Are deadlines at work making you feel agitated? Are you unable to finish your to-do list? Do you feel exhausted after a long day at work? Day-to-day stress can cause many problems including mood swings, tiredness and exhaustion. There are different coping techniques to help ward off the blues and make you feel calmer, such as chatting up close friends, listening to music, and eating “good mood” food. Food is closely responsible for your mood; everything we consume effects our body and mental state in some way. Think about your morning coffee – we are programmed to use food and drink to kick start our day, so we can also tap into this philosophy of using food to change our mood and help fix our external stress factors. One of the main problems facing our society is the tendency to eat unhealthy and ultra-processed foods such as French fries and ice cream to help boost our mood when we are tired – they taste amazing initially but will only provide a temporary boost. We have listed seven foods that improve your mood below:
1- Fish and fish oil:
Fish contains Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Fatty acids modify dopamine (which helps control the brain’s reward centre) and serotonin (neurotransmitter that is responsible for health and wellbeing) which makes it a mood boosting nutrient (TIME, 2015).
According to a study, published by Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health people who ate fish had 17% lower risk of depression as compared to people who did not eat fish. The American Heart Association recommends a dosage of at least twice a week . So start adding this lean protein into your daily diet to reap its health benefits.
2- All types of nuts:
Raw nuts are packed with antioxidants and healthy fats. They are an excellent food packed with nutrients vital to reducing stress. Regular intake of nuts increases serotonin (the antidepressant hormone), which helps reduce anxiety. Next time you’re feeling cranky try having some nuts!
3- The Leafy Greens:
Greens are a plant-based mood booster that have tremendous nutritional value. In particular, spinach contains Vitamin B and helps increase dopamine production (Natural Food Series, 2018). Other plant based mood boosters include kale, chard and bok choy.
There are two mood boosting types of berries – wild berries and strawberries. Wild berries are flavonoid rich foods that are loaded with antioxidants that prohibit the oxidation of other molecules in the body. If you want to activate brain pathways, then berries help in improving cognition and reduce cellular aging (The Washington Post, 2017). Another mouth-watering berry is strawberry which is rich in Vitamin A, C and manganese which can help against brain degeneration while inducing good mood (Dr. Axe, 2018).
5- Pumpkin Seeds:
They say that good things come in small packages and this cannot get much truer for pumpkin seeds which are a rich source of antioxidants, healthy fats, iron, zinc, magnesium and many other nutrients (Health Line, 2018).
6- Caffeine in Moderation
Caffeine has been found to trigger the release of brain chemicals such as dopamine, which is important for performance and mood. A study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research in 2016, for instance, analyzed 12 previously published studies and concluded that coffee consumption (and to a lesser extent, tea) had a protective effect on the risk of depression.
In the study above, the intake that had the greatest effect was 400 mL of coffee (approximately 1 2/3 cups) per day.
Caffeine affects everyone differently, so if coffee makes you jittery, irritable, sad, sleepless, or brings on other adverse effects, avoid drinking it (opting for caffeine-free beverages like rooibos tea) or choose lower-caffeine beverages like black tea or green tea.
Another option is chai. An Indian tea made with black tea plus the addition of spices such as cardamom and cinnamon, chai’s spices add a natural sweetness to the tea, which may help you cut back on sugar and sweeteners.
7- Foods high in Vitamin D
Known as the sunshine vitamin, this nutrient is made naturally in the body when skin is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. In the past few years, research has suggested that vitamin D may increase the levels of serotonin, one of the key neurotransmitters influencing our mood, and that deficiency may be linked with mood disorders, particularly seasonal affective disorder.
In addition, preliminary research suggests that vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for depression in older adults.
Some people are at greater risk for a vitamin D deficiency. Darker skin, for instance, has more melanin, a substance that blocks ultraviolet rays. Working indoors during the day, living further from the equator, or being in an area with greater air pollution also increase your risk of vitamin D deficiency.
If you feel persistent bouts of blues, the problem could be much serious. Then , you need to consult your doctor right away. You can find and book an appointment with a top psychiatrist in Lahore, Multan and Islamabad through oladoc.com. You can also call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your health concerns.