Food has always been referred to as a mood enhancer. For instance, when you’re feeling low, even a bite of a chocolate bar can lift you up. While there are many foods that taste good, they may not exactly be good for your body. Read: junk food.
What do you do when you’re stressed? You tend to load up on carbs. However, carbohydrates often get bad rep for being unhealthy. Renowned chef, Jozef Youssef, who is also the associate editor of the International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science, says carbs are not the enemy, especially when combined with lots of greens. “There is a clear scientific link between the food that we eat and our mood. It’s commonly said that variety is the spice of life, so having a rich and varied diet helps us maintain a happy mind and body,” he says. Youssef partnered with Uber Eats, a food delivery service, to research and come up with a list of mood-enhancing foods.
Here’s a list of 10 foods that are good for your brain, and also your body.
Sweet potato: It’s got a good combination of colour and flavour. The complex starch in it is beneficial for the production of serotonin, also known as ‘happiness’ neurotransmitter. So, next time you crave for fries, opt for sweet potato fries (roast it in an oven, instead of frying).
Salmon: Its vibrant colour, buttery texture is very attractive to the eye. Also, salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which helps brain development. It has also been linked to reducing depression. Just pan fry salmon, squeeze a lemon and make a meal out of it.
Kale: This leafy vegetable is crunchy and earthy. The complex starch in it is a good source of serotonin. Complex carbs are the best way to incorporate serotonin-producing foods into your diet without causing major spikes in blood sugar.
Bananas: A rich source of antioxidants, vitamins and probiotic foods, bananas helps in digestion, which impacts the mood. Banana supports gut bacteria and their functions – this has been linked to reducing depression. You can add bananas to your smoothie bowls, milk shakes and oat bowls for a quick fix.
Blueberries: These vibrant berries contain a special antioxidant called carotenoid and other antioxidant compounds like vitamin A, C, E, selenium, zinc and phosphorous. Antioxidants have anti-ageing properties and are known to relieve stress.
Red meat: A good source of tryptophan, which again helps production of serotonin. It is also rich in vitamin B12, which helps improve mood.
Mango: This one’s a crowd favourite for the right reasons. Its flesh is bursting with the colour of sunshine, the sweet aroma are all happiness inducing characteristics. Adding to that are properties such as rich source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Chocolate: This always brings a smile to anyone’s face. Chocolates are filled with antioxidants that help release the happy hormone.
Walnuts: Coincidentally shaped like brain, walnuts are known to benefit the mind as they are packed with antioxidants, vitamin E, folate and omega 3 fatty acids.
Kimchi: Packed with flavour and colour, kimchi is a probiotic. It is a rich source of lactic acid, which forms during the fermentation process.