Does what we eat really affect our mood?

When we received a call or message from a loved one we usually feel happy or excited. A breakup may cause us to feel sad, or someone running into the back of our car by accident might cause us to feel upset. We know that events, people, situations, stress, and our environment affect our moods daily. But do we know if what we eat plays a role in whether or not we are happy, sad, upset, or even sexually aroused?
Eating ice cream, cookies, brownies, chips and dip, and other snacks are tasty to eat, but should only be eaten once in a while. These foods should be eaten in moderation because of their high sugar, fat, and salt contents. If we consume these foods daily, we would not only be at risk for various diseases such as diabetes, the risk of becoming obese, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, but we would feel the effects of these foods in the way our body functions daily. We might feel tired all the time, unable to focus properly, easily angered, and in a generally not good mood.
We need to try to incorporate variety into our diets. You don’t have to eat only fruits and vegetables every day to have a healthy diet and be in a good mood. There are several foods that research suggests improves our mood and those that can be more likely to cause us to have less energy. Four (4) of these foods include:

1) Fruits

Eating more fruits and vegetables in general has been found to lower the risk of getting depression or feeling depressed. Two of the fruits we will mention today are bananas, and berries.
Besides sometimes being naturally shaped like a smile, and being a good source of potassium, which is needed to help maintain a healthy heart and blood pressure; bananas are good sources of vitamin B-6, fiber, and natural sugars. These three select components of a banana, work together to maintain the body’s blood sugar levels and stabilize our mood. Sufficient doses of Vitamin B-6, have been found to increase your chance of being in a good mood, by synthesizing the feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain, i.e serotonin (the feel-good hormone) and dopamine (pleasure hormone). Try making a banana smoothie with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg. You won’t be disappointed!
Berries are rich in antioxidants that are necessary for protecting the body against oxidative stress caused by activities or processes such as excessive exercise, tissue, trauma, environmental pollution, and exposure to chemicals. They can assist in fighting diseases and reducing symptoms of depression. Add some strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries to your smoothie, oats, cereal, or yogurt daily to increase your antioxidant intake!

2) Omega-3 Fatty acids 

Eating foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids have been found to be associated with mood, behavior, impulse control, and brain development. A diet that includes a daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids, could increase your mood and lessen the possibility of you feeling sad or developing depression or another mood disorder. Try incorporating more omega-3 fatty acid-enriched foods into your diets, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, soybeans, and supplements like vitamins and tablets that contain omega-3 fatty acids. 

3) Nuts and seeds

Many different nuts and seeds, such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds contain nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, folate, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids (yes this again), antioxidants, and natural sources of serotonin. The combination of all of these components in nuts and seeds is said to help decrease negative feelings such as feeling depressed, anxious, stressed, and irritable; and boost your mood and increase your focus and memory retention. 

4) Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate, unlike its equally tempting counterpart, milk chocolate, does not contain as much added sugar and fat. Dark chocolate is said to be rich in the mood-boosting compounds such as caffeine, theobromine, and N-acylethanolamine, which is a substance that is chemically similar to cannabinoids (linked to improved mood). Whenever you’re feeling a little down, have a small piece of dark chocolate to increase your good feelings, and release any tension you might have
The food we eat directly plays an impact on our mood. It can affect the amount of energy we have, versus how tired we feel, and it can affect how happy or depressed we might be feeling. Try your best to aim for a balanced diet and eat foods in moderation. Switch up your eating schedule a little bit and eat some of the foods suggested above. You can mix some nuts, seeds, and fruits in a smoothie as a snack, try a salmon and potato recipe for lunch, or snack on a piece of dark chocolate with nuts and plain yogurt for dessert! Make eating healthy and boosting your mood fun!
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