Our diet plays a crucial role in maintaining and recuperating our health. Also our mood and emotions significantly affect our type of lifestyle and there are foods that can positively improve our mental and emotional health.
Certain foods can improve your mood because:
- Promotes the production of serotonins
- Decreases the spread of cortisol
- It can act as an energizer and a stimulate
Foods that increase energy
There are organic foods that can act like stimulate and energizer, being beneficial for have a productive workday and fight off tiredness.
Following are examples of some of these foods:
- Spinach: This green-leafed vegetable is high in magnesium, a mineral that is needed by the body in order to produce energy. A spinach smoothie with a banana (also a source of magnesium) and cold water is just the correct dose of energy needed, without the need of drinking coffee.
- Coffee and non-herbal tea: These infusions contain caffeine, a substance that acts as stimulate for our brains, helping to reduce fatigue and sleepiness. It helps to increase a sensation of energy and improved mental alertness.
- Cocoa and dark chocolate (that contains more than 70% cocoa): Cocoa beans contain magnesium and theobromine, both are considered to be stimulates that acts similar to caffeine. Only pure dark chocolate products contain these nutrients, as milk chocolate has been altered with lactose products and much less cocoa paste, resulting in less health benefits.
- Meat and their innards: Beef, poultry, goat and pork including their innards are all rich in vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin) all of which play an important role metabolizing energy from consumed nutrients.
- Whole grains: Whole grains, whole-wheat flours and their derived products make sure that there is a stable source of energy for the body. The fiber contained in these foods, takes longer to breakdown and transformed into glucose, hence passing more slowly to the blood and cells. They’re also high in magnesium and vitamins B1 and B2.
- Citrus fruits: They are high in vitamin C, a vitamin that intervenes in the catabolic reactions while producing energy.
- Dried fruits and nuts: They are a good source of vitamin B3 and magnesium. Also they have a high concentration of energy thanks to the natural fats that they contain. They can easily be metabolized with other food items and is a guaranteed energy fix.
As we have seen, many of these food products are an excellent source of magnesium and zinc. Two nutrients when combined are called an amino acid tryptophan that aids in the synthesis of the serotonin.
Food sources for tryptophan, the link for serotonin
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is directly related to our cheerful mood and overall wellbeing. It is often called the “happy hormone”. Low levels of serotonin often cause mood swings, depression, irritability and anxiety.
Our body secretes serotonin as part of the tryptophan, an essential amino acid that should be included in your diet, as your body cannot produce it on its own.
Foods that are rich is tryptophan that can directly increase the production of serotonin in your body are:
- Blue fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, anchovies and tuna)
- Dark chocolate (helps your body to absorb tryptophan)
- Lactose products
- Soy products (for example, tofu and edamame)
- Pumpkin seeds
- Dried nuts (peanuts, walnuts, pistachios and almonds)
Foods that lower cortisol levels
Our body produces cortisol when we experience stress for a prolonged period. There are certain foods that can reduce our stress levels and improve our mood.
- Green tea
- Dark Chocolate
- Citrus fruits
- Foods which are high in omega-3’s such as dried fruits, nuts, seeds and blue colored fish.