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10 Foods That Have Been Proven To Boost Your Mood

by Natasha Effendy. |

They say your body is your temple, and that food is good for our soul. But it all depends on what we eat. In fact, the stuff we eat often impacts our mood. A study conducted by Penn State University found that junk food - no matter how amazing they taste - actually ruins our mood. On the other hand, if one chooses to eat good and incorporate healthier options into their lifestyle, they would feel good. Literally. If you haven’t been feeling great about yourself lately, here are 5 foods that are proven to boost your mood.

1. Coffee

Let’s face it - coffee has been such a big part of our lives. Regardless of your go-to Starbucks order, a decent cup of it always come with the telltale kick in our veins and man, it does feel good. There’s a reason for that actually. Every coffee cup contains caffeine, which has been said to switch on your dopamine, which is in charge of making you feel good. Coffee can counteract feelings of exhaustion as well, making you more alert and prepared for the day. No wonder the first sip of the morning brings on that smile!

2. Fermented foods

Kimchi, kombucha, yoghurt, sauerkraut...you name it. These are some of the fermented foods you might have heard of. Though fermented foods may have questionable at best, they actually are good for you. Surprisingly, 90% of your body’s serotonin (the happy hormone) is made in your gut. So happy gut, happy mood. When certain foods are being fermented, probiotics are produced, thus encouraging the growth of good bacteria in your gut.

3. Dark chocolate

If you haven’t known yet, dark chocolate is the ultimate mood-booster. It’s made from cacao, it has tryptophan, which is crucial in the production of serotonin in your brain. On top of that, dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants, especially the polyphenols that have been recognised to bring down anxiety and depression levels. Then we have phenylethylamine, the chemical that works with dopamine (the pleasure hormone), and finally, theobromine, the gentle stimulant meant to give you the rush of your euphoric high.

4. Fatty fish

If you’re wondering what to eat for dinner, fatty fish is great to boost your mood. Fishes like albacore tuna, salmon, herring and many more have been acknowledged as mood-boosters too because they contain two types of fatty acid omega-3 -docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Together, they help reduce feelings of depression in many individuals. However, many people don’t get a sufficient intake of fish oils in their diets, so daily fish oil supplements may be recommended.

5. Bananas

Bananas are rich in vitamin B6, which also helps in the production of dopamine and serotonin. One of the issues associated with bad mood swings would be low blood sugar, but a quick banana fix can help that! Together with fibre (another component that promotes good gut health), the sugar in the banana can help regulate blood sugar levels, thus stabilising one’s mood swings.

6. Oats

No matter how versatile oats can be, they actually work in improving your mood. Very much like bananas, a single cup of oats contains the fibre to aid your digestion and blood sugar levels. For those who may be suffering from iron-deficiency, oats can help bring up your iron levels, which in turn, make you feel better. This is because this wholegrain can make you feel less irritable and tired, two symptoms associated with low iron intake.

7. Matcha/Green Tea

There are two different types of people in this world - tea drinkers and coffee drinkers. If you’re not in the mood for coffee but want the kick anyway, you can try a warm cup of matcha. Unlike coffee, the kick is slower; much more gradual. That’s how you end up awake and relaxed in one sitting. In green tea, there’s a lot of L-theanine, which is another component that increases the dopamine and serotonin in your brain.

8. Avocados

Likewise, if you’re not a fan of fish but you desire the omega-3 nutrition, avocados are the way to go! Other than looking pretty on your toast, avocados come rich in folate, a vitamin that helps combat irrational fears and anxiety. These two emotions are caused by excess homocysteine, an amino acid that will block your happy and pleasure hormones. A good night’s sleep is also crucial to a better mood, so if you want to sleep better, the creamy fruit is your solution.

9. Eggs

Personally, I was surprised to find out that a sunny-side-up can make your day. Pun intended. But yes. Eggs do make your mood much better. This all has to do with how eggs contain choline, which helps activate neurotransmitters (possibly serotonin and dopamine), omega-3 acids, other amino acids and zinc and magnesium, both of which are said to help with anxiety.

10. Nuts

Raw or unsalted, nuts generally come packed with Vitamin E. Those who have tried Mediterranean diets claimed that they experienced less depression. This is because nuts (be it almonds, walnuts or peanuts etc.) have tryptophan, which is also found in dark chocolate. To incorporate nuts into your diet, you can eat them by the handful. If not, try making nut milk or nut butter!

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