You are what you eat. No, really. The bacteria in your gut might be a determinant of how happy you are in everyday life, explains doctors from the UNC School of Medicine. And a study done by neuroscientists in New York found that serotonin influences social behaviour and can boost your mood. But what is serotonin? It’s a chemical messenger that may act as a mood stabilizer, and is linked to enhancing prosocial behaviours that contribute to human morality. AKA feeling good and living better.
So how can your body produce this happy chemical? Researchers suggest your serotonin levels can be increased via the amino acid tryptophan, which is found in many foods. Tryptophan is important in the production of serotonin in the body, and by including sources of it in your diet, you can positively benefit your energy levels, mood and sleep.
Here are four foods that could help boost your mood (alongside an overall healthy and balanced lifestyle):
You’ve heard this one before. Dark green leafy vegetables are a great source of tryptophan and iron, which helps the body to make healthy red blood cells. An easy way to add spinach in to meals is in a salad, a smoothie, or on a wrap.
Adding a handful of nuts or seeds to your salad gives your body a good source of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Or as most people prefer, you can consume the nutrients from nuts in various nut butters in which the recipe options are endless. Although nuts are extremely calorie dense, they provide you with that much needed chemical – tryptophan, to make the body and mind feel energized and fueled for longer. So indulge in that peanut butter every once in a while, those nutrients are important.
This is an easy addition if you want to feel better. Pineapple not only tastes delicoius, but has so many benefits. It’s known to help reduce anxiety, and works as an anti-inflammatory. Pinneapple is high in pyridoxine, which is a chemical essential for boosting producing of feel-good endorphins. Added bonus: the bromelain present in this citrus fruit aids with desigtion to break down proteins. Toss some in your smoothie, or for a mid-day energy boost at your desk.
Everyone knows that fish, especially salmon, are rich in Omega 3’s that are important for our brain to function. These nutrients improve your attention and memory. But fish like salmon are also rich in Vitamin B which contributes to the production of serotonin and dopamine. If you want to boost your mood, try to fit salmon in to your diet plans as nutritionists suggest getting at least 1-2 servings of fatty fish per week.