5 Good Mood Foods
They say you are what you eat. When it comes to how you feel mentally and physically, this saying isn’t far from true. When you follow a healthy eating plan and eat foods rich in nutrients, you provide your body–and brain–with the vitamins and minerals it needs to function at its best.
Diet and mental health are linked in several ways. Some things you eat can act as good mood food—in other words, these foods encourage your brain to make feel good chemicals that improve your mood and focus and increase your energy levels. Other foods can make you feel energetic in the short term but quickly turn on you, leaving you feeling sluggish and depressed. These include overly processed foods and those high in added sugar.
To help you choose the best foods for mental health, here are some mood boosting foods that are also a valuable part of a weight loss eating plan:
Good mood food: Fatty fish. Fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and herring contain omega-3 fatty acids that are important for a healthy brain. In one study, people with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids had increased blood flow to their brains and could think more clearly than people with low levels.1 And in other research, people with low levels of omega-3 fatty acids had a higher risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.
To keep your omega-3 levels up, try to eat at least two four-ounce servings of fatty fish per week.2
Good mood food: Bananas. Bananas don’t just give you a potassium boost, they also contain tryptophan and tyrosine, two amino acids your brain uses to make the mood-elevating chemicals serotonin and dopamine. Getting a dose of these amino acids can help reduce anxiety and stress and help you stay focused and calm. Plus, because bananas contain 121 calories, 3.5 grams of fiber, no cholesterol and only a half a gram of fat, they are a great choice as part of a weight loss eating plan. 3
Good mood food: Berries. Rich-colored berries such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries can help improve memory and prevent dementia. Berries are high in antioxidants, which help reduce oxidative stress. In one study, young and old people who ate blueberries had better blood flow to the brain and saw improved memory and attention. In another study, children who drank berry smoothies did better on memory tests than kids who drank smoothies made without the fruits. Berries also help lower inflammation, which can help preserve brain health as well. To eat more berries as part of a healthy eating plan, toss them in a salad, eat them as a dessert, or use them as a topper for your breakfast cereal. 4
Good mood food: Beans and lentils. Beans and lentils are rich in B vitamins, which help protect your brain and nervous system. Beans also contain other minerals linked to fighting depression and improving mood disorders, such as zinc, selenium, and magnesium. To get more beans into your diet, eat chili, hummus, or bean-based pasta. Toss some black beans onto your salad or into soup. 5
Good mood food: Oats. There are a few reasons oats are a good mood boosting food. For one, they are an excellent source of fiber, which slows digestion of carbs and helps sugar gradually release into your blood stream, so your energy levels stay constant. Oats also contain choline, which helps your body make acetylcholine, which is good for your memory. To get the most from your oats, go for the steel cut variety, which is the least processed. 6
Bad mood foods: Equally as important as good mood foods are the foods that can have a negative mental effect. Eating processed meats, sugary cereals, candy, fried foods, pastries, and high-fat dairy products are more likely to leave you anxious and depressed. 7
There’s a clear connection between diet and mental health, so it’s important to eat foods that help you stay healthy in both body and mind. A weight loss eating plan isn’t just about cutting calories, you also need to make sure you get the vitamins and minerals you need to stay physically and mentally strong. The Curves Nutrition program has been designed to be a balanced, sustainable weight loss eating plan. Through a three-phase approach, you’ll adopt healthy habits that will keep your energy levels up, prevent stress and anxiety, and ultimately keep the weight off for good.
For more information on Curves, check out www.curves.com
- Quantitative Erythrocyte Omega-3 EPA Plus DHA Levels are Related to Higher Regional Cerebral Blood Flow on Brain SPECT – PubMed (nih.gov)
- Brain Health and Fish (eatright.org)
- Bananas as Brain Food (sfgate.com)
- Eat Berries to Improve Brain Function (Rutgers NJAES)
- 3 Reasons Why Beans Can Boost Your Brain Power – Cleveland Clinic
- 12 Foods to Increase Your Brain Power | Simply Supplements
- Foods to Avoid If You Have Anxiety or Depression (webmd.com)