A couple switches in your diet can increase your mood dramatically. Whether you feel tired, sad, or just hopelessly hungry, try introducing more of these food groups into your diet and see how you feel.
Like fermented foods? So does your gut and your brain! Not only do probiotics aid in your digestion and improve your gut health, more and more research is coming out that points toward mood improvements as well. In one study, 64% of people suffering from depression noticed improvements in their mood as they consumed more probiotic foods or supplements.
Since probiotics have been known to send signals to your brain that increase brain activity and mood, try adding these foods into your daily diet:
- Pickled vegetables
Green, Leafy Vegetables
You probably saw this one coming. A health-based article will almost always point you towards green, leafy vegetables. But it’s true! These veggies contain the B vitamin folate. Low folate levels have sometimes led to cases of decreased mood and energy levels, impairing the metabolism of serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline in your body.
Increase your folate levels and your mood with the following foods:
- Turnip greens
A deficiency in Omega-3 fatty acids has been known to lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Your brain is mostly made up of fatty tissue and requires enough Omega-3s to function properly. How much are you consuming? Maybe not enough for ideal brain function, causing your brain to putter out earlier in the day as you begin to feel foggy or too tired to work. Sound familiar? Try increasing your Omega-3s!
Increase the amount of the following foods this week and see if it improves your mood and energy:
- Wild Alaskan salmon
- Other oily fish
- Flax and chia seeds
It’s no surprise that the “sunshine vitamin” improves moods. We absorb the majority of vitamin D through our exposure to the sun. A healthy amount of the vitamin has been linked to increased levels of serotonin, while a deficient amount can potentially lead to mood disorders and depression.
Whether the season proves more cloudy than most, you work mainly inside and do not see the sun, or you simply need a boost in your vitamin D levels, try supplementing with the following foods:
- Canned salmon with bones
- Egg yolks
- Foods that may be fortified with vitamin D (milk, soy milk, and orange juice)
Ease up on the Caffeine
One to two cups of coffee a day is normal and will aid in your morning wake-up routine or your afternoon slump. However, dousing yourself in too much coffee will only hinder your mood. Caffeine will spike and then drop your adrenaline, leaving you feeling wired and tired. You will feel awake, but unable to focus or snap out of the slump you felt coming on before the third cup. Also, if you drink coffee too late in the afternoon, you will struggle to fall asleep or even fall into deep sleep, which will only prolong the tiredness tomorrow and you will end up dragging yourself through the week. Stick to one to two cups a day and then supplement with the above foods when you start to tire out mid- or late-afternoon.