Well-being is a factor regulating a comfortable being. When we are irritable, we are in a bad mood, we lack energy and desire to perform any duties, and the pursuit of our set goals is completely prevented. One of the elements that allow us to measure whether we provide the body with adequate food is precisely our mood. Consuming the wrong proportions of macronutrients or nutrition based on unsuitable products (fat, processed, trans fats) results in deterioration of both physical health and mental disorder. How does the diet affect the mood and what to eat to enjoy good mood?
Does chocolate improve the mood?
Popular scenes straight from movies and TV series, during which desperate women are eating chocolate to improve their mood, are known to each of us. However, does this cocoa product really affect the elimination of negative emotions and the secretion of happiness hormones? Of course, however, it’s worth considering that chocolate should consist of min. 70% of cocoa. This is the source of the valuable ingredient, which is magnesium. This element affects the proper functioning of the nervous system and also has anti-stress properties. Why is milk chocolate worth converting into a high cocoa content? The common dairy product in its composition contains a significant amount of simple sugars. Thus, even if the serotonin levels after chocolate ingestion increase, it will be reduced immediately, which results in only a short-term improvement in mood.
In magnesium supplementation, we will also help other food products that we should permanently introduce to our diet to enjoy mental fitness. They are mainly:
– Pumpkin seeds (contain up to 540 mg of magnesium per 100 g). They are a wealth of vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, phosphorus, zinc and B vitamins. Their regular consumption will not only affect the maintenance of a healthy nervous system, but also will help weight loss, lower blood pressure and strengthen the immune system. It’s worth mentioning that pumpkin seeds have de-acidifying properties.
– Wheat bran (contain 490 mg of magnesium in 100 g). They are a source of fibre, protein, carbohydrates and mineral salts. Their primary function, in addition to regulating the mental sphere, is to stimulate metabolism and lower cholesterol levels.
– Almonds (contain 295 mg of magnesium in 100 g). They have a high content of unsaturated fatty acids, fibre, as well as vitamins and minerals, including potassium, vitamins E and B2. Consuming almonds, we can provide the body with protection against heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol and blood sugar. They also have stress-relieving properties and soothing nerves.
– Buckwheat (contains 218 mg in 100 g). It’s a valuable source of silicon, which is responsible for maintaining proper circulation. In its composition also has other minerals, improving the functioning of the entire body, including the nervous system, such as iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, as well as vitamins – B1 and PP.
Amino acids from proteins
Another basic factor responsible for maintaining a good mood are amino acids supplied from proteins. They are a building block of neuropeptides and neurotransmitters, which take the form of molecules of emotions that enable cells to communicate properly. Their deficiency may result in depression, reduced motivation, create a long-lasting feeling of anxiety, as well as memory impairment.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids (EFA)
Exogenous fatty acids act as elements of the myelin shell. It’s an insulating layer, created from fat, surrounding nerve cells. The above-mentioned fatty acids are transformed into substances very similar to hormones (prostaglandins). They are involved in maintaining hormonal balance, regulating blood pressure and neurotransmitters. A deficiency of exogenous fatty acids can lead to serious diseases related to the psychic sphere, e.g. depression, schizophrenia, ADHD, as well as problems in learning.
Omega-3 and -6 acids are found mainly in: fatty marine fish (salmon, mackerel, halibut, trout, herring, tuna, cod, anchovy, sardine), fish oils (sardine oil, salmon, herring, cod liver or shark – so-called tran), seafood (shrimp, mussels, oysters), vegetable oils (flaxseed, rapeseed, corn, sesame, sunflower, grape seed, soybean, hemp, rice bran), walnuts and almonds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, green vegetables (peas, broccoli, cabbage), avocado.
Vitamin C only for improving immunity?
There is no doubt that regular intake of vitamin C can significantly improve the functioning of the immune system, which in turn is associated with adequate protection of our body against bacteria and viruses. However, have you ever heard that this vitamin can improve your mood? Numerous scientific studies have proven that this natural antioxidant releases free radicals from the body, reduces stress levels and fights symptoms of depression.
It was widely accepted that the largest source of vitamin C are citrus fruit, including lemon. This is a mistaken belief, because most of this acid is found in vegetables, namely – in pepper! Other products rich in ascorbic acid are: blackcurrant, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, spinach, strawberries, wild strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, kiwi, red cabbage, wild rose, potatoes, onion, kohlrabi, apples, tomatoes, and artichokes.
An effective way to improve well-being is also the use of herbal supplementation. It can take the form of infusions as well as natural supplements in the form of tablets. One of the most recommended herbs positively affecting the mental sphere of humans is nettle, used for hundreds of years. It’s a great source of iron, the shortage of which can cause long-term persistence of fatigue, which in turn results in a significant lowering of mood.
In herbal medicine, milk thistle, known primarily for its detoxification properties, is also placed on the pedestal. This plant affects the cleansing of the liver, thanks to which the feeling of heaviness and tiredness is eliminated. It also affects the proper neutralization of stress hormones.
For the treatment of insomnia, migraines and even depression, St. John’s Wort has always been used. Our great-grandmother called this plant a natural anti-depressant for a reason. Regular drinking of St. John’s wort helps get rid of apathy.