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How To Choose Food to Boost Mood

food to boost mood

Are you wondering which food to boost your mood you should pick?

There are certain food items that can help improve your mood. But which ones? And how do they work?

Well, in this blog post we will explore the link between food and mood. We list a variety of food items and drinks that can boost your mood naturally.

From gut health to brain food to whole grains, there is some mood with food for everyone!

We’ll also provide summaries to frequently asked questions at the bottom of the blog post for queries like:

  • How can I boost my mood naturally?
  • How can I boost my mood quickly?
  • What drinks boost mood?

Before we answer these questions however, let’s explore more how to choose food to improve your mood!

How To Choose Food To Boost Your Mood

As the seasons change and time moves forward, you go through ups and downs in your life.

You might become incredibly motivated to refresh your daily routine on some days. On others, you might crash down and feel like you can’t get anything done. It’s frustrating having a goal but struggling to make an effort to accomplish it.

Luckily, making changes in your life to improve your motivation and mood is as easy as switching around the food you eat.

So, instead of leaning towards sugary processed foods, consider going for delicious fruits that provide vitamins and minerals that increase your mood and health.

Here’s how to choose foods that improve your mood. 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3s are incredibly beneficial for both your health and mood. Omega-3 fatty acids are usually in salmon, mackerel, and sardines.

They play a significant role in brain functionality and boost mental health. Beginning to look for them is one of the easiest steps in learning how to choose foods that improve your mood.

You can find omega-3s in other foods, such as:

  • Walnuts, Flax and Chia Seeds
  • Canola Oil
  • Purslane

Probiotics

prebiotic and probiotic foods
We added a list of prebiotic foods for good measure 🙂 Hard to go wrong here!

Additionally, probiotics come loaded with health benefits.

They improve digestive health while playing a part in sending and receiving signals to the brain. 

For this reason, probiotics are food choices that impact your mood.  Adding foods like yogurt or kimchi to your diet is one way to reap the benefits of natural serotonin production in the brain.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that decreases anxiety and depression . It also helps regulate sleep cycles for those who struggle with insomnia.  

As such, they can affect depression symptoms and those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Some foods with probiotics include:

  • Yogurt and kefir
  • Buttermilk
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi and miso
  • Tempeh
  • Pickled vegetables

Whole Grains and Healthy Breakfasts

It’s important to choose food items that contribute fiber-rich whole grains into our diets on a daily basis. Many people know about how helpful oatmeal can be when it comes to losing weight but didn’t realize its other health benefits as well!

Let me be clear – loading up on whole grains can do wonders for your overall health.

They contain B vitamins, which have a positive impact on brain health. Vitamin B1 turns glucose into energy, and vitamin B5 promotes learning and memory.

Meanwhile, vitamin B6 turns the amino acid tryptophan into serotonin—the happy chemical. Furthermore, vitamin B12 balances chemicals like serotonin and dopamine to regulate mood.

You can make many delicious breakfast foods with whole grains. It’s simple to cook them quickly in your environmentally-friendly kitchen.

You’ll feel good all over when eating a delicious meal right away in the morning. Some whole grains include:

  • Steel-cut oatmeal
  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice and wild rice
  • Millet
  • Amaranth
  • Bulgur
  • Whole-wheat breads and pastas

Other food to boost your mood are leafy greens. They contain serotonin, which helps regulate the brain’s signals for sleepiness.

Feelings of sadness decrease when vitamin C is present in food sources—such as oranges, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and papaya. These are great to include in any healthy breakfast!

Additionally, bananas with dark skin provide natural energy boosts due to their potassium content.

Avocados help in this area too! Healthy fats like olive oil also aid in regulating neurotransmitters like dopamine (the pleasure chemical) while promoting feelings of happiness throughout the body.

Keep these food options available on hand if possible to make healthy choices every day!

Load up on Leafy Greens

While they aren’t everyone’s favorite foods, leafy green vegetables can do so much good for your mood.

Many green vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli, contain the B vitamin called folate.

Folate helps promote mental health and regulate blood levels in the body. If you lack folate, you may have a diminished metabolism and experience depression.

Your serotonin and dopamine may also become low.

Plus, there are a ton of other benefits to eating leafy greens which can impact your mood too! For example:

  • Leafy greens are high in magnesium, which helps relax blood vessels.
  • This food is essential for your body to be able to produce energy.
  • Leafy greens are an excellent source of vitamin K. Vitamin K can lower risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease in adults over 50 years old.
  • Many leafy greens also contain vitamin C, which promotes a healthy immune system.
  • They’re loaded with calcium and fiber too
  • This can improve your mood by helping to reduce anxiety and stress levels.
  • They have antioxidant properties that help cells grow stronger so you feel better all over!

So, be on the lookout for:

  • Edamame
  • Avocados
  • Artichokes
  • Lentils
  • Okra
  • Turnip greens
  • Mustard greens
  • Collard and kale greens

Be Moderate With Coffee

migraine headache and coffee

Caffeine seems to exist in everyone’s diet nowadays. Caffeine can have positive effects.

For instance, it can trigger the release of dopamine to boost performance and mood. But, if consumed too regularly, it can put you at risk of depression.

Side effects can include jitteriness, irritability, sadness, and sleeplessness, to name a few.

So, instead of drinking cup after cup of coffee, consider a few other choices for taking in caffeine. There are so many delicious options out there, such as:

  • Rooibos tea
  • Green tea
  • Black tea
  • Chai tea
  • Jasmine tea
  • Dandelion root coffee
  • Yerba mate tea
  • Kombucha and other fermented teas (more on those later)

Of course, you can flavor your drink how you like. Teas not only help your immune system, but they excite the palate enough to give you the energy boost you need.

Let’s now cycle back and incorporate all this information in some answers to frequently asked questions!

How can I boost my mood naturally?

Let’s summarize a few ideas here:

  • Be mindful of what you eat.
  • Minimize caffeine, processed food, sugar – especially refined sugars like high-fructose corn syrup or sucrose.
  • Make sure to get enough protein in your diet every day for optimal health benefit.
  • Experiment! (see below for more info)

Remember, food is meant to be enjoyed not feared! Balance is key when choosing food options that will help boost your mood naturally each day!

Be sure to try new foods while also being mindful of how these foods make you feel.

There’s no point in eating a carb free breakfast if your mood decreases and you end up binge eating on pizza in the evening!

Experiment: Try Different Mood Boosting Foods

Of course nothing beats personal testing and experimentation.

People like to say that all foods are good or bad. But in reality everyone has a different body and not all foods are going to impact every person the same way.

The best mindset to have is that you’ll experiment with different foods and notice how these different foods impact your mood.

You can refer to the ideas above for ideas on where to start. But let’s say you try incorporating more probiotics because you’re often anxious and you hear probiotics can help your stomach calm down.

Well … just because me or some other authority figure says probiotics are good for your gut health doesn’t mean your gut will respond in the same way!

How can I boost my mood quickly?

Let’s talk about how to which food to boost your mood quickly in terms of eating or drinking. The answer is caffeine, in a nutshell.

(However, if you are talking about other alternative ways to boost your mood quickly, the answer is exercise till you sweat!)

But first one quick word about the word ‘quickly’.

Long term mental health and having a positive mood is NOT a quick fix. You need to routinely take care of your physical, mental and emotional health.

With that being said, it’s always nice every now and then if you’re feeling down to reach for a drink and to feel better.

I think we’ve all had days when we felt sluggish and tired and coffee truly did help in a genuine way.

So, if you’re looking to boost your mood quickly, go with black coffee and make it a treat!

Here’s what I mean:

Don’t go to the nearest coffee shop and grab some burnt or bitter tasting cup of black gold!

You need to pick up an organic, fair trade cold brew from your local food coop that will truly help you feel better! That way you feel like you’re indulging yourself a little bit while still getting the energy effects from caffeine.

Here’s what I mean by that: if something makes you FEEL great, but actually isn’t THAT beneficial – then this is not a food choice worth making.

This would be similar to how many people drink coffee but they add tons of sugar in their drink which harms their blood sugar levels in the long term.

Of course the sugar tastes nice at the moment, but a plain cup of black coffee is guilt free, and gives you the same benefits without the sugar crash!

So, go to your local food co-op or specialty store and pick up a cold brew organic black coffee that’s been brewed for 18 hours at the perfect temperature.

And don’t even think about adding creamers like half & half – this barely has any nutrition in it anyways!

And while you’re at it … grab a square of dark chocolate too to complete the treat for a healthy mood boosting snack!

Alright, obviously I’m being a little high in my praise about black coffee here, but that’s what I would recommend if you want to boost your mood naturally in a healthy way!

Final Thoughts on Foods To Boost Your Mood

Your health and mood depend on what you eat, so we’ve provided some tips to help keep your cravings under control.

We also recommend that if you find yourself tempted by a food craving, try taking an omega 3 or eating probiotic foods like yogurt or sauerkraut.

Eating whole grains regularly will provide energy for the day, as well as leafy greens which contain B vitamins (a natural mood booster).

If none of these healthy foods work and it seems like no other option is left but to indulge in those processed snacks, consider exercise first!

Because exercise is the other best way to boost your mood too!

If you have any more questions about what food cravings mean then be sure to check out our other post here.


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