Looking for more ways to get & stay happier? There’s no magic formula, but extensive research grows daily on the importance of what we eat & drink as being a vital part of sustaining a healthy-happy mood. Let’s break it down into a few groups that matter, & why:
-Omega 3 : Not such a pretty name, but what a healthy punch they pack. And there’s variety too! Salmon, sardines, anchovies, walnuts, flax & chia seeds & an herb called purslane. Initial research suggests that omega 3-rich food offer a better resistance to chronic depression. In any case, they are a great addition to any healthy diet, & it’s well-known they are an excellent way to protect your heart & your brain!
-Probiotics: Not everyone is sure what is included in this group, but it’s basically anything fermented: Yoghurt, kefir, buttermilk, kimchee, miso, sauerkraut & pickled veggies. Fact: Up to 90% of the serotonin your body produced is made in your gut. It seems that gut health really affects everything! Studies suggest that these foods send signals to the brain from the gut, which can change brain activity. Studies can’t yet conclusively confirm an exact causal effect, but eating these foods at the very least can improve the many gastro-intestinal troubles that plague many.
Whole Grains: Don't forget to including whole grains in your everyday diet. Vitamin B1 is part of turning glucose into energy. Vitamin B5 helps produce neurotransmitters that help with learning & memory. B6 helps create seratonin, & & B12 is vital to producing both seratonin & dopamine, both essential in regulating moods. Look for: steel-cut oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, amaranth, millet, bulgur & wild rice.
Caffeine: This one makes me so happy! In moderation, approximately 2 cups a day, has been found to trigger the release of dopamine, which is important for performance and mood. A study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, concluded that coffee consumption, & tea to a lesser extent, had a protective effect on the risk of depression. If coffee is not your cup-try black or green tea. Another option? Try a cup of chai. It’s a savory, Indian tea made with spices like cardamom and cinnamon, adding a natural sweetness to the taste.
Vitamin D Foods: Along with getting out into the sun for a healthy dose of this necessary vitamin, you can supplement your diet with vitamin D foods like salmon with bones, eggs & cheese. Research shows an increase in the levels of serotonin, affecting mood, & also maybe linked to mood disorders, particularly seasonal affective disorder. (SAD) There’s also been evidence that a vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for depression in older adults.
Great Greens: Folate is an important nutrient in stabilizing healthy moods. Low folate levels have been linked to more frequent depressions in research. Folate deficiency may impair the metabolism of serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline, all neurotransmitteres necessary for mood balancing. Add lots of spinach, edamame, artichokes, okra, turnip greens, avocado & broccoli.
Beans & Lentils: High in fiber and plant-based protein, beans and lentils are full of feel-good nutrients. B vitamins improve & regulating mood by increasing levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA). B vitamins also play help with nerve signaling, which options proper communication between nerve cells. When levels of B vitamins are too low, mood disorders are more likely. Finally, beans & lentils are also full of zinc, magnesium, selenium, and non-heme iron. Not only a way to elevate your spirits, but generally helpful in bolstering your immune system as well. I’m not a super-fan of their consistency, but they’re so good for you, I’ve found ways to indulge-like freshly made humus & a great bowl of chili!
Bananas & Berries: I can’t say enough about these 2! Bananas are a great source of natural sugar, vitamin B6, and prebiotic fiber, which work together to keep your blood sugar levels and mood stable. Low blood sugar levels may lead to irritability and mood swings. B6 helps synthesize feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. Although the mechanism isn’t clear, a diet rich in antioxidants may help manage inflammation associated with depression and other mood disorders. Berries contain a wide range of antioxidants and phenolic compounds, which play a key role in combatting oxidative stress, the source of an imbalance of harmful compounds in your body.
-Dark Chocolate: Happily for all of us, chocolate is rich in many mood-boosting compounds. Apart from tasting heavenly, chocolate has a high hedonic rating, meaning its’ pleasurable taste, texture, & smell may also promote good mood. Eating chocolate releases a cascade of feel-good compounds, such as caffeine, theobromine, and N-acylethanolamine, a substance chemically similar to cannabinoids, linked to improved mood. Experts debate whether chocolate contains enough of these compounds to trigger a psychological response, but it’s also high in health-promoting flavonoids, which have been shown to increase blood flow to your brain, reduce inflammation,& boost brain health, all of which helps support a stable mood. Simply put-who doesn’t feel better after eating chocolate?
You know we belief that small changes produce big results.Even the smallest dietary changes can make a huge difference in how you feel over time. Research on food and mood is still just beginning, but all of it suggests that these foods & drinks will help your body to be healthier, & to respond with a more stable, sustainable mood.
You know it's true:healthy body-happy mind!
Best, Patrick & Jo-Anna
TakeAway Tip: Keep it simple, & just start by hitting your mood-boosting foods quota with a great Smoothy Bowl full of whole grains, berries,& yoghurt for breakfast, & our Spring Salad with dark leafy greens, tuna & beans for lunch or dinner. The variations on these suggestions are easy & endless, so no reason not to get started today, & check out our Recipes!