Serotonin (the feel-good hormone) is essential to promote happy moods, improve feelings of well-being and stabilize your emotions. Although there are medications that increase serotonin production, there are foods that help increase production of serotonin, which can improve your mood. There are other neurotransmitters that may have an effect on your mood. Lets take a look at foods that contain 6 different nutrients that can improve your mood.
Vitamin B: these vitamins can help stabilize your moods and ease anxiety. When your stress levels go up, it becomes more difficult for your body to keep up with the production of serotonin. Adding foods rich in B vitamins can help you fight stress and improve your mood. Try eating more nuts, seeds, brown rice, beans, and animal proteins.
Folic acid: low levels of folic acid have been linked to depression due to decrease in serotonin levels. Try to add some dark leafy greens like spinach and kale or an orange.
Choline: Choline is concentrated in higher cholesterol foods like egg yolk and liver. A lack of this nutrient can cause impairment of memory and concentration, leading to irritability. Enjoy an egg a day!
Tryptophan (an amino acid): Tryptophan can help stabilize mood and promote healthy, restful sleep. Tryptophan is also necessary for the body to produce serotonin. Foods such as eggs, nuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and fish.
Omega-3 Rich Foods: This essential fatty acid can boost brain health and mood as well as fight depression. Fatty fish such as salmon are the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, but you can also find them in flax seed, chia seed, and walnuts.
Selenium (a mineral): low selenium levels may attribute to bad mood. People with diets low in selenium have been shown to be more anxious, irritable, hostile and depressed. Good foods to find a dose of selenium are tuna, salmon, sunflower seeds and whole grains.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D regulates your body’s usage and production of serotonin, dopamine and hormones. The best way to get your daily dosage of vitamin D is through a combination of food and sun. Foods rich in vitamin D includes fortified milk and orange juice, sardines, liver and liver oils. You should check your vitamin D levels annually and may need to supplement when levels are very low. Check with your provider or dietitian for correct dosage.
Caffeine: a cup of coffee/tea per day can be an effective antidepressant to treat mild depression. However, too much caffeine can make you nervous, irritable and oversensitive, bring on headaches, and also lead to an addiction or cause dehydration if not drinking enough water.
Try some chocolate: chocolate is a mild source of caffeine, which also has flavonoids that is considered to have antioxidant properties. So, indulge yourself in a small piece of chocolate once in awhile.