We all know the importance of eating lots of fruits and vegetables to help maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle. But did you know a good diet not only affects your physical health, but also your mental health. Certain foods you eat can alter your mood.  Healthier foods can help to improve your overall mood. On the other hand, when you reach for salty snacks, desserts and heavy comfort foods that might be filled with excessive sugars and starch, your mood may temporarily be elevated but you will likely experience a crash shortly after, your energy levels will drop and your mood might as well.

A great way to promote a good mood through food, is to eat a well balanced diet. Try to practice eating more of the foods below for a more positive mood! 

Protein

Adding protein to your meals can help slow the absorption of carbohydrates in your blood and increase the release of dopamine and norepinephrine, which may improve your mood and energy for several hours after eating. Try adding these smart protein choices to your diet:

  • eggs
  • poultry
  • seafood
  • tofu
  • low-fat Greek yogurt

Vitamins

There are a few specific vitamins that may be helpful for mood. For example, vitamin D may help relieve mood disorders, such as seasonal affective disorder. Sunlight, before sunscreen application, is often the best source. To get your daily dose of vitamin D, you can also try the following foods. Many doctors recommend adding a multivitamin that contains vitamin D as well.

  • low-fat milk
  • egg yolks
  • soy milk

The vitamins folate and B-12 may help ease depression. To add folate to your diet, try these foods:

  • broccoli
  • lentils
  • oatmeal
  • oranges
  • dark leafy greens

Vitamin B-12 can be found in:

  • cottage cheese
  • lean beef
  • salmon

Fiber

Foods like complex carbohydrates, that contain soluble fiber can slow the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream and increase serotonin, the “feel good” chemical, both of which decrease mood swings. You can find healthy amounts of fiber in:

  • oats
  • beans
  • pears
  • peas
  • brussels sprouts

 

Sources: health.harvard.edu, healthline.com