Serotonin is a brain chemical that is known to impact your mood. Keeping levels in balance can help promote a feeling of calm, well-being, mental alertness, control and an increased ability to deal with stress. Since diet can influence our supply of serotonin, Samir Becic and Health Fitness Revolution has made a list of top 10 Mood Boosting Foods:
- Nuts and Seeds: researchers from the University of Barcelona found that men and women eating almonds, walnuts and Brazil nuts had higher levels of serotonin metabolites. In addition, just one ounce of mixed nuts a day may also help reduce obesity, blood pressure and blood sugar.
- Greek yogurt: This dairy pick is packed with more calcium than you’ll find in milk or regular yogurt, and it can make you happy, too. Proper calcium levels give the “Go” command, alerting your body to release feel-good neurotransmitters.
- Ocean-going cold water fish: such as salmon and mercury-free tuna contain omega-3 fatty acids which can help improve depression symptoms. A past study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that volunteers with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood had fewer depression symptoms and a more positive outlook.
- Flaxseed: another great source of omega-3 fatty acids. They also are rich in magnesium and B-vitamins, nutrients that help us combat stress.
- Soy isoflavones: help with mood and mental function. These foods are also rich sources of vegetarian (no-cholesterol) protein which may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease as well. Add soy foods such as tofu, tempeh, miso, and soy milk to your daily diet.
- Avocado: rich in omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, antioxidants, and potassium.
- Asparagus: This vegetable is one of the top plant-based sources of tryptophan, which serves as a basis for the creation of serotonin, one of the brain’s primary mood-regulating neurotransmitters. High levels of folate also add to asparagus’ happiness-promoting profile because research has shown that up to 50 percent of people with depression suffer from low folate levels.
- Dark chocolate: which contains an antioxidant known as resveratrol. This nutrient can help boost brain levels of endorphins and serotonin, helping to improve your mood. The recommended dose is one ounce per day (not the whole bag!)
- DHA: is a particular form of omega-3 fatty acid that can be found in many foods. But including organic DHA-fortified eggs in the diet will also provide a good source of protein and tryptophan. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that when people eat eggs for breakfast, they feel more satisfied and therefore consume fewer calories throughout the day compared to a high-carbohydrate breakfast, such as a bagel.
- Mussels: loaded with some of the highest naturally occurring levels of brain-protecting vitamin B12 on the planet. That makes it an important food source, considering that a significant portion of the U.S. population is B12 deficient. Maintaining healthy B12 levels preserves the myelin sheath that insulates your brain cells, helping your brain stay sharp as you grow older. Mussels also contain trace nutrients that are important to balancing your mood, including zinc, iodine, and selenium, things vital to keeping your thyroid, your body’s master mood regulator, on track.
With a mood-boosting diet change, don’t forget to include exercise as well. Regular exercise can be as effective for depression treatment as antidepressant medication or psychotherapy. Just getting out for 30 minutes can have a huge impact on your outlook for the rest of the day.
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