You are what you eat. That’s a pretty common saying, and to a large part, it makes sense. If you put more good stuff in your body, you’re probably going to feel better. If you eat junk food, lots of processed foods, and sugars, you’re probably not going to feel so hot. Did you know this saying also applies to how certain foods you eat affect your mood?
It’s true; there are certain foods out there that can boost your mood, increase your feelings of happiness, and help fight off depression. Certain foods are made up of beneficial properties that can alter the chemistry of your brain in a good way, by increasing the release of neurotransmitters that make you feel happy. When your dopamine and serotonin levels are increased, you’re bound to feel more cheerful, active, productive and less likely to gain weight.
So what exactly are these feel-good foods? This article takes you through a list of foods that help you get more serotonin and dopamine. Try including them in your diet if you suffer from mild depression, mood swings, or want to just increase your positivity.
If you’re looking for a quicker boost of serotonin or dopamine, you can always start with natural supplements first while working on adding in more naturally boosting foods as well.
Vitamin B Rich Foods
According to studies, people who consume more of leafy vegetables, poultry, and fish tend to have a more positive mindset. It’s tricky to say what exactly it is that leads to a more positive outlook. The healthy foods are food for you, of course, but it is more specifically because these food boost the levels of neurotransmitters released by your brain.
Vitamin B rich foods like whole grain, fish, and leafy veggies are rich in folate, which they increased the level of serotonin, which is responsible for making you feel good. Nutritional stats show that folate deficiency is very common in the USA and it is one of the main reasons behind chemical depression. For extra perks, include kidney beans, chickpeas and black beans in your diet too as they are also quite rich in folate.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid
Omega 3 fatty acids. We all know them, heard of them, know we need more of them. The reason behind its popularity is because there are so many benefits to be had from taking in more omega 3, including the increased release of serotonin and dopamine in your body.
Cold water fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel and herring are rich in omega 3. Including them in your diet at least once a week can work wonders to ward against sudden mild depression attacks. Not only is it a mood booster but also a rich source of selenium, which is a trace mineral that helps protect against cell damage.
Say YES to Amino Acids
This is good news for all those meat lovers out there. Increasing your protein intake can lead to a better outlook on life. For me, I would just say because I like food, eating food, and being full, but apparently, there is more to it than just that.
The amino acids that make up most protein also help fuel your body with the energy it needs to function, while also boosting the levels of dopamine and serotonin in your brain. Meats like beef, chicken, turkey, and pork are good sources of protein as well as fish. You can look into whey protein for convenient on-the-go nutrition. Although there are amino acids in plants as well, they don’t have enough content of it to trigger the release of serotonin and dopamine.
Include Starchy Carbs in your Diet
One of the biggest mistakes we make is we take all carbs to be unhealthy and fattening. The complex carbs which contain a lot of starch are great for your mental wellness. The complex carbs in pasta, brown rice, cereal and sweet potato are responsible for producing neurotransmitters which improve mood, ease sleeping patterns and keep your mood light. Root vegetables like corn and carrots are also a source of starchy carbohydrates, and they should be included in your diet.
Did you ever wonder why eating chocolate makes you so happy? I mean besides that it taste delicious and you kind of know you’re not supposed to eat it. The reason is partly due to the tyrosine content found in them. Tyrosine is an important amino acid that increases the production of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine. It is found in meat, nuts, and some dairy products like cheese.
If you ever needed an excuse to eat chocolate, or be picky about your food, there you go. Get more of what your body craves, and it will reward you with a big smile.