Mood-boosting foods can be a blessing and a curse. People often use these foods to alter their state of mind without even realizing it has happened. Satisfying foods that are sweet can be eaten to kick up blood sugar, but that also means a crash is coming. Some foods may have a negative impact on a person’s outlook, which means a person’s well-being can be impacted also. Look at the ways certain foods boost mood in a good way but also how some (like caffeine or sugar) can cause blood sugar spikes and be unhealthy in large doses.
Rich Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids may have a role in brain functioning, with deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids linked to mental health problems. Researchers analyzed 26 previously published studies that examined the association between fish consumption and the risk of depression. People who consumed the most fish were likely to have depression symptoms. Rigorous clinical trials are needed to explore the role of omega-3 fatty acids in depression and mental health. Some foods to eat instead:
- Increase intake of wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, and mackerel
- Plant foods rich in omega-3s include walnuts, canola oil, and purslane (herb)
- Fish oil, flaxseed oil, and echium oil
It is a good idea to check with the healthcare provider to see if a person is pregnant, nursing, or taking medication with may not work well with certain foods or herbs.
The role of probiotics is to boost gut health. Emerging research suggests bacteria in the gut send and receive signals to the brain. Consumption of a probiotic supplement was found to improve both gut symptoms and depression in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Some of the foods to eat with probiotics:
- Korean kimchi
- Pickled veggies
Whole grain foods have a rich source of B vitamins, nutrients vital for brain health. Thiamin is involved in turning glucose into energy, vitamin B5 is needed to produce acetylcholine (involved in learning and memory), vitamin B6 helps to convert the amino acid tryptophan into serotonin, and vitamin B12 is involved in the production of neurotransmitters. Foods rich in whole grains include:
- Foods with dietary fiber
- Steel-cut oatmeal
- Brown rice
- Wild rice
Leafy green veggies like spinach and kale are excellent foods to eat. Okra and turnip greens also have excellent sources of fiber. Folate is plentiful in beans and lentils to provide a daily allowance of nutrients needed. Caffeine should be consumed in moderation. Dopamine can be helpful when boosted but too much caffeine can make a person jittery, irritable, sad, sleepless, or bring on side effects. Look for foods that are rich in healthy vitamins and minerals to give a better overall boost throughout the day.
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