Your moods and how you feel are dependent on several factors. They include everything right from your stress levels your health, and even the weather. It is also often said that we are what we eat. Nothing could be closer to the truth. What you eat has a profound impact on not just how you look but also how you feel. If you feel stressed often, your food could be the culprit. Similarly, it also affects how happy and positive you feel. So, if you are thinking about how to use nutrition to quite literally change how you feel, all you need to do is to read this article. We will not just tell you the relationship between your food and mental well-being but also the foods that you should include in your diet to impact your happy and sad hormones.
How does diet affect your mental well-being?
Before we talk about how to increase happy hormones in the body through food, it is important to understand how hormones affect your moods. Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers that are secreted by different glands. There are close to 200 different kinds of hormones in your body.
Once they get released into your bloodstream, they reach various tissues and organs and not only regulate your body’s functions but also affect how you feel and emote.
Your gastrointestinal tract is known as the ‘second brain.’ That’s what establishes the close connection between your brain and the diet that you consume.
According to the Clinical Biochemistry Journal, food has a direct correlation with the production and secretion of hormones. Food provides your body with the nutrients that facilitate and regulate the production of hormones in the body.
What are happy hormones, and which foods boost them?
Before we talk about the foods that boost your emotional well-being, let’s get to understand what happy hormones are. There are four hormones that induce happiness. They include dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins.
These hormones induce feelings such as well-being, pleasure, and happiness. They also act as natural painkillers and reduce stress and anxiety.
Here are some foods that help boost these happy hormones:
As established by the Global Health Journal, omega-3 fatty acids have a direct impact on your mood. They are even said to improve several disorders, such as bipolar disorder, depression, and even dementia.
Besides being a great-tasting food, beets help in producing the happiness hormone serotonin. This is due to their folic acid and betaine content that stabilize your mood and induce a feeling of wellness.
Coconuts are much more than a tasty treat. They contain medium-chain triglycerides that are a potent mood enhancer. That’s not all, regular consumption of coconuts also has a neuroprotective effect.
Pumpkin seeds are one of the best foods to boost your mood. They are abundant in the amino acids tryptophan that helps produce serotonin and oxytocin happy hormones in your brain. This happy hormone helps in calming your brain and keeps it active.
Tomato skins are an excellent source of the antioxidant lycopene. It helps protect your brain and fights inflammation that causes depression. Adding olive oil enhances lycopene absorption and boosts the benefits of tomatoes.
Next time you feel like a warm drink, swap that creamy coffee with a hearty green tea, and your brain will thank you for it. Not just the naturally-occurring caffeine act as a mood booster, but green tea also contains EGCG, which leads to mood improvement.
Next time you feel like a sugary snack, ditch the chocolate and reach out for a banana instead. They will not just satisfy your sugar cravings but will also help you feel better. This is because bananas have tryptophan, which is an amino acid that helps in the production of the happy hormone serotonin. What’s more, they are also rich in vitamin B, which synthesizes the production of serotonin to increase the growth level of Testosterone.
What are sad hormones, and which foods should you avoid?
Just like there are happy hormones, your body also produces some hormones that induce feelings of sleepiness, drowsiness, and even stress and depression. These include hormones such as melatonin and cortisol. These are produced by the body in response to stress and put in motion the fight or flight response.
While occasional spikes in these hormones are sometimes a good thing as they increase your coping skills, long-term spikes in them to lead to serious health consequences.
Fortunately, you can now use nutrition to keep your sad hormones in control. Here are some of the best foods to include in your diet to keep your emotional well-being intact:
While you do get an initial high after a glass of your favorite liquor, did you know that alcohol has a negative impact on your mental health? It is a natural depressant that reduces the levels of happy hormones in your brain and often leads to feelings of anxiety and depression.
Who doesn’t love a spot of coffee to chase away the blues? However, some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others and may end up with feelings of sadness and anxiety. You may also end up feeling overly tired and experiencing aches and pains.
While they taste delicious, baked goods such as cakes, muffins, and bread often lead to feelings of being low or despaired. This is mainly because they contain large amounts of saturated oils and sugar that often lead to mood fluctuations. Excess consumption of baked goods also leads to feelings of depression and lethargy.
Though sugary foods are an amazing treat, especially on a stressful day, they can have quite the opposite effect. Sugary foods, especially those consumed in excess, can cause a sugar rush. This often leads to feelings of highs followed by lows. & use the best ayurvedic herbs to beat the heat.
People who consume higher quantities of red meat are known to experience depression and anxiety more frequently than those who consume this within limits. This is mainly because red meat contains cholesterol, arachidonic acids, and saturated fatty acids that increase the risk of inflammation resulting in depression.
The Bottom Line
Making healthy food swaps is a great way not just to lead a healthier life but also to ensure that you experience better moods. To further enhance the impact of these foods, inculcate happy hormone exercises in your diet and lead a more productive and wholesome life.