Is it real that food can improve your mood? Is there any specific food or drink you can choose to put you on a good mood or reduce depression?
You can't say that food can remove your depression but it can be a part of a treatment plan. Researches have revealed that food can, in some way, affect your mood. Actually, we have only some clues but not the whole fact. And we are going to discuss these clues in this article.
Firstly, you have to know how food affects our mood. It's all about chemicals inside our brains. What we feel is actually the action of some chemicals inside our brain. So, when food enters our bodies, it turns into various amounts of chemicals by different mechanisms. Then, our brain can use these chemicals to do his job.
So how can you adjust your diet if you want a better mood? Here you are some great suggestions to achieve this. My advice is to follow these suggestions even if it doesn't affect your mood, because they have many benefits to your health as general.
1) You have to eat regularly:
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When you don't eat regularly, your blood sugar level drops and this can cause you irritability and depression. By eating regularly and choosing slow-release energy food, you can keep up your blood sugar level. Also eating too much is bad for your gut, so that it is bad for your mood. One of the convenient ways to prepare food is the use of a halogen oven, which is an energy-saving and healthy option than a conventional oven
Slow-release energy foods include: pasta, rice, oats, wholegrain bread and cereals, nuts and seeds.
2) Exercise and lose weight
A lot of studies show that physical activity has a great impact on mood. Also, losing weight can improve your mood effectively. Obesity is a very important cause for depression. However, scientists advise not to stop eating all kinds of food immediately. This can worsen your mood also. You have to lose weight slowly by eating adequate amounts of healthy food.
3) Increase Carbohydrates
Tryptophan, a non-essential amino acid, is the connection between carbohydrates and mood. The more tryptophan enters inside your brain, the more formation of Serotonin. Serotonin, known as the hormone of happiness, is made from tryptophan.
Here's the idea, tryptophan is found in almost all protein-rich food. Unfortunately, tryptophan has low affinity to enter the brain from bloodstream, due to other amino acids which compete with it to enter the brain. And here comes the role of carbohydrates, carbs seem to eliminate this competition so tryptophan can enter the brain easily. These are magical carbohydrates!
This is how carbohydrates can affect our mood indirectly. However, we have to choose carbohydrates wisely, and this is by choosing carbohydrates which have more additional healthy nutrients such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes.
You may ask: What will happen if I follow a low-carbohydrates diet?
Studies showed that following a low-carbohydrates diet can enhance fatigue and decrease the desire to exercise.
So try to put more carbohydrates in your meals and see the difference yourself.
4) Start a Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet is a very healthy and balanced diet. It is based on eating fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, fish, moderate amount of dairy products and limited amount of red meat. This diet is linked with preventing depression. It provides your body with nutrients and vitamins that studies showed they can reduce the incidence of depression like folate acid and vitamin B12.
5) Always be hydrated
But how can water affect my mood? If you don't drink water, your brain will find it difficult to concentrate or do its work which in turn will worsen your mood. Also, drinking low amount of water will lead to constipation and that of course will leave you with a bad mood.
6) Vitamin D
Vitamin D causes an increase of the Serotonin inside the brains, however scientists still not sure if it works for all individuals (based on where you live, time of year, skin type, level of sun exposure).
Anyway adding food containing vitamin D in your diet will improve your health and mood, too.
Food like Salmon, Cod liver oil, canned Tuna, egg yolks, mushroom, Herring and sardines are rich in vitamin D
7) Watch out your Caffeine
I have no doubt that you know the fact that caffeine can improve your mood. And that's right!
Caffeine is a brain stimulant this means that caffeine provides the brain with energy which helps the brain to work better. The problem is when you take much caffeine through your day if you stop it suddenly you may suffer from withdrawal symptoms, anxiety, and depression. So be careful!
Caffeine is in: coffee, chocolate, tea and cola.
8) Keep your gut healthy
I found it important to mention this fundamental information at the end of the article: 90% of Serotonin receptors are located in the gut. This explains how there is a direct connection between food and mood. There is a relatively new field called Nutritional psychiatry based on this information and other information. The specialists in this field work on informing depressed people how keeping their gut healthy will improve their mood. One from the supporting evidences is when someone is prescribed an antidepressant drug, he complains from gut-related symptoms like nausea and diarrhea. Anatomy and physiology tell us that there is a true connection between gut and your mood through nerves and hormones.
So, try to keep your gut in the best condition by eating healthy food.
Eventually, we can't say that eating specific food will improve your mood, immediately. We say it can be a step in a bigger treatment plan. Also, knowing how our body works and how our mood is affected by different things is essential in treating depression. Now we know that food has many different aspects more than such eating to have fun, food has a role in making us happy or causing us depression.
So, keep up healthy food, keep your gut clean and eat food which makes you happy.