Five foods to help you overcome feeling blue

The food you eat is responsible for our skin’s glow and hair’s sheen. It strengthens bones and supports the health of our heart. These facts may seem obvious, but have you considered that the foods you eat also have a big impact on your mood?

In the cold and dark of winter, you may find yourself susceptible to mood swings or having those days where you feel like curling up under a blanket and waiting for the gray clouds to clear away. Some small dietary shifts may be the key to restoring your positive disposition. 

Below are some foods to consider incorporating into your diet if you find yourself feeling blue.

1.     Fish

Eating more of this super-food will support you in feeling good due to its high levels of omega-3.

2.     Chia, flax seeds and walnut

Alpha-linolenic acid (one of the forms of omega-3 fatty acids found in these foods) has been shown to improve mood.

3.     Dark chocolate

There is a reason why you are drawn to chocolate when feeling on the down side. Theobromine and phenylethyamine are two powerful mood boosting compounds found in dark chocolate. These can play an important in lifting your spirits on a gloomy day. Eating an ounce of dark chocolate (approximately one row of a bar) each day can lower stress hormone levels that lead to high anxiety. Be aware however that chocolate only counts as a health food in small amounts with a cocoa level of at least 70% (preferably organic) in order to be considered good for you!

4.     Greek Yogurt

A nice creamy bowl of thick Greek yogurt is delicious. Along with its many health benefits, it can also raise dopamine and norepinephrine levels in your brain which lead to happier feelings. This is due in part to the high amount of protein it contains.

5.     Foods high in Vitamin D, folate and B12

These specific vitamins and minerals have proven to be important as far as mood is concerned. Studies have shown a link between depression and blood levels low in these vitamins. 

  • Vitamin D is known to increase serotonin in the body, helping to improve mood and disposition. Not many foods are rich in Vitamin D, but egg yolks and fish with bones are good sources. You may want to consider taking Vitamin D supplement, especially if you live in a climate limited in sunlight (a natural source of this essential compound). A list of benefits to taking Vitamin D is available here.
     
  • Foods that contain high levels of folate include oranges, sunflower seeds and broccoli.
     
  • Some foods that contain B12 are full-fat dairy products, shellfish and eggs.

Keeping your blood sugar levels stable can also have a positive effect on your mood. Read this post to find out more.

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For more about nutrition, tips to improve overall health and wellbeing, recipes and meal plans, visit Integrative Health.

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