Mood food—fake news or the real deal? You better believe it; the foods we eat are key to our relationships, work production, mental state, and physical health.
Recent scientific studies have shown that the quality of our diets is related to our risk for common mental challenges, such as depression and ADHD. In fact, it has been proven that healthy food is essential for overall mental wellbeing. Even the occasional feeling of being in a funk can be helped by taking care to eat right.
When you find yourself feeling down and out, you may be tempted to reach for comfort foods. The problem is that your favorite comfort foods might be greasy, heavily processed, or high in sugar and fat. If you’re ready to improve your mood from the inside out, try to replace these items with whole, plant-based foods that are as natural as possible (consider the Down to Earth Way of Eating!)
Here’re some suggestions:
- Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables (organic & local, if possible) should be a main player in every meal and snack.
- Focus on eating complex carbohydrates like oatmeal, beans, quinoa, and whole wheat bread. These foods take longer to break down, which can stabilize blood sugar levels. Changes in your blood sugar often cause low energy, irritability, and an overall blah mood.
- Healthy fats found in foods like avocados, tofu, seeds, and nuts can help reduce inflammation and high blood pressure, which can cause brain fog and other unpleasant feelings.
- Make sure you have enough iron and folate in your diet from foods like spinach, potatoes, asparagus, kidney beans, and quinoa. Folate is important for producing dopamine and other mood-related neurotransmitters, while low iron can cause fatigue and depression.
- Vitamin C is not just for boosting immunity. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can help our bodies make dopamine and serotonin, which both work to stabilize moods. Adrenal glands need vitamin C to make stress hormones, like cortisol. The more stressed you are, the more vitamin C you need. Get vitamin C from citrus, bell peppers, strawberries, and tomatoes.
Besides these foods, getting outside, walking, spending time in nature, and doing something you love every day are keys to improving your mood. If you’d like to consider some supplements to boost your mental and physical health, stop by our Wellness aisles for some helpful options.
Here’s a bonus tip—to give yourself a quick mood boost, take deep breaths. When we’re stressed, anxious, or feeling sad, we tend to breathe shallowly. Deep breaths that fill your lungs and expand your abdomen increase neurochemical production in the brain and release more of the ones that elevate moods and control pain.
We hope these tips bring more happiness and good health to your life—you deserve it!