salmon, herring, sardines, cod liver oil, tuna, oysters, shrimp, egg yolks, oatmeal, mushrooms, cows milk.
Magnesium plays a critical role in mental function and low levels can lead to depression. Magnesium is known to help relax muscles and joint and can help reduce symptoms related to anxiety.
Foods rich in magnesium: Dark chocolate, avocados, bananas, brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, lentils, beans, chickpeas, tofu, flaxseed, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, barley, wheat, oats, buckwheat, quinoa, salmon, mackerel, halibut, spinach, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard.
Vitamin B6 plays an important role in boosting your mood and is helpful in the production of making neurotransmitters including serotonin, norepinephrine, and melatonin.
Foods rich in vitamin B6: Pork, chicken, turkey, fish, bread, oatmeal, wheat germ, brown rice, eggs, peanuts, milk, potatoes with skin, spinach, beans, carrots, sunflower seeds, bananas, avocado, broccoli.
Low levels of B12 can cause issues of fatigue and symptoms associated with depression. B12 is found in most animal byproducts, so it is important that if we are vegan/vegetarian or have a poor digestive system, to supplement with a vitamin B12. B12 helps with the production of new red blood cells and nerves, so it is important to have an efficient amount.
Foods rich in vitamin B12: Nutritional yeast, shellfish, seafood, legumes, nuts, fortified grains, eggs, and dairy products.
Zinc is a trace mineral that plays an important role in decreasing depression and improving our immune system and gut health. Low levels of link are often associated with anxiety as there may be a deficiency in the neurotransmitter GABA. To get balanced level of zinc, we can get it in a supplement form or through dietary consumption.
Foods rich in zinc: fish and seafood, pumpkin seeds, soybeans, eggs, legumes, whole grains, wheat germ, lima beans, lentils, green peas, kelp, buckwheat, sardines, sunflower seeds, nuts.
Chromium is a trace mineral that can help metabolize food. It is known to regulate and balance out insulin, thus decreasing symptoms associated with anxiety. It helps to increase the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine and melatonin, which can help improve your emotions and mood.
Foods rich in Chromium: Whole grains, corn oil, potatoes with skin, brown rice, dried beans, wheat germ, eggs, broccoli, spinach, blackstrap molasses, mushrooms, seafood.
Folate (known as B9 or folic acid) helps the body create new cells and supports serotonin regulation. There is a link between low folate and depression. Folate can help decrease depression and improve ones mood.
Foods rich in folate: Brewers yeast, leafy greens, dried beans, legumes, whole grains, dates, asparagus, lentils, oranges, blackberries, kiwi, strawberries, split peas, wheat germ.
Probiotics are important for creating friendly bacteria in the microbiome. 90% of serotonin is produced in our gut, so it is important that we have a good amount of gut flora.
Probiotics foods: Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, kombucha, miso.
What to Do Next
If you live in a place where there isn’t much sun in the winter, it is important to include a Vitamin D supplement to your daily routine. I recommend getting a vitamin D liquid from a health store near you.
To increase your intake of Omega-3s try this chia seed pudding recipe below!
¼ cup chia seeds
1 cup almond milk (or any nut milk)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Whisk together all ingredients into a small bowl and let sit for 1-2 hours.
Remove from fridge and enjoy with some berries or nuts and seeds.
Christina Anania is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She works one-on-one with clients educating them on how to live a happier and healthy life. She specializes in mental health and gut health. Christina is the owner of Eats By Tee, which is a nutrition consulting business, as well as a recipe/food blogger. She signed up to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and graduated with her diploma and Award of Merit in December 2017. Christina loves being a holistic nutritionist because she believes in diving deep and getting to the root cause of ones health concern.
Thank you for reading my article. I hope you found it helpful or at least thought-provoking. If this post did help you, consider sharing it with someone you think it would help too.