5 Foods that Improve Your Mood – Healthy Diet, Healthy Mind

Young girl eating carrot with parents

Eating a healthy and balanced diet is not just about losing weight and becoming sexier. It is also about feeling better about yourself.

Yes, staying slim makes you feel good, but eating the right kind of food will also improve your mood.

You see, food can be linked to one’s mood. So what are the foods that improve your mood?


Food and mood


Have you ever tried stress eating? Then you know that food can help you deal with certain moods. 

Or

Maybe you experienced heartbreak. You sit in front of the TV, crying your heart out while nursing a tub of ice cream.

Or perhaps chocolates are your poison? 

Here’s another example:

Have you seen “Meet Joe Black”? If you haven’t, you absolutely need to see it–not just for the food and mood connection. 

See, there is a scene where Brad Pitt’s character tastes peanut butter for the first time.

What makes this so special?

The way Brad Pitt’s character’s eyes light up the first time he tasted butter was utterly delectable.

It makes for a good point of how food can improve one’s mood.

Cabbage

However

Ice cream, chocolates and peanut butter may be delicious and may improve your mood, but they won’t exactly improve your health. 

It’s no secret that sweets make you energetic, hence, the term sugar high. But they can also give you diabetes. 

So let’s check out the five foods that improve your mood without sacrificing your health. 


1. Fermented Food


Fermentation is the process of using microorganisms like yeast or bacteria to convert carbohydrates to organic acids. Don’t worry, this is a healthy use of bacteria. 

How can this improve your mood?

During the fermentation process, probiotics are created. These are live microorganisms that can improve your digestive system.

Not only that, probiotics are known to increase serotonin levels. 

Why is that important?

Serotonin is also known as a happy chemical in the body because it can induce happiness. It is a kind of hormone. 

There are a number of examples of food items that undergo fermentation (alcoholic drink, vinegar, cheese, etc.), but here are examples that can greatly improve your mood.

Sauerkraut

Ever wondered why Germans are happy people? According to a Forbes report, Germany ranks 17th among the happiest countries in the world.

While this is not a scientific guess, Germans are known to enjoy sauerkraut, a dish of shredded raw cabbage fermented by lactic acid bacteria. Perhaps that could be a reason why Germans generally have a good mood?

Get this:

Sauerkraut did not really originate in Germany but it is a popular appetizer in the country, as in other European nations.

There are a number of benefits to eating sauerkraut:

  1. It is a source of vitamins C and K. 
  2. It is high in calcium and magnesium. 
  3. It is low in calories.
  4. It is a good source of dietary fiber. 

More importantly

Sauerkraut can improve your mood!

Kimchi

This is another staple, this time in Korea.

It is a popular side dish of fermented vegetables like napa cabbage (there is something about cabbage), Korean radish, spring onions, garlic, and ginger, among others. The food is also doused with many seasonings including a Korean chili powder. 

Both North and South Korea enjoy this side dish. 

How healthy is it?

Well, the fact that it is made of various vegetables means that it is nutritious. It is high in dietary fiber and low in calories.

Among the nutrients found in kimchi are the following: vitamin A, calcium, iron, thiamine and riboflavin.

Yoghurt

Yoghurt is made through the bacterial fermentation of milk. It is probably the oldest kind of fermented food in the world as historical accounts placed its origins in Mesopotamia around 5000 BC. 

You can eat yoghurt as is, or you can serve it in a salad. You can even use it as a vegetable dip. 

Yoghurt

Plus

Yogurt is also used as an ingredient in baking. 

It is delicious in any form and it can improve your mood.

What more could you ask for?

It is pretty healthy, too. It is rich in vitamin B12, riboflavin, protein, phosphorus and selenium. It also contains various other nutrients.

Kombucha

This is a fermented sweetened tea–either black or green. It is usually consumed because of its health benefits. 

What are the benefits?

  1. Improves the digestive system.
  2. Reduces the risk of cancer.
  3. Reduces the risk of infection. 
  4. Reduces cholesterol levels. 
  5. Helps people lose weight. 
  6. Improves liver health. 
  7. Manages diabetes.

2. Bananas

Do you know what the most popular fruit in the world is? It’s not bananas!

The world consumes 170.75 million metric tons of tomatoes every year. That makes it the most popular fruit in the world.

However

Tomatoes are usually utilized as a vegetable in the culinary world. Does that make bananas the most popular consumed fruit then?

Over 114 million metric tons of bananas are consumed every year.

But it really doesn’t matter if it is the most popular fruit or not. 

What matters is this:

So many people consume bananas. It is almost a staple. 

It is a fruit that many people have access to. Anyone who has access to it should definitely eat it because of its many benefits.

Bananas

Benefits of the banana:

  1. It contains fiber and antioxidants.
  2. It moderates blood sugar.
  3. It can help people trying to lose weight. 
  4. It is good for the heart. 
  5. It can also improve kidney health. 

More importantly

Bananas can improve your mood!


3. Fatty fish


Also known as oily fish, the fatty fish has oil around the gut. When filleted, it contains about 30% of oil. 

This type of fish is a good source of vitamins A & D and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. 

Why are these nutrients important?

Vitamin A is an important nutrient to improve one’s vision. It also helps the immune system and contributes in reproduction. 

This vitamin also improves the health of various organs: heart, lungs and kidneys. It helps these organs function properly. 

On the other hand

Vitamin D keeps bones and teeth healthy because it regulates the calcium in the body. 

Finally

There are many benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids, but it is mostly linked to reducing a person’s risk to heart disease. Heart attack and stroke are the leading causes of death in the world. 

Other benefits:

  1. It can fight anxiety and depression.
  2. It helps improve sight.
  3. It helps develop a fetus’s brain. 
  4. It can reduce symptoms of ADHD in children.
  5. It prevents inflammation. 
  6. It may prevent cancer.
  7. It can reduce fat in the liver. 
  8. It improves sleep. 

Of course

If you have a nice sleep and you are healthy, then your mood is definitely sunnier. 

What are examples of fatty fish?

  • Anchovies
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Swordfish
  • Tuna
  • Trout

4. Dark chocolate


Okay, so maybe we don’t have to totally exclude chocolates in the list. However, dark chocolate is more pure and less sweet. 

It has many components that can improve your health.

Chocolate

As earlier mentioned

Sugar can make you energetic, and chocolates, in general, can help improve your mood. Dark chocolate is so much more!

Cocoa is one of the best sources of antioxidants. The more cocoa there is in the chocolate, the more nutritious it is. 

News flash!

Dark chocolate has about 70-85% cocoa in it. 

Let’s dig deeper

Cocoa, and dark chocolate as a result, improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure. 

This also means that risk of heart disease can be reduced. 

Also

Dark chocolate improves brain function. When the brain is healthy, it seems like it is only logical that your mood will be improved. 

The overall aspect of the chocolate is pleasant: from its taste to its texture and even its smell. 

How is this relevant?

All those pleasant things can lead to a better mood!


5. Hot drinks


Not all hot drinks merit inclusion in this list. However, there are more than a couple hot drinks that can improve a person’s mood. 

Let’s start with a universal favorite:

Coffee

There is a reason why a lot of people need coffee in the morning. Coffee is very effective in perking up people. 

Many people need coffee to function in the morning.

Why is that?

Because there are components in coffee that give people energy. In essence, coffee improves your mood enough to allow you to be functional. 

Also, coffee is not just a morning drink. People drink coffee when they feel sleepy or sluggish. 

Let’s elaborate

Caffeine makes people more alert by preventing the compound known as adenosine from attaching to brain receptors that prompt weariness. 

Considered a psychoactive substance, caffeine also releases neurotransmitters that boost the mood: dopamine and norepinephrine. 

Close-up of coffee machine

Green tea

There are many advantages to drinking green tea: it can help you with weight loss and it will help you feel better if you have the colds. 

It’s also a good energy booster. And if your energy is up, chances are your mood is up as well. 

Hot cocoa

If eating chocolates make you happy, then drinking it will work in a similar fashion.


Summary


Good food leads to a good mood!

If you are feeling stressed and you want to do some stress eating, then at least do it with the right kind of food. Do it with food that can actually boost your mood. 

Fermented food, bananas, fatty fish, dark chocolate and some hot drinks–these are just a few foods that improve your mood. Knowledge is power, they say. So keep yourself informed with the kinds of food that will make you happy.


You Might Also Like…


You might also want to learn more about the kinds of food that can help people who are suffering from depression. 

You know what wood complement eating foods that could make you happy? Living in places that are always sunny, which will keep you in a good mood most of the time. Get to know the best places to live especially if you are suffering malady.

There are different kinds of malady, one of which is the seasonal affective disorder or SAD. So what is SAD?


Useful Resources


  • Why Eating a Fibre-Rich Diet Can Boost Your Mood – Cyprus Mail
  • 4 Mood-Boosting Foods You Must Include in Diet During the Coronavirus Crisis – NDTV Food
  • 10 Simple Ways to Improve Your Mood When You’re Feeling Down – Psychology Today

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