If you’re struggling with low mood and feeling unhappy, it might be time to look at your diet.
What you eat can have a big impact on your mood, in much the same way that it affects your physical health.
Some foods can have a negative effect on your mood and wellbeing in general but on the plus side, there are also lots of foods that are known to boost mood and help you to feel that little bit better about life.
Here are 5 foods that can give you a natural mood boost:
Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens in general are a great way to boost your folate levels. One study in particular has shown a strong link between depression and low folate levels so this is a really important nutrient when it comes to mental wellbeing.
Some of the dark leafy greens you can add into your diet include kale, broccoli, swiss chard and cabbage (the dark green kind).
Lentils are another good source of folate and one cup can give you up to 90% of your recommended daily allowance of folic acid in particular.
Lentils have another important role to play for boosting your mood as they contain L-tyrosine, an amino acid that is used by the brain to make neurotransmitters (including dopamine). Studies have shown some promising results in using L-tyrosine to reduce depression.
Zinc is one of the nutrients that can be lacking in many people’s diets and a deficiency can make you more likely to experience low moods and even major depression.
Get snacking on handfuls of pumpkin seeds to combat low mood!
Eggs are a great source of nutrition in general but they’re the perfect choice for boosting your mood too.
Amongst other things, they contain essential fatty acids that help your body to produce more serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is closely linked to mood.
If you have low serotonin levels, you’re more likely to suffer from anxiety, insomnia and depression.
If you always want to reach for some chocolate when you’re feeling down, here’s some good news! One study showed that dark chocolate can help you to feel calmer and more contented.
There is a catch though – to get these benefits you need to be eating dark chocolate that contains a good amount of cocoa.
The flavanoids in cacao are the key factor and these aren’t present in chocolate that doesn’t have much (or any) cocoa.
Unfortunately this means that milk and white chocolate won’t boost your mood in the same way!
If you’re not already eating these kind of foods on a regular basis, try adding them into your diet and see if they can help you to feel a bit happier!