Diet plays an important role in health. A Balanced diet can give a feeling of energy throughout the day and also balance mood, says Jyoti Bhatt, dietitian at Jaslok Hospital and Research Center.
“Food plays a major role in balance our different moods – either happy, sad, angry, depressed or anxious. Researchers have studied few foods and nutrients that may be associated with brain health, ”she adds.
As such, it lists a few foods and nutrients that play a role in improving mood.
1. Dark chocolate: Cocoa is rich in tryptophan which is used by our brains to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is a key hormone that helps stabilize our mood.
2. Green tea: Known to help with weight loss and reduce inflammation, green tea is also loaded with antioxidants like catechin (EGCG), which help boost brain function. It also helps a person feel alert – thanks to its caffeine content – while improving memory.
3. Pepper: Packed with vitamins A and B6, it’s an essential nutrient for brain development and function, and it also helps the body make the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine (which influence mood).
4. Foods rich in omega-3: Omega-3s help control heart disease, promote weight loss, and also have antioxidant properties. It is also known to reduce depression and other mental and behavioral disorders. Salmon, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts are some of the well known sources.
5. Fermented foods: Fermented foods are important for maintain gut health because they are rich in probiotic bacteria. Foods like kimchi, buttermilk, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, pickled vegetables, kefir, yogurt are a rich source of probiotics. These foods are important for improving mood because serotonin (the hormone of happiness) is produced in the gut.
6. Nuts: Nuts are the richest sources of many vitamins, minerals, magnesium and also have antioxidant properties. They are just as important to keep our mood boosted. Low levels of magnesium can lead to an increased risk of depression.
7. Green leafy vegetables: Spinach and methi contain vitamin B folate, a deficiency of which can hinder the metabolism of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine (neurotransmitters important for mood). More studies are needed to understand the exact role of folate in mental health.
8. Caffeine: Caffeine helps improve performance and mood by triggering the release of dopamine, a brain chemical. Caffeine can work differently for each individual, so if Coffee makes you irritable, sad, sleepless or brings other unwanted effects, avoid drinking it. Drink caffeinated drinks or choose drinks that are low in caffeine like black tea or green tea.
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