We all know that being active, getting enough sunshine on our skin, and spending time with our pets can lift our moods. But the food we eat every day also plays a huge impact on our mood as well. The foods we consume matter, so if you’ve been feeling low lately and can’t seem to shake it off, what you put in your grocery cart can make all the difference. Many mood-boosting foods also happen to be superfoods, so they come with a host of health benefits your body will that you for.
The first food on our list is fatty fish, like salmon and tuna. These kinds of fish are very high in omega-3 fatty acids, keeping our heart, as well as our minds, healthy. Casey Means, MD, and a Standford-trained physician and associate editor of the International Journal of Disease Reversal and Prevention explains, “The abundance of omega-3 fatty acids in fish like salmon and albacore tuna may contribute to improved mood and mitigation of depression through the impact of omega-3 fats as anti-inflammatory signaling molecules, and in their structural role in the brain.” There are two kinds of omega-3s, EPA and DHA, and both have been linked with lower levels of depression. If you don’t eat fish, omega-3s can also be found in foods like flaxseeds and tofu.
Another mood-boosting food is chocolate. Dr. Means says, “Studies have shown that dark chocolate consumption is associated with lower odds of clinical relevant depressive symptoms, with individuals consuming the highest amount of dark chocolate having 57 percent lower odds of depressive symptoms than those who reported no dark chocolate consumption. That’s great news for chocolate lovers everywhere. There are certain chemicals present in dark chocolate specifically, called polyphenols, which are rich in antioxidants. When picking out the chocolate, it’s best to get the darkest, with the least amount of sugar. Another food you can add to your list is fermented foods like kimchi, yogurt, and sauerkraut. Fermented foods are high in probiotics, and numerous studies have shown they can increase our serotonin levels, the happy hormone.