7 Foods that Improve Your Mood
The foods you eat not only determine how you look, but also affect your thoughts, emotions and actions. Some foods can even improve your mood.
Many of the foods you eat might unbalance your nervous system, causing bad moods, tiredness, anxiety and depression as a consequence.
So, if you’ve noticed that you’re always in a bad mood or you feel upset, try the following foods to improve your mood. This is a healthier, cheaper and simpler option than using medication.
Just bear in mind that if your emotions don’t stabilize, it is a good idea to visit a psychologist. Sometimes our problems aren’t related to what we eat, but rather to the people around us and the situations we are going through.
1. Cacao or dark chocolate
The first of these foods that improve your mood is cacao. It has the effect of stimulating happiness thanks to theobromine. This chemical helps to:
- Increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the body,
- Relax the nervous system,
- Reduce states of anxiety and depression.
Cacao also contains tryptophan, a chemical that promotes the secretion of serotonin. Thanks to all its benefits, we recommend eating a little bar of dark chocolate or cacao every day to improve states of depression and anxiety.
The only thing to watch out for is to make sure that the chocolate you choose has a high cacao content, ideally above 65%.
The second food that improves your mood is walnuts. They give your body omega 3 fatty acids, which it doesn’t produce by itself.
When your body doesn’t get enough omega 3, it tends to go into depressive states.
Walnuts also contain tryptophan, which we talked about above.
- We recommend eating 5 walnuts a day to maintain a stable mood.
- Remember that you can add them to your smoothies and desserts or simply eat them as a side.
Bananas are another food that improves your mood and that you should include in your daily diet, or eat at least twice a week.
Their emotional benefits are due to their high vitamin B6 content. This vitamin is involved in the process of transforming the protein compounds of serotonin.
Also, thanks to their folic acid, vitamin C and vegetable fiber content, they improve your defences.
4. Sesame seeds
These seeds are one of the foods that improve your mood because they provide threonine. This is an essential amino acid that the body cannot produce and synthesize for itself naturally.
When you have low levels of threonine, you can experience chronic sadness.
- To obtain this nutrient we recommend you include a teaspoon of sesame seeds in your salads or use sesame oil in your meals.
5. Salmon and other fish
Another food that improves your mood because it is rich in omega 3 fatty acids is fish, especially salmon, tuna and sardines.
Omega 3 fatty acids directly affect the efficiency of the movement of certain neurotransmitters, and so a deficiency can cause depressive states.
- It’s recommended to include at least one portion of these kinds of fish in your weekly diet.
- If possible, include them around three times a week, accompanied by vegetables.
Ensure that the fish you buy is of good quality and is free of pollutants.
This is especially important with salmon, because some species sourced from fish farms are fed with chemicals that could affect your mood.
If you choose to eat tuna, try to choose options with natural chunks. Although it is very cheap to eat canned tuna, it contains high levels of salt and chemicals.
6. Foods rich in fiber
Foods rich in soluble fiber help change your mood when your emotions are due to changes in your blood sugar levels. If you’re diabetic, fiber can help control your blood sugar levels.
Remember that high glucose not only affects the functioning of your internal organs; it will also make you experience a range of negative emotions in a matter of minutes.
When you feel that this is happening, check your glucose levels to determine whether this is the problem.
We recommend you read: 5 Delicious Vegan Smoothies that are Rich in Vegetable Protein and Fiber
7. Lean red meats
The last of the foods that can improve your mood is lean meats. They’re rich in linoleic acid, a natural fat that helps fight stress and the accumulation of fat in the body.
These meats also provide iron and omega 3, which both help improve brain health.
- To really get these benefits, it is important to cook these meats with the least quantity of salt and fats possible.
A smoothie to improve your mood
A simple way of including the foods that improve your mood in your diet is through smoothies. The only thing you need to watch out for is not to overdo the quantities because it’s very easy to create glucose peaks.
Try out this option, you’ll discover that it is delicious and very simple.
- 1 cup of skimmed milk (250 ml)
- 1/2 banana
- 5 walnuts
- 1 teaspoon of cacao or a piece of dark chocolate (5 g)
- Blend all the ingredients until you have a uniform mix and drink immediately.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Richard, D. M., Dawes, M. A., Mathias, C. W., Acheson, A., Hill-Kapturczak, N., & Dougherty, D. M. (2009). L-tryptophan: Basic metabolic functions, behavioral research and therapeutic indications. International Journal of Tryptophan Research. https://doi.org/10.2964/jsik.kuni0223
- Smit, H. J. (2011). Theobromine and the pharmacology of cocoa. Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-13443-2_7
- Covington, M. B. (2004, July 1). Omega-3 fatty acids. American Family Physician. https://doi.org/10.1108/nfs.2007.01737aab.014
- Podlogar, J., & Smollich, M. (2018). Vitamin B6. Deutsche Apotheker Zeitung, 158(17). https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-802965-7.00014-9