What you eat can affect all aspects of your body, including your mind.
Depression affects 25% of people in the UK and over 3 million people have been diagnosed with depression.
Here we list our top 9 good mood foods:
1. Oily fish
Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, herring, trout, sardines, pilchards, mackerel are rich in the essential omega-3 fatty acids.
These help to keep body cells healthy and support the actions of happy neurotransmitters like serotonin.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also used in the body to make natural anti-inflammatory molecules, these are essential for keeping body inflammation in check.
Inflammation is a natural immune response but is quite often overactive and high levels of inflammation may be seen in many conditions including depression (3).
2. Organic, grass-fed beef and poultry
Organic, grass fed beef and poultry are good sources of protein which helps to keep blood sugar balanced.
They also provide the amino acid tryptophan which is used by the body to make serotonin.
3. Tofu and tempeh
These soybean-based products are good vegetarian and vegan sources of protein, once again supporting blood sugar balance and have high levels of the amino acid tryptophan.
They also contribute significant levels of zinc.
Eggs are a very digestible source of protein that contains vitamin B12 and the yolk contains small amounts of vitamin D.
Vitamin D is known to have a variety of functions in the body and research has shown that it may contribute some anti-inflammatory benefits and also help with regulating serotonin and another important neurotransmitter called dopamine (7,8).
5. Dark green leafy vegetables
Spinach, kale, spring greens, broccoli – these all contain many beneficial nutrients but particularly folate.
This is needed for the healthy production and breakdown of important mood influencing molecules such as homocysteine (9).
No wonder we are being told to 'eat your greens'.
6. Olive oil
Another good reason why the Mediterranean diet is one of the most health giving.
And onions, buckwheat, blueberries and raw cranberries - all packed full of a plant compound called quercetin.
Gaining popularity as a spice in food and drinks such as golden milk, turmeric contains curcumin, a natural anti-inflammatory compound, that helps to keep serotonin from being broken down (13) - much like some antidepressant medications.
9. Fermented foods
The microorganisms that naturally reside in the gut, called the microbiome, impact many areas of health and are now known to influence mood (15).
An imbalance in the microbiome, known as dysbiosis, contributes to low mood (16).
With so many contributing factors to low mood and depression, starting with a few simple changes may be the best approach.
Choosing the right foods can be an enjoyable part of improving mood and once you have a made a few changes you can build upon these for maximum support.
Why not share your favourite good mood foods with us?
What is your favourite mood supporting recipe?
We would love to hear your thoughts.
Written by Kelly Rose DipION FdSc VN
- Depression and Inflammation
- Overcoming Depression with Natural Foods
- How Hormone Imbalance Can Cause Depression
- 10 Nutritional Deficiencies That Can Lead To Depression