Do you believe in Food for thought? Growing research shows that making simple changes in what you eat daily can significantly boost your mood and improve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
In a recent clinical observational study known as The SMILES Trial, researchers split nearly 70 people-all diagnosed with clinical depression who were following poor dietary patterns, into two separate groups.
- The first group received no form of therapy but switched to a healthy, Mediterranean-style diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, low-fat dairy, fish, eggs, seeds and nuts.
- The second group met regularly with a support group and continued to chow down on sweets, processed deli meats and salty snacks.
After an observatory period of three months, the healthy eaters showed fewer symptoms of clinical depression than the second group. More than a third of them showed zero signs of clinical depression!
Keep reading this blog if you want to enhance and boost your mood by switching to healthy eating habits. Here are seven foods that boost mood and have shown to help ease stress, relieve anxiety and even help battle depression. Try them and feel the difference yourself!
Finally, science has confirmed what many of us wanted to believe: Chocolate does make you happier! In a study done at the Nestlé Research Center in Switzerland, researchers found that eating a little dark chocolate (1.4 ounces of it, to be exact) every day for two weeks reduced cortisol and other stress hormones in people were under high pressure.
According to the experts, it could be the miracle work of the antioxidants found in dark chocolate. After this green light, go ahead and indulge in your favourite dark chocolate.
Don’t forget to burn the 200-plus calories in that tasty chunk of chocolate- or you may soon start stressing over extra pounds.
Great news for worrywarts: Eating fatty fishes such as salmon, mackerel, tuna & herring can help lower anxiety, research shows. What do the experts say? According to them, it’s because of their omega-3 fatty acids, a key mood-boosting nutrient and one our bodies don’t produce internally.
Omega-3s alter brain chemicals linked with mood, specifically dopamine and serotonin. In one randomized, controlled study, medical students who took omega-3 supplements before an exam experienced reduced anxiety symptoms by as much as 20 per cent! Now you know what your pre-exam ritual is!
3. Green Tea
Other than making you feel fancy while you sip tea from a Victorian cup, Green tea also has soothing tendencies. Having a bad day? Drink a cup of green tea to calm your nerves and lift your mood. With a plethora of options available now, you can pick and choose your favourite flavoured or organic green tea and reap its benefits.
According to a Japanese study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, drinking two to three cups of green tea a day was linked to reduced depression symptoms in elderly people. This may be since green tea contains several mood-boosting nutrients, including L-theanine, an amino acid that helps control anxiety.
Green tea also has some caffeine enough for a pick-me-up when you’re feeling low, but not enough to give you the jitters.
Oysters may be popular as an aphrodisiac, but their mood-boosting abilities go well beyond the bedroom. They are high in zinc content, a nutrient that helps ease anxiety. Zinc also improves sleep quality, which is essential for staying on an even keel.
Bonus: Once you get the hang of it, eating oysters can be fun and great mood-enhancing food by itself. If you are not into seafood, get your zinc fix from eating cashews, eggs, liver or beef!
If you are a berry lover, this is going to be a treat for you! With more antioxidants than any other fruit, blueberries deliver a bushel of brain-boosting benefits. All thanks to a type of antioxidant called flavonoids, blueberries help regulate mood, improve memory and protect the brain from untimely ageing.
What more? One recent study suggests that the anti-inflammatory chemicals in blueberries may help treat PTSD and other mental health troubles.
6. Spinach & Other Leafy Greens
Did you know that nearly half of all Indians don’t get enough magnesium content? Magnesium is a mineral that can help reduce anxiety. Dark leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard are loaded with it-so eating them is an easy way to get your daily vegetables, increase vitamin C intake and boost your brain health, too. More good sources include beans and lentils, almonds and avocados.
7. Yogurt & Other Probiotics
Next on the list of foods that elevate mood is fermented goods! There are lots of buzzes these days about probiotics-fermented foods like yoghurt, kimchi and sauerkraut that help keep your gut bacteria in check. Recent studies in both animals and humans suggest links between balanced gut bacteria and better mood, less stress and anxiety, and lower risk of depression.
Still, some experts caution that it’s too soon to tell for sure. A recent review of 10 small but solid studies found that eating probiotics for depression and anxiety seemed to help some folks, but not others. The bottom line? Slurping a refreshing yoghurt smoothie now and then won’t hurt your mood!
While almost all of the above-mentioned foods can be directly eaten, you can also incorporate them into yummilicious dishes!