One’s mental health is affected by a variety of internal and environmental factors so it will be useless to pinpoint just one aspect that needs improvement. However, common among these doctor-prescribed strategies is the type of food we eat. While food generally gives us satisfaction, there is evidence that specific types of food can have scientific effects on one’s well being. Here are some good mood foods that are known to be effective in curbing depression and boosting mental health in general.
Omega-3 is a fatty acid that supports brain health and is found in high amounts in walnuts. According to the Mayo Clinic, foods that contain a large amount of Omega-3, such as nuts and fish, can be useful in treating mild to moderate types of depression, although it does note that further studies are necessary to prove this. Nevertheless, it has been found to have a positive effect in brain function, particularly in its supply of EPA and DHA.
2. Low-fat dairy products
These consist of low-fat cheeses, skim milk and yogurt, which are all rich in vitamin D, protein and calcium. These nutrients, the peptides in protein, in particular, are scientifically proven to help induce a sense of calm and relaxation, thus making them a great food for treating depression. The component tryptophan specifically has anti-inflammatory effects that can help calm the mood and this is found more in low-fat dairy products than in whole-fat.
3. Dark chocolate
A study on women in the U.S. found that older females with a liking to dark chocolate had a lower risk of depression compared to those who consumed regular chocolate or not at all. Cocoa is high flavonoids which are antioxidants that are known to help boost one’s mood. Dark chocolate is less “processed” compared to milk chocolate and retains the original components, thus making them the mental health-healthier option.
Turmeric, a known ingredient in many Indian dishes, contains strong anti-inflammatory properties that can have a significant calming effect in those who consume it constantly. With its most active compound curcumin, this spice is scientifically-proven to improve symptoms or arthritis and depression, as well as cancer, heart disease and dementia.
5. Fatty fish
Like nuts, fatty fish is high in Omega-3, so stock up on your tuna, wild salmon, bluefish and mackerels. In addition to their brain and mood-boosting capabilities, Omega-3 also helps improve circulation and works as a potent anti-inflammatory.
Turkey is high in tryptophan, which is a serious mood-boosting amino acid. This protein component is what the body uses to produce serotonin or the hormone linked with elevating one’s mood. The same can also be said about eggs.