Something that many people do not know about food is that it can change how you feel. Eating a diet that consists solely of processed foods and sugars is going to make you feel very different than if you ate relatively healthy, balanced meals.
Many studies show how food can affect your mood. What you eat can result in changes in your brain structure, which alters your mood.
Food Affects Your Mood
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps stabilize our mood. It affects our mood, drive, and appetite. Think of your body as a car. Without the right fuel, the vehicle will not work correctly. That is the same case with food and our body.
Your brain is like a machine that is working 24/7 without any breaks. What keeps it going is the fuel we call food. Without the right supply of food, the brain will not work efficiently. The gastrointestinal tract has millions of nerve endings, and it is where 95% of the body’s serotonin is produced, hence why food is essential. This is how our gut and our brain are connected.
The good bacteria that make up your intestinal microbiome also affects the neurons. It affects the production of neurotransmitters, including serotonin. The bacteria protects you against the toxins and harmful bacteria, which makes them so useful.
What Foods Support Brain Health?
Now that we know a healthy diet will help our mood, the question is, what foods support brain health? Here are some foods and nutrients you should consider implementing in your diet.
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Our body cannot produce Omega-3 fatty acids on its own. That is why we need to consume it through our diet. Fatty fishes like salmon are abundant in Omega-3s, which are important for brain growth, function, and overall health.
Most adults should get at least 250-500 mg of Omega-3 every day. Adding salmon to your diet may help regulate your mood and improve your overall sense of well-being.
2. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate has many components that will boost your mood. It releases many feel-good compounds that improve your mood. Also, the health-promoting flavonoids found in dark chocolate increase the blood flow to the brain. This can help improve the function of your brain. Substituting milk chocolate with dark chocolate is a simple change to improve your mood and brain health.
The use of probiotics can help regulate your mood and overall cognitive health. Probiotics protect the gut from toxins and other harmful bacteria that can harm us and cause inflammation and other gut-related problems. In short, having a healthier gut can lead to a healthier brain.
The caffeine that is present in coffee promotes alertness and boosts your thinking. Along with that, it increases the production of happy neurotransmitters in our body, such as dopamine. Coffee is a go-to beverage that you can drink anywhere, which makes it a good option when you are feeling low. Coffee will wake you up and reduce stress, putting you in a better mood.
5. Seeds and Nuts
Seeds and nuts are a healthy alternative to processed snacks. They are high in plant-based protein and are full of healthy fats and fiber. In addition to that, they help in the production of serotonin.
Nuts like almonds and Brazilian nuts are good sources of zinc and selenium. Nuts that are higher in zinc, selenium, and tryptophan promote a healthy brain and good mood.
People mostly avoid oats because they think they are bland and boring. However, there are numerous ways to prepare your oats. You can even surf the internet to find the perfect recipe with oats that suits your taste buds.
Oats are an excellent source of fiber and iron which control the release of sugar in the bloodstream for a stable mood, by slowing down the digestion of carbs. Although other whole grains are good sources of fiber too, oats have more iron. Having low iron causes sluggishness, tiredness, and mood swings, which is why you must keep track of your iron.
Focus on A Balanced Diet
It is essential to follow a healthy and balanced diet. To see the benefits, you should try to follow a balanced diet consistently. A diet free of processed food, sugars, and other unhealthy fats can noticeably help improve your mood.
To notice a difference, follow a healthy diet for at least three weeks and keep track of any changes. You can use a mood tracker app to record how you felt during those three weeks. Many people claim to notice a lot of changes in their mood and energy levels when they switch to a healthy and balanced diet.
Switching over to a healthier diet might be difficult at first as you are used to the food you are currently eating, In the long run though, a healthy diet will benefit your overall health, mood, and energy levels.