8 Foods to Rock Your Brain
Do you often find yourself feeling cranky?
Do you reach for food throughout the day in an attempt to calm down or feel better?
Or more than anything, do you just really crave a better mood?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone! Research has shown that the foods we eat have an impact on mood, proving you really are what you eat.
Food can influence your mood – it can make it worse, or it can make it better. Add these good mood foods to your diet for a delicious mood boost!
Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for brain health and are found in salmon. Your brain needs specific types of essential omega-3 fatty acids, such as DHA and EPA, to function well. These fats are called essential for a reason—our bodies need them, and the only way to get them is through foods or supplements.
Most people get far too little omega-3 in their diet. Deficiencies in these vital fatty acids have been shown to be associated with cognitive decline, emotional imbalances and mood issues.
Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, a nutrient that helps protect vital brain fat and actually stops the buildup of pro-inflammatory compounds linked to low mood. Additionally, they contain high levels of two other mood enhancing nutrients: folate and magnesium.
Researchers have discovered that the brain is filled with receptors for capsaicin, the compound in chili peppers that gives them their heat. When we eat chili peppers, our brain responds by releasing endorphins, which are natural feel-good chemicals – the very same endorphins that are released when we exercise. People who eat spicy foods report a mood-lifting effect similar to the high reported by runners after working out.
Avocados contain good, healthy fats that are known for increasing the levels of several different feel-good chemicals in the brain. Like salmon, avocados are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which help maintain function in areas of the brain responsible for regulating mood and emotion. Healthy fats help you feel full and satisfied, help your body absorb some nutrients, and aid in cholesterol reduction.
You can give your meal a brain-healthy boost by trading your usual romaine lettuce for spinach in your salad, wrap or sandwich. Per ounce, spinach contains a higher level of folate, a B vitamin that may help reduce symptoms of depression. In fact, researchers at Harvard Medical School found that boosting the folate levels of depressed patients helped improve their mood.
Poultry is an excellent source for high amounts of tryptophan, an amino acid that your body can’t produce on its own. Tryptophan is necessary for the creation of serotonin, one of the brain’s primary mood-regulating chemicals. As more tryptophan enters the brain, serotonin levels increase and mood tends to improve, which is why poultry is an important part of any good mood diet.
Green Tea is rich in GABA, a calming and stabilizing brain chemical. Low levels of GABA are associated with low moods as well as mood swings. Additionally, it contains L-theanine, which is known for reducing stress and worry while improving mood, focus, memory and mental alertness. Be sure to include a cup of green tea each day for a feeling of overall well-being!
Have you ever wondered why eating chocolate makes you feel so good? It is not just the taste – it also provides a boost in concentration and mood and actually improves blood flow to the brain. Chocolate contains hundreds of blissful, health-promoting properties that support a positive mood, the ability to think clearly and focus, and a healthy cardiovascular system.
The darker the chocolate you consume, the better! Multiple research studies have shown that dark chocolate slows down the production of cortisol, a stress hormone. Furthermore, chocolate also makes the brain release endorphins and boosts serotonin levels, which can create a more positive mood that can last for several hours.
If you would like to learn more about how to boost your mood naturally, be sure to visit BrainMDhealth.com, your destination for premium nutrition information for your brain and body!
“If you want to feel your best, look your best, and do your best thinking, you have to give your brain high quality nutrition.” – Daniel G. Amen, M.D.