Feeling down or just a little blah? Try turning to some good mood food! Studies have been showing that there’s a relationship between nutrition and mental health. There has also been evidence from many different countries and cultures showing that the better your diet, the better your mood and brain health. Specifically, we can learn from the Japanese and Mediterranean diets. Keep reading to know the top foods to include in your diet to keep you smiling.
Green Tea: A Japanese staple, this tea has been shown to calm nerves and lift spirits. Due to green tea containing many mood-boosting nutrients, as well as some caffeine, it’s also been linked to reduce depression and help fight anxiety. Try a cup of soothing green tea or matcha latte next time you feel like a pick-me-up.
Fish: Omega-3 fatty acids from salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, anchovies, and herring is an essential mood-boosting nutrient our bodies can only get from food. Research shows omega-3s alter dopamine and serotonin, which is directly linked to mood. The Japanese and Mediterranean diets generally include fish three times a week when possible. Try adding fatty fish into your weekly dinners, such as roasted salmon on a bed of greens or tuna tartare in sesame ginger sauce. Don’t like fish? Supplementation may be your best bet!
Dark Leafy Greens: Magnesium in dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard, which has been shown to relieve stress and anxiety, as well as boost brain health. While most Americans don’t get enough of this mineral, the Mediterranean diet includes dark leafy greens in many of their meals. “Horta” or “Greek Greens” is a typical dish in Greece containing greens cooked with olive oil and lemon. Try adding one serving of dark leafy greens to your day, which is 2 cups of raw greens or 1 cup cooked.