First a note on the Saffron post: If you read the post before I wrote a comment, go back to it, and read my comment; it has to do with a benefit regarding macular edema.
Back to today’s post.
We spend a lot of time chasing happiness. We try new things to improve our mental health like therapy, new exercise routines and meditation.
When we think about things that make us happy, our diet isn’t usually at the top of the list. However, the foods we eat play a major role in how we feal. Studies linking nutrition and mental well-being have emerged in the past decade, and certain foods are associated with increased serotonin in our brains. Serotonin, also known as the “happy hormone” is a chemical that plays an important role in regulating our mood. Low serotonin levels can cause mood instability.
7 foods that make you happy, according to science
Here are our favorite foods that make you happy.
- Dark chocolate
A systematic review found that dark chocolate can positively affect one’s mood. There are three main components found in chocolate that are associated with the feeling of happiness: tryptophan, theobromine and phenylethyl alanine. Tryptophan is an amino acid the brain uses to produce serotonin. Theobromine is a weak stimulant that can improve your mood. And phenylethyl alanine is another amino acid used by the body to produce dopamine, which acts as an antidepressant.
If there were ever such a thing as “good mood food” bananas are probably it. Although bananas contain serotonin, it is unable to cross the blood-brain barrier and make its way to the brain. But bananas can play a crucial role in regulating your mood in a more indirect way. Your body needs vitamin B6 to create serotonin, and bananas are especially rich in this nutrient.
If you’ve got the winter blues and are dreaming of warmer days, coconut may transport your taste buds and mood to a tropical state of mind. Coconut is loaded with medium-chain triglycerides, which can help boost your energy. Another reason coconut is considered mood food is that a 2017 animal study found that MCTs from coconut milk may reduce anxiety. More research is needed to fully understand the link between anxiety and coconut in humans.
A 2016 study concluded that coffee consumption is significantly associated with decreased risk of depression. Another study concluded that coffee, both caffeinated and decaffeinated, significantly improved the subject’s mood compared to those who ingested a placebo drink.
Remember not to overdo it: Caffeine.
This smooth and creamy fruit is packed with nutrients including choline, which your body uses to regulate your nervous system and mood. A 2020 study found that the healthy fats in avocados are associated with decreased anxiety in women. Another great reason to consume more avocados is that they are rich in vitamin B, which has been linked to lower stress levels.
Did you know that consuming more fruit is also associated with better mental health? A 2016 study found that fruit and vegetable intake was highly associated with improved mental health. Berries are rich in antioxidants, also known as flavonoids, which may reduce depression symptoms. Another study where subjects were given blueberry juice, showed promising results that linked blueberry intake with slower cognitive decline that’s associated with aging.
My suggestion is not to overdue fruit consumption. Fructose is a very bad sugar that is metabolized like alcohol.
- Fermented foods
Foods that go through a fermentation process like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kombucha and yogurt help you maintain a healthy gut and may help improve your mood. The fermentation process creates probiotics, which in turn, support healthy bacteria in your gut. Now, what does your gut have anything to do with your mood? A lot. Up to 90% of serotonin produced by your body is created from gut cells. So, eating fermented foods promises better serotonin production.
That’s it for now my friends; see you all the next time.