The amount of sunlight we see and how active we are can change drastically in the colder months, affecting our mood and mental health. Even if you aren’t someone who experiences seasonal depression every year, this list of foods can help set your mood right on any day that you’re feeling down.
With winter approaching, the days are getting shorter and many people start to experience low energy and bad moods. Whether you are affected by the seasonal change, have a stressful time at work or university, or just want to boost your mood a little – here are some foods that can actually help you feel better!
It is generally advisable to eat regular and well-balanced meals. If blood sugar levels consistently get out of control, it might result in hormonal imbalances that can lead to mood swings or generally feeling off. You should make sure that your vitamin intake is sufficient as they are important for cell metabolism. B vitamins, especially, are linked to serotonin production, so a depletion in those vitamins can result in a lack of the ‘happy-hormone’ which in turn can lead to feeling down.
It is generally known that eating chocolate makes us happy. And it’s true, the darker the chocolate the better. Dark chocolate or raw cacao nibs are a great way to boost your mood, as they contain antioxidants and compounds that release endorphins in the brain.
Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or even broccoli contain B vitamins and magnesium, which is also very important for a healthy brain. Spinach and kale are great in curries, which is perfect for warming up in the winter!
Salmon is a fatty fish, meaning it has a high content of omega-3 fats. These fatty acids help your nervous system, including your brain, work better. Omega-3 fatty acids are said to have a positive effect on people experiencing anxiety, so think about trying to incorporate more fish into your diet if you often feel anxious. Salmon also contains other, different vitamins, like vitamin D and vitamin B12.
Even though caffeine has a rather adverse effect on boosting your mood, green tea itself can help you feel better and reduce anxiety and stress levels due to its nutrients. Be mindful about its caffeine content, though, and drink it in moderation.
Chia seeds are trending at the moment. In addition to being an easy replacement for eggs in a vegan diet, they contain a lot of good nutrients. Chia seeds are, like salmon, a source for omega-3 fats that can be hard to receive from a plant-based diet. Moreover, these little seeds are full of other nutrients and health benefits: fiber for good digestion, calcium and iron for healthy skin and bones, and magnesium for healthy muscles.
Pulses are great for your health and very versatile in the kitchen. A hearty soup, an Indian daal, a salad – everything is possible. Lentils have high contents of fibre and protein, which is important for a well-balanced diet. They contain the important vitamins B6 and B9 that help release neurotransmitters for a mood-boost.
It is incredibly important to stay hydrated. Headaches, dry skin and low concentration are just some issues we face when we do not drink enough water. But dehydration can also severely affect the mood. It is not completely known whether neurons recognize mild dehydration or if this is due to blood flow being less effective, but the bottom line is always to drink enough water throughout the day.
So, if you feel a little down, take some time to cook up a nice meal and think of this little selection of feel-good foods. Hopefully they will help boost your mood and you’ll be on your way to feeling better!
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