Winter is coming and for some of us, this means less daylight, low temperatures and probably the flu right around the corner. No question, this also affects our mood and sometimes it’s the little things that make life better. Therefore we’re taking a look at foods that cannot just help stabilize our moods but even improve it, ease anxiety, reduce stress and help fight depression. Of course, this will just be a small ingredient in improving our mood but just like Winston Churchill said: “Man should give his body something nice, so the soul wants to live inside it”.
The basic rule to live by
Before we start with our top list of mood-food, there’s one important thing to know: We should try to minimize our consumption of junk and industrially processed foods as much as possible. They often contain artificial ingredients (e.g. colourants, flavour, texturants), high sugar, refined carbohydrates and trans fats which not just can cause diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer but can also cause mood swings through spikes in our blood sugar. If we follow this rule, we are already doing quite good.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s start with our list of the top 6 foods for a better mood!
Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for keeping our brains healthy. They alter brain chemicals linked with mood and can stabilize our mood and even be a mood-booster. Besides, Omega-3 fatty acids are important for our energy production and heart.
Eggs are high in vitamin B. Vitamin B is important when it comes to converting food into energy. Therefore, eggs are a source of sustainable energy which can last throughout the whole day. Eggs are also a very good source for Selenium which can improve our mood and decrease anxiety as described in the study already conducted in 1991.
We just love avocados… and guacamole 😉 Good thing is that avocados don’t just taste great, they are also high in magnesium which can improve our mood – also when suffering from depression. This was concluded in a study conducted in 2017 and especially applies to people having symptoms of magnesium deficiency.
You might already know this, but choosing whole grain over refined grain is always the right choice. Whole grain is not just better for your body, but also for your brain health. Why? – Because it keeps your blood sugar stable and saves you from energy fluctuations, and so keeps your mood stable.
There are numerous studies showing the effects of coffee on our mood and emotions. According to a meta-analysis conducted in 2016, caffeine can help limit depression. There was also a study in 2015 which concluded that coffee can even make you happy. It gives a boost to your serotonin level, which helps balance your mood and overall outlook. There’s just one little thing we need to consider: We are talking black coffee with eventually just a little sugar and not our caramel macchiato with extra sugar and white chocolate flakes on top. 😉
Cocoa contains very high amounts of so-called polyphenols which positively affect anxiety and enhance calmness (as documented by a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in 2013). But does that mean, that any chocolate or chocolate drink is good for your mood? Unfortunately no, you have to either go for a dark chocolate drink or go for a chocolate with at least 70% of cocoa.
Combine it all! Take a slice of a whole wheat bread and toast it. Now, put smashed avocado, a slice of smoked salmon, a slice of a hard-boiled egg (slightly salted and peppered) and add a little bit of parsley. Enjoy with your choice of coffee or dark chocolate! Just the perfect combo to start your day!