How to lift your mood by eating right foods
There is no doubt that what we eat affects our mood. This means that by increasing certain types of food in your diet, you can significantly improve your mood. While some foods, like chili pepper and sugar give immediate instant relief, some other foods effect will be noticeable only after some time. Moreover, as you will see later in this article, food you eat can be a good medicine for depression.
So how does food help depression? The food you consume affects your neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitter is a chemical that is released from a nerve ending. This chemical transmits impulses from one neuron to another, or to a muscle cell. So as far as food for depression is concerned, the neurotransmitters we are talking about are brain’s cell-communicators.
There are scores of different neurotransmitters, but the one that is tied to depression is called serotonin. Serotonin is one of the main neurotransmitters that are found in brain. Serotonin in particular is concerned with conscious process. By choosing foods that stimulate serotonin activity you might be able to help your depression or, if you are not depressed, simply elevate your mood
Carbohydrates fix for depression
Okay, so what food you should eat for depression? One of the best kinds of food for depression is food high in carbohydrates. This includes cookies, starches, pasta, rice, breads, potato, cereals, sugar and sweets.
It is important to mention that this type of foods doesn’t affect everyone in the same way. While it definitely relieves depression in depressed people and in those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder, it is not as beneficial for unaffected people. Big quantities of such food make them feel lazy and less alert.
This phenomenon could be explained by the fact that depressed people have different brain chemistry than other individuals. But if you are depressed you definitely can help yourself with sweets. Remember however that you could get the same effect while making more healthful choices of food, like pasta, vegetable, cereal and crackers.
Caffeine – the champion of mood lifters
Well, this is probably not new; people have been treating themselves with coffee for centuries. The coolest part about caffeine is that you don’t need to constantly increase the dose as you get addicted. No matter how long you’ve been drinking coffee, one cup in the morning will do the trick.
Caffeine is a mild antidepressant and there is nothing wrong with treating yourself with it as long as your depression is mild. Do not take excessive doses of caffeine as it may cause sleep disturbances and anxiety in some people.
Folic acid rich foods for depression
It was noticed that people with depression (as well as other psychiatric disorders) have much higher rate of folic acid deficiency. The deficiency of folic acid causes decrease of serotonin levels. So all you have to do is to increase consumption of foods rich in this vitamin. So what foods are high in folic acid?
|Chicken livers, simmered: 1/2 cup||539|
|Bulgur, cooked: 2/3 cup||158|
|Okra, frozen, cooked: 1/2 cup||134|
|Orange juice, fresh or canned: 1 cup||136|
|Spinach, fresh, cooked: 1/2 cup||130|
|White beans, cooked: 1/2 cup||120|
|Red kidney beans, cooked: 1/2 cup||114|
|Orange juice, frozen, diluted, 1 cup||109|
|Soybeans, cooked: 1 cup||100|
|Wheat germ: 1 ounce||100|
|Asparagus, fresh, cooked: 1/2 cup||88|
|Turnip greens, fresh, cooked: 1/2 cup||85|
|Avocado, Florida: 1/2 fruit||81|
|Brussel sprouts, frozen, cooked: 1/2 cup||79|
|Lima beans, dry, cooked: 1/2 cup||78|
|Chickpeas, cooked: 1/2 cup||70|
|Sunflower seeds: 1 ounce||65|
|Orange sections: 1 cup||54|
|Broccoli, fresh, cooked: 1/2cup||53|
|Mustard greens, fresh cooked: 1/2 cup||51|
|Beets, fresh, cooked: 1/2 cup||45|
|Raspberries, frozen: 1/2 cup||33|
How much folic acid foods to eat for depression relief? According to the study 200-500 micrograms may do. As you see this can be easily obtained from food – no need for special supplements. Do not exceed this dose – high doses of folic acid can be toxic.
Selenium rich foods for depression
It is not clear yet how selenium rich food helps depression but the connection is obvious. Depressed people that were eating about 72-100 micrograms of selenium a day demonstrated improved mood. The selenium can be found in the following foods (micrograms in 100 grams or 3 1/2 ounces):
|Tuna, light, canned in water||80|
|Tuna, canned in oil||76|
|Tuna, white, canned in water||76|
|Tuna, white, canned in oil||60|
|Sunflower seeds, roasted||78|
|Chicken liver, cooked||72|
|Wheat flour, whole grain||71|
Similarly to folic acid, selenium in high doses can be toxic, so don’t overdo.
Garlic improves mood
During another unrelated study it was noticed that people who ate garlic also experienced a noticeable improvement in mood. After treating themselves with garlic they were feeling much better, were much less irritable, much less anxious and more energetic.
Chili peppers are great too
Chili pepper contains an active component called capsaicin. Capsaicin is exactly what makes chili pepper so hot. Moreover it causes brain to secret endorphins, the natural painkillers. The release of endorphins causes a temporary mood lift and that’s what makes chili pepper another great and absolutely addictive food for depression.