It has long been said that food is medicine. The right foods can heal the body, while the wrong foods can actually cause illness. Today’s research further points to the fact that people can change their health through healthy foods. While the notion seems incredible, it makes perfect sense. Healthy foods lead to a healthy life—but consistency is key. Eating a routine diet of nutrient-rich whole foods can help people improve their health — and their moods! Koibito Poke dives into the research behind mood-boosting foods and how they can be incorporated into every day eating.
An article on EatingWell recently covered this topic, stating that “changes in what you eat can significantly boost mood and improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. Their research pointed to a clinic study known as the SMILES trial, which split study participants (all diagnosed with depression, and all on poor diets) into two groups.
One group had no form of therapy but switched to a healthy diet based on Mediterranean style eating — including fruits, vegetables, olive oil, low-fat dairy, fish, eggs, seeds and nuts. The other group met with a support group but continued to enjoy their regular diets (including sweets, processed deli meats, salty snacks and so on).
The results? “after three months, the healthy eaters showed fewer symptoms of depression than the second group… more than a third of them no longer even met the criterial for being depressed.”
So what are these mood-boosting foods that everyone should be enjoying on a regular basis?
Certain fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and other fatty fish are among foods in this category. The omega-3 fatty acids found in these fish can help boost moods by altering the brain chemicals linked to mood— specifically dopamine and serotonin. The body doesn’t produce this nutrient on its own, so getting in in the form of delicious fish can help increase mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety.
Leafy greens, as well as beans, almonds and avocados, are also credited as mood-boosting foods thanks to the mineral magnesium. In addition to this mineral which can reduce anxiety, these foods can boost brain health, too. Consider a salad topped with a piece of fresh tuna or salmon topped with avocado for a super-mood-boosting meal!
When it comes to sipping in some happy, green tea is believed to soothe the senses and calm nerves. Due to its combination of mood-increasing nutrient, including L-theanine, which helps combat anxiety, green tea has just the right amount of caffeine that can serve as a pick-me-up without leaving people with the jitters.
Koibito Poke encourages people to find health (and happiness!) through food. The right food! Eating healthy shouldn’t be torture — it should be delicious. And seeking out healthy food that serves the body and brain properly can be a lot of fun, too.