Is good mood food for real? — Absolutely! The science may not yet be 100% conclusive, but there is certainly evidence to suggest that what we eat can have a significant impact on our moods.
Researchers tell us that there may be specific benefits from the nutrients in certain foods. That’s not a guarantee, but why not give it a try? All of these foods are good for your health, and you might just lift your spirits too.
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What is Good Mood Food?
We’re not talking about the kind of comfort foods that wreck your sugar level or put on pounds that you’ll regret later. Instead we mean foods that offer genuine benefits, such as easing anxiety or lowering stress levels, which in turn improves your mood.
Your physical health will benefit as well. Many of the same foods that can have a positive influence on your mood will also help keep your brain tissue healthy.
One of the most notable examples is blueberries. They are a well known superfood and have even been called “brainberries”.
Rich in antioxidents, blueberries may improve learning capacity as well as reduce the effects of dementia. Studies indicate that blueberries are also good for boosting your mood.
That’s not to say that there is a single “magic bullet”. Nutrition-dense foods are dubbed superfoods for good reason, but researchers tell us that our brains (and our moods) benefit most from a steady diet of healthy foods over the long term.(back to top)
Eating Better to Feel Better
What can you eat to try to lift your spirits? Some of the foods you may want to start incorporating into your diet include:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – in salmon or other healthy fish; nuts, avocados, oatmeal
- Magnesium – in almonds, sesame & sunflower seeds, bananas, tofu, flaxseed
- Tryptophan – in pumpkin & chia seeds, mozzarella cheese, lamb, beef, pork, chicken, tuna
- B Vitamins – in dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, peas, lentils, nuts, seafood, poultry
- Vitamin D – in traditional dairy, as well as fortified non-dairy almond and coconut milk
- Dark Chocolate – cocoa bean content 70% or higher
Studies show that lower rates of depression may be related to consumption of salmon, saffron, and coffee, as well as carbohydrates in whole grains and fruits. Minerals such as zinc can help combat depression. Folate can help reduce stress. Chamomile can work very well to ease anxiety.
One fairly easy way to eat good mood food is to plan your meals around the Mediterranean diet. Basically, you avoid what you already know is unhealthy – over-processed foods, refined sugar, junk food, and deep fried anything. Instead you focus on eating moderate amounts of lean protein, plenty of vegetables, as well as whole grains, beans, nuts, and olive oil. (Also see Related Books below.)
20 Recipes to Try
- Super Seedy Granola Bars
- Blueberry-Spinach Smoothie
- Blissful Blueberry Banana Spelt Muffins
- Sun-dried Tomato, Mushroom, and Spinach Tofu Quiche
- Supergreen Kale and Pistachio Pesto
- Spicy Spinach with Sunflower Seeds
- Broccoli, Avocado and Lime Salad
- Alexandria Crow’s Salmon al Forno Salad
- Shaved Asparagus & White Bean Salad
- Seared Salmon With Hemp Seeds, Radish Sprout and Watercress Salad
- Roasted Salmon with Whole Grain Mustard and Brandy
- Salmon Stir Fry
- West African Peanut Stew
- Raw Blueberry Cheesecake
- Vegan Avocado and Banana Soft Serve Ice Cream with Pistachios
- Secret Ingredient Healthy Chocolate Shake
- Chocolate Avocado Mousse
- Strawberry Rhubarb Chia Seed Pudding
- Decadent Chocolate Fix
- Kiwifruit and Berry Yogurt Parfait With Toasted Coconut
For comprehensive information you should consult a professional, but for independent study you might consider getting a good nutrition book. We recommend the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. Click that link to check it out on Amazon where you can use the “look inside” feature.
There is also an interesting new cookbook scheduled for release in September 2017. It’s available for pre-order now (at a very good price).
This cookbook was written by mental health advocate Rachel Kelly, who worked with a nutritionist for 5 years studying the foods that lift us up, and those that drag us down!
Read more about it on Amazon: The Happiness Diet: Good Mood Food
In this post from Greatist you can find meal planning ideas as well as details about specific benefits of various foods: 24 Meals to Seriously Boost Your Mood
This interesting article in Prevention Magazine discusses seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and offers meal plans designed to lift your mood: SAD Meals To Make You Happy