woman eating healthy food

posted 09.05.2022

The Best Foods to Boost Mood, Health and Wellness

Good Food, Good Mood

You’ve probably heard of the term “Good Mood, Good Food”, but what does it mean?

The science about foods that improve your mood is clear; one of the benefits of eating healthy is how you feel.

Research has shown the effect of diet on mental health. This is due to the nutrients contained in mood-elevating foods needed to balance the chemicals in your brain.

These chemicals influence your mood, energy levels, sleep, appetite and sex drive, as well as the healthy functioning of the body. Strongly connected to food for good mood is the production of serotonin — the happiness chemical.

You can boost serotonin with exercise. Doing things that make you feel special and happy is vital for good mental health. There is a lot of talk about self-care, and you will probably have an occasional hot bubble bath or spend an hour just reading a book or listening to music. Doing things just for you is essential to your health and wellness.

What Is Serotonin?

Serotonin is a chemical that transmits signals between nerve cells produced by the central nervous system. Serotonin functions as a neurotransmitter and is vital for neural activity in the brain and nervous system.

The body requires the amino acid tryptophan, various vitamins, minerals and folic acid to produce serotonin. Low serotonin levels have been linked to tryptophan deficiency and low mood. Eating food containing this amino acid is essential for the body to produce serotonin.

Why Does Serotonin Make You Happy?

Although serotonin levels are typically associated with mental health, the chemical also contributes to physical health. The four brain chemicals related to mood are serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins. Each one of these chemicals has a different role. The effects of the four chemicals are:

  1. Serotonin is a mood stabiliser and increases feelings of well-being.
  2. Dopamine increases motivation and is released when you feel a “buzz” of happiness, such as getting a promotion or passing an exam.
  3. Oxytocin helps you trust and feel a close bond with someone and is released when you feel love.
  4. Endorphins are released when you exercise and provide pain relief and an extra boost of energy.

What Are the Best Foods to Boost Mood and Energy?

The key element to eating foods that boost your mood is a balanced diet. To produce serotonin and other chemicals, your body needs a mixture of food containing complex carbohydrates, proteins, fatty acids and various vitamins and minerals.

Additionally, the function of the gut is linked to a good mood. To keep your gut healthy, you should also eat food with probiotics that are high in fibre. Staying hydrated is also vital for your gut health and to prevent constipation.

Sugar is another factor to help with depression. Sugar is needed by the body, but too many people eat too much. Refined carbohydrates like biscuits, cakes, chocolate and sweets are high in sugar. You may need these types of food when you feel tired or low and need a boost. Easily digestible, refined carbohydrates cause a quick rise and then drop in glucose. When glucose levels plummet, it can directly impact serotonin levels and could contribute to symptoms of depression.

To maintain glucose levels and a healthy, balanced diet, you should eat:

  1. Complex carbohydrates such as whole-grain bread and pasta, cereals, brown rice, oats, lentils, seeds and nuts.
  2. High protein foods like white meat, lean red meat, seafood, cheese, soya products, lentils, seeds and nuts.
  3. Probiotics found in live yoghurt and probiotic drinks.
  4. Fatty acids such as omega 3 and 6 found in oily fish such as salmon and sardines, avocados, eggs, dairy products, olives, seeds and nuts.

Keeping your glucose levels stable may also help with weight loss and tummy fat reduction, which can also boost confidence and mood.

Nine Superfoods That Boost Mood

  1. Avocado
  2. Asparagus
  3. Spinach
  4. Sweet Potato
  5. Lentils
  6. Raspberries
  7. Watermelon
  8. Bananas
  9. Walnuts.

Including superfoods in your diet is a good way to improve your mood. Certain foods interact with antidepressants and other types of medication. If you take medication, check with your GP and pharmacist if there are any foods you shouldn’t eat.

Eating the right food helps prevent a chemical imbalance in the brain. However, your mood can also be affected by what’s happening in your life, such as financial pressure, struggling with bereavement, relationship or family problems. If your mood is low or you feel constantly anxious, it is often due to more than what you eat. It is a good idea to speak to your GP about how you feel. Life can be hard, so be kind to yourself.

What Is the Best Health and Wellness Treatment?

Do you need some “me” time? At home, it can be almost impossible to find time — or maybe you just need a boost. Infrared sauna therapy gained popularity in 2021 and is still in demand in 2022. Infrared saunas and body pods offer various health benefits associated with boosting your mood and overall health and wellness. Unlike traditional saunas, which heat the body using air, infrared saunas use infrared light.

Research Has indicated using an infrared sauna may help inhibit cortisol production and reduce stress and anxiety, and have other benefits, including:

Click HERE to find out more about infrared sauna therapy at Body Lipo Lincoln, a medically-led aesthetic clinic. Offering a wide range of treatments using the most advanced technology, we are here to support you with your health and well-being.

Any questions? Please call our friendly team of therapists who are always happy to help — 01522 523777.