Food and Mood
Food and mood are inextricably linked.
Some of our warmest memories are of meals spent with loved ones.
One bite of your mom’s blueberry pie can bring back a flood of memories.
It just goes to show that food can have profound effects on your moods.
We are complete- physically and mentally – when we eat delicious good food.
While there are plenty of foods that bring us short term contentment or pleasure…
A lot of them bring guilt, remorse and love handles.
The majority of what we eat should contribute to our long term health and happiness. And there are plenty of foods that are proven to have substantial emotional health benefits.
Aside from the purely emotional satisfaction of food, there are ways it can boost your mood by changing your body chemistry:
- Increase serotonin levels – Foods containing serotonin and tryptophan help raise levels of this neurotransmitter that is essentially your “happiness chemical”.
- Produce endorphins – Just smelling certain foods can increase the endorphins in your body. chocolate, hot peppers
- Produce dopamine – Did you ever feel great after eating a certain meal? There are certain foods that you just feel good. That’s because they stimulate dopamine, the “reward” chemical.
- Fix dietary deficiencies associated with anxiety or depression – Many cases of emotional disorder are directly linked to certain nutritional deficits in your diet. Eating the right foods can greatly help.
Here is a list of the essential nutrients needed for good emotional health and the delicious foods that contain them.
A lack of B vitamins – especially B12 – Is highly correlated to depression. Eat: Sardines Mussels, Beef, Beef Liver, Tuna, Cottage Cheese.
We all know that eating carbs makes you feel great. There’s a chemical reason for that. Carbs promote serotonin production. Just be smart. You know the drill. Eat: Good Quality Complex Carbohydrates – Oats, Whole Grains, Brown Rice, Lentils and Beans.
Tryptophan is the building block of serotonin. Eat: Turkey, Chicken, Fish, Cottage Cheese, Eggs, Nuts and Beans.
These fatty acids are essential for proper brain function – including synthesizing neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Eat: Sardines, Salmon, Anchovies, Herring, Flax Seeds, Chia Seeds, Walnuts, Tofu, Dry Roasted Soybeans.
It is the happiness molecule. If you don’t have enough, you are sad. As simple as that. Eat: Plum and Cherry Tomatoes, Pineapple, Kiwis, Sour Cherries, Walnuts. Drink Green Tea.
Some special foods stimulate the production of feel-good endorphins. Eat: Pumpkin seeds, Bananas, Avocados, Sesame Seeds, Dark Chocolate (at least 70%) and Hot peppers. Many companies make chocolate combined with hot pepper!
A deficiency in D is a main culprit in depression or bi-polar disorders. Eat: Sardines, Salmon, Beef Liver, Grass-fed Cheese, Pasture-raised eggs.
Women are especially prone to a deficiency in folate (folic Acid) Eat: Spinach, Kale, Romaine Lettuce, Lentils and Garbanzo Beans (Hummus).
Another essential nutrient for mental and emotional well being. Eat: Brazil Nuts, Oatmeal, Brown Rice, Beans, Lentils and Sardines.
Probiotics and Prebiotic Fiber
90% of the serotonin in your body resides in your gut. The influence of your intestinal flora over your moods is becoming more and more evident. Eat: Yogurt, Fresh Saurkraut, Fresh Pickles, Kimchi, Kombucha, Miso, Netto, Tiger Nuts, Sunchokes, Dandelion Greens, Onions.
And The Winners Are……
These foods are packed with the most nutrients that promote emotional well being. Make sure to include them in diet along with plenty of leafy greens and fruits.
Sardines – B12, tryptophan, selenium, omega 3’s, Vitamin D
Grass-Fed Beef/Beef liver – B12, Vitamin D, tryptophan
Cottage Cheese – Tryptophan, Vitamin D, B12
Lentils – Good Carbs, Folate, Selenium, Tryptophan
Also, check out our “feel good” recipes that include many of the best mood foods.
Breakfast: Cottage Cheese, Chia seeds, Pineapple, walnuts, oatmeal, cocoa powder
Lunch: Ceasar Salad with anchovies, Spinach omelet
Dinner: Grass-fed roast beef, lentils and brown rice, dandelion greens
Snack: Hummus with whole wheat pita. Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, bananas