Everyone goes through bouts of low moods from time to time. These feelings of sadness and distress go away on their own after several days or so. You can even get out of a rut faster if you make some small changes in your life, such as including more of these healthy mood boosting foods, going on a short holiday, talking to a friend, or getting more quality sleep.
Setting up a therapy appointment with a psychologist will help you find out the cause of or reasons behind your low mood. Once you know what these are, with the guidance of your therapist, you can come up with a strategy to deal with them and start feeling more positive and better about yourself.
Another easy and simple way of getting out of a low mood is by modifying your diet. By eating foods that have been proven effective in improving a person’s disposition, you will beat the blues faster.
Eating the right amounts of mood-boosting foods will allow you to experience other benefits that will impact your mental, emotional, and physical health as well.
Below are the 10 best healthy foods that you should include in your diet to get out of a low or depressive mood:
10 Best Healthy Mood Boosting Foods
1. Dairy Products
Milk, cheese, yogurt, and other types of dairy products are staples in nearly everyone’s daily diet. Unless you have lactose intolerance or dairy allergy, increase your intake of these foods to start getting out of your low mood.
Dairy products contain tryptophan, a substance that is converted into serotonin in the body. It is a neurotransmitter that promotes a sense of positive well-being and happiness.
Milk and yogurt, in particular, are highly beneficial if you are also feeling anxious. They are rich in calcium and magnesium, nutrients that help your muscles contract and relax.
To experience the mood-boosting benefits of dairy products, consume three servings or cups of milk, yogurt, and cheese every day.
2. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is rich in serotonin, a natural antidepressant that can elevate mood. Eating dark chocolate also helps stimulate the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that generate feelings of happiness.
However, to get the most health benefits from this treat, stick to 104 grams of dark chocolate per day. Additionally, opt for bars or drinks that contain at least 70 percent cocoa.
Oats are best known for maintaining and improving the digestive system. However, it also offers other health benefits, which include stabilizing a person’s mood.
A bowl of oatmeal contains a healthy amount of carbohydrates, which will elevate your blood sugar levels. This, in turn, will boost your serotonin and improve your mood.
Oats also have a low glycemic index or GI which means the carbohydrates are slowly released into the bloodstream. Because of this, your blood sugar and mood can remain stable, allowing you to deal with your anxieties and irritations in a calmer, more positive way.
Oats are also rich in selenium — a mood-boosting mineral.
Seeds are one of the best natural mood-boosters around. And the best part is, you have plenty of options to choose from and munch on every day.
Sunflower seeds, for instance, contain high amounts of magnesium, a nutrient that helps maintain healthy levels of GABA neurotransmitters. When you have adequate GABA levels, your mood is more stabilized. This will allow you to reduce stress better.
Pumpkin seeds are excellent for boosting your mood as well. They are excellent sources of magnesium. Moreover, they are rich in zinc as well. A deficiency in this particular nutrient has been linked to depression. By boosting your intake of zinc, you will be able to fight off your gloominess better.
Aside from seeds, munch on nuts to lift your mood fast.
Nuts such as walnuts, cashews, and Brazil nuts are packed with magnesium and zinc, which help stabilize mood. They also contain other nutrients that support mental health. These include copper, manganese, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Aside from munching on these treats, add them to your bowl of oatmeal or salads to increase your intake.
Salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, sardines, and other fatty fish are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, a nutrient that supports various brain functions. It also helps improve mood, lower anxiety, and protect against depression.
Omega-3 fatty acids are natural mood-boosting substances. They help the body produce more dopamine and serotonin, chemicals that maintain mood balance.
Eating more fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids will also lead to improved cognitive and emotional functioning.
If eggs are not part of your daily breakfast, include them now to start feeling better about yourself.
Eggs are rich sources of various nutrients, including vitamins A, B12, and D, magnesium, and zinc. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids and choline.
All these nutrients work together to help stabilize your mood and lift your spirits. They also support various cognitive and learning processes.
Fruits are also rich in a variety of vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients that reduce anxiety and stress.
Bananas contain vitamin B6 and tryptophan, nutrients that lower depressive symptoms. They also work together to send positive vibes to your brain.
Berries, strawberries, oranges, and other citrus fruits reduce the oxidation in the body, which, in turn, lowers stress. Eat them fresh or raw to get more vitamin C and other mood-boosting nutrients.
9. Green Vegetables
Folate deficiency has been linked to depression. When the body lacks this nutrient, the production of mood-related neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin are hampered.
To increase your folate levels, eat more organic green leafy veggies such as spinach, kale, and collard greens. Broccoli is another excellent source of this nutrient.
Folic acid is also present in lentils, edamame, and beans. As such, include these healthy foods in your daily diet as well.
10. Green Tea
Another “green” that you should include in your diet is green tea.
Green tea contains theanine, an amino acid that has relaxing benefits. This substance helps calm the nervous system. It also aids in fighting anxiety and depression.
Green tea is an excellent alternative to coffee. It also has caffeine, but its theanine content prevents you from getting the jitters. Because of this, drinking green tea can put you in a state of relaxation instead of edgy alertness.
Eating more healthy mood boosting foods will help you feel better inside and out. It will aid you in beating the blues and avoid falling into depression.
However, remember that if your low mood does not seem to get better even after modifying your diet, trying new activities, and doing things that used to make you happy, talk to a professional as soon as possible.
About the Author:
Dr. Gemma Gladstone is an endorsed clinical psychologist and certified schema therapist, supervisor and trainer. Along with Justine Corry, she is co-director of the Good Mood Clinic in Sydney and has 24 years of experience within mental health.