FOODS THAT ARE GREAT FOR MAINTAINING A GOOD MOOD!
This post is more about foods than individual nutrients.
Protein: protein is made up of many amino acids. These amino acids are the building blocks to our body and they make hair, skin, nails, organs, muscles, neurotransmitters, hormones, enzymes for food digestion etc… all of this and more made up of amino acids simply known protein, our body needs protein to grow, repair, digest and be physically healthy.
Protein does all this and it also helps maintain a good mood by providing the materials the body needs to make hormones that can make us happy, sleepy, energized or even relaxed and your body depends on protein to be available to make all of this and so much more! Luckily protein is abundant and in almost all food sources however some sources are not “complete protein” a topic we will cover another day.
Food sources: Meat, fish, dairy, legumes, eggs, nuts, seeds, grains, fruits & vegetables, protein ratio’s vary so some of these foods are high in protein like pumpkin seeds or fish and some are lower like vegetables or fruit.
Water: is 70% of our body’s volume. If we are hydrated nutrients and oxygen can reach the brain, organs and tissues more easily. This is because our blood volume depends on our water content and proper hydration means our blood can travel freely as it is meant to. However if we are dehydrated our blood becomes sticky, the flow is decreased, and these nutrients and oxygen may not reach the target tissues, leading to deficiencies in nutrients which can affect mood. Armstrong’s 2012 study showed that mild dehydration in subjects resulted in decreased memory, cognition and participants suffered from a low mood compared to when they were hydrated.
Essential Fatty Acids + Omega 3: this nutrient is needed for cellular signalling. This means that when your nerves want to achieve an action like moving a muscle or activating a hormone like serotonin to make us happy (releasing it from the synapse) it relies on cellular signalling to tell it when to do this. Many studies have observed those with low omega 3 intakes are more likely to suffer from depression.
Food Sources are: Oily fish such as Salmon, Mackerel, Barramundi, Trevally, Chia seeds, Flax seeds, Hemp Seeds and Walnuts.
Wholegrain foods, Nuts, Legumes and Seeds: Whole grains, nuts, legumes and seeds contain a host of vitamins and minerals that our body needs to function for example B vitamins for energy and mood regulation. Selenium to help our metabolism, Zinc is needed for over 200 functions in our body a few are immune health, metabolism, skin repair and many more, it has been found that low amounts of selenium and zinc have coincided with increased rates of depression. Magnesium is also needed for muscle relaxation, for energy production and for neurotransmitter/hormone synthesis (serotonin, melatonin, dopamine) as well as many more functions. Iron is needed for energy production, oxygen transportation and hormone creation.
Whole grains are found in good seeded breads (the more seeds in your bread the better), some other grains to look for are millet, amaranth, barley, quinoa and rolled oats there are many more but these are more common.
Nuts Brazil nuts, walnuts, cashews, macadamias, almonds and many more varieties.
Legumes of any variety, chickpeas, lentils, beans navy kidney butter beans etc…
Seeds sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds plus more
Complex Carbohydrates – Fruit and Vegetables: the standard amount of fruit and vegetables is 5 serves of veg and 2 serves of fruit per day. The reason for this is vegetables and fruit contain high volumes of fibre which not only aids in elimination (helps you go to the toilet regularly), it also cleans the bowel and provides food (perobotics) for probiotic bacteria.
Fruit and vegetables also contain a huge amount of antioxidants which are needed to reduce oxidative stress, this means the stress of everyday living and especially when we stress out; adrenaline which is produced in our bodies from stress reactions, causes high amounts of oxidation.
Fruits and vegetable help to reduce this. Antioxidants are also needed for omega 3 to function because omega 3 fats are susceptible to oxidation.
Complex Carbohydrates: carbohydrates and mood are more closely linked than most people realise I have gone into detail in my carbohydrates and mood blog http://samanthah22.sg-host.com/blog
Just remember the potato doesn’t count as a vegetable it is a starch. Starches are simple carbohydrates that are absorbed rapidly into the body. find out more about simple starches in my blog about carbohydrates and mood.
Fermented Foods: Foods that have been fermented contain bacteria (probiotics) that lives in your gut and help to maintain healthy bowel flora.
Probiotics helps us maintain a healthy immune system they also communicate with the brain through something called the brain gut axis which has a huge impact on your mood believe it or not 90% of serotonin (neurotransmitter responsible for happy feelings) is contained in the gut. The bacteria varies from fermented foods depending on their source i.e. yogurt comes from milk and will yield a different bacteria that those that come from Saur Kraut which is traditionally fermented from cabbage.
Food sources: yogurt, kafir, kombucha, kimchi, saur kraut, miso
Vitamin C: I know Vitamin C is not a food but it is essential in our bodies and we don’t make it so I thought it would be a great add on.
We need to get vitamin C in our diet by the foods we eat or by supplementation. Vitamin C is crucial for our health not only for immune function but for also for our mental health because we need it to produce serotonin, It is also needed in times of stress to produce norepinephrine (part of adrenaline) which helps us to endure stressful situations and is rapidly used up in stress. Vitamin C is also a potent antioxidant and if you have been smoking drinking or taking recreational drugs this can rapidly deplete vitamin C because these things cause oxidation which means your body has to reverse the damage with antioxidants such as vitamin C.
Food sources are: Red Capsicum, Strawberries, Citrus fruits, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts and much more.
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Also if you need any references please feel free to contact me.