Feeling down? Boost your mood with these 24 superfoods
12/03/2021 / By Joanne Washburn / Comments
Feeling down? Boost your mood with these 24 superfoods

Feeling down? Eating certain superfoods might help. No food is a miracle cure for the blues, but research shows that eating a well-balanced diet featuring plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meat can do wonders for your body. Not only can these foods fill you up and give you energy, but they can also rejuvenate your body and help you feel your best.

The following foods have been shown to boost mood, reduce stress and ease anxious feelings:

  1. Green tea – Green tea is traditionally known to support cognitive function and induce relaxation. Many studies on green tea show that tea constituents, such as caffeine, L-theanine and epigallocatechin gallate, can benefit mood and cognitive performance. Try drinking green tea instead of coffee in the morning.
  2. Red bell pepper – Sweet red bell peppers pack more vitamin C than an orange. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that help reduce stress and fatigue and improve mood in humans. Raw red bell pepper slices make a delicious addition to a raw veggie tray. Whole red bell peppers also taste great right off the grill.
  3. Walnuts – These brain-shaped nuts are some of the richest dietary sources of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that can stabilize your mood and regulate feelings of happiness. You can snack on walnuts as is or add them to your morning cereal, oatmeal, salad and yogurt.
  4. Kefir – Kefir is a fermented milk drink similar to yogurt but is thinner in consistency. According to a study, consuming kefir could increase the production of a chemical messenger called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA produces a calming effect when it attaches to GABA receptors in the brain. This can help with feelings of stress and anxiety. Try mixing kefir into your favorite smoothies or pouring it over your cereal just like you would milk.
  5. Okra – Okra is an excellent source of the magnesium and the essential amino acid, tryptophan. Magnesium can help soothe anxious feelings, while tryptophan is used by the body to create serotonin. If you can’t eat okra on its own, try adding it to hearty stews and soups.
  6. Flaxseed – Flaxseeds contain healthy fats called omega-3 fatty acids, which can help stabilize mood and are effective for mood disorders. Try adding ground flaxseeds to your breakfast cereal. You can also add ground flaxseeds to yogurt and bake them into breads.
  7. Edamame – Edamame beans are essentially immature soybeans. They are incredibly rich in vitamin B9, or folate, providing over 75 percent of your daily folate needs per one-cup serving. Folate helps stabilize mood and shows promise as a treatment of depression. Note that edamame beans are toxic when eaten raw so always cook them. Once cooked, you can eat edamame beans on their own or add them to salads.
  8. Bananas – Bananas are a great pick-me-up snack because they are rich in tryptophan, which the body converts into mood-stabilizing serotonin. Add banana slices to your cereal or oatmeal for a more nutritious breakfast, or mash ripe bananas and use them to replace butter in baked goods.
  9. Dark chocolate – Dark chocolate contains antioxidants called polyphenols. Polyphenols can boost your mood by reducing the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Add some healthy decadence to your breakfast by chopping a square or two of dark chocolate and stirring it into your oatmeal or whole-grain cereal.
  10. Almonds – Like walnuts, almonds are rich in tryptophan, which your body also uses to make melatonin. This hormone helps you sleep better at night. For a tasty, mood-boosting snack, try almonds raw or toasted, or add them to trail mix. You can also add almonds to sweet and savory dishes.
  11. Avocado – Avocados are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and tryptophan – both of which can help uplift your mood naturally. For a more nutritious breakfast, add diced avocado to your scrambled eggs or use pureed avocado as a spread for your toast.
  12. Salmon – Salmon is a great source of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These two omega-3 fatty acids are said to be beneficial for people with mood disorders. Salmon is delicious when baked, broiled, grilled, poached or added to stews and salads.
  13. Spinach – This green leafy vegetable is rich in magnesium, which can increase your serotonin levels and uplift your mood naturally. You can eat spinach raw as part of a salad or stir it into soups and stews.
  14. Sweet potato – Sweet potato is another great natural mood-booster thanks to beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that protects brain cells from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress in the brain has been implicated in depression and other mood disorders. Sweet potatoes can be enjoyed with or without the skin and can be fried, baked, boiled, roasted or steamed.
  15. Raspberries – Raspberries are naturally high in vitamin C, which helps reduce the levels of cortisol and other stress hormones in your blood. Raspberries make a tasty, mood-boosting snack on their own, but you can also add them to cereal, oatmeal and yogurt. You can also add them to your favorite smoothies.
  16. Pistachio – Pistachios are rich in feel-good B vitamins that can boost mood, such as thiamine (vitamin B1), niacin (vitamin B3) and biotin (vitamin B7). According to a 2012 study, pistachios may even help improve your body’s response to the stresses of everyday life. Pistachios are typically enjoyed plain, but they can also be sprinkled over salads, ground into sauces or added to bread dough.
  17. Coffee – Caffeine, the natural stimulant in coffee, can improve your mood and make you feel productive. It is believed to work by blocking the neurotransmitter adenosine’s receptors, thereby increasing excitability in the brain. Make sure to enjoy coffee in moderation to avoid sleep issues.
  18. Asparagus – This stalky vegetable is rich in tryptophan, the precursor to the mood-regulating hormone, serotonin. It also contains high levels of folate and fiber, both of which have been shown to ward off depression-like symptoms. You can enjoy asparagus grilled, roasted or even tossed into a pasta salad.
  19. Red wine – An occasional glass of red wine can help you unwind and let your mind lay off your everyday worries. Experts attribute red wine’s stress-relieving effect to an antioxidant called resveratrol.
  20. Figs – Figs are a good source of mood-boosting magnesium. The best way to enjoy figs is to eat them raw with their skin and seeds intact. Just remove the stem and take a bite out of the raw fig.
  21. Egg – Eggs are a great mood-boosting food to add to your diet. They are high in the nutrient choline, which helps in producing serotonin, dopamine and other neurotransmitters that regulate mood. Eggs are also rich in other nutrients that help ease anxiety, such as omega-3 fatty acids and zinc. As one of the most versatile ingredients in the kitchen, eggs can be cooked in different ways, including scrambling, frying and poaching.
  22. Watermelon – Watermelon can also boost mood because it contains vitamin B6, which helps calm nerves. The easiest way to enjoy this fruit is to cut it into wedges and eat it down to the rind.
  23. Orange – Studies suggest that a diet rich in vitamin C can help calm you and put you in a better frame of mind. Luckily, oranges are among the richest dietary sources of vitamin C. The easiest way to eat an orange is to cut it into wedges and suck its juices out. It can also be juiced or added to salads.
  24. Pulses – Beans, peas and lentils are rich in protein and fiber. These two nutrients can help keep your blood sugar levels stable, thereby minimizing blood sugar spikes and dips that could impact your mood. Try using these foods in soups or casseroles for added texture. You can also use them as a substitute for meat.

With plenty of beneficial nutrients and health-promoting properties, these superfoods can naturally uplift your mood and calm anxious feelings. Plus, most of them make tasty snacks and are easy to incorporate into recipes.








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