Foods That Can Make You Happy
When you’re about to eat some really delicious food, your brain releases dopamine which makes the actual act of eating even more enjoyable. There are also many foods that can lift your mood - so if you’re having an “off” day, you may want to consider some of these!
According to Nurses’ Health Study research, women who drank 2-3 cups of caffeinated coffee each day were about 15% less likely to become depressed, and those who drank 4 or more cups were 20% less likely to become depressed. Caffeine can increase levels of serotonin and dopamine in our brains in about 30 minutes.
Clams are packed with vitamin B12, and the brain needs B12 to produce serotonin and dopamine. A study showed that people who are depressed with low levels of B12 felt better after three months of taking a B12 supplement. You can eat fresh clams and canned clams. But if you don’t want to eat clams every day, you can get B12 from other seafood including trout and salmon, as well as beef, chicken, dairy products, and fortified cereals.
Walnuts and Flax
Nuts and seeds, specifically walnuts and flax, are packed full of alpha-linolenic acid. Studies have shown that people with the most ALA in their diets were less likely to be depressed. Low ALA in your body decreases the level of dopamine in the brain, which is the chemical responsible for uplifting our mood, and serotonin, which decreases anger and aggression.
You can munch on radishes to help boost your mood! They help the brain release dopamine and norepinephrine, both of which contribute to putting a spring in our steps. If you don’t want to chow on a radish on its own, radishes are great in salads and as garnishes.
Oysters are one of nature’s richest sources of zinc, and people who were given zinc alongside an antidepressant saw significant improvements in their mood over a 12-week period, better than those with just an antidepressant. Low levels of zinc are linked to anxiety and consuming just three ounces of fresh oysters (about 8 in total) contain a whopping 52 mg of zinc. Find a local oyster bar or seafood restaurant.
Yogurt and Kefir
The bacteria found in yogurt and kefir is the kind that keeps our digestive system healthy. A study done at UCLA found that when women eat probiotic yogurt twice a day, they have less stress when shown photos of angry and frightened faces. The brain and the gut are actually very closely connected, so good bacteria help your body relax.
As if we need another reason to keep chocolate in our diets, it is actually a mood booster! It’s loaded with polyphenols, which boosts the mood and in a study done in 2013, Australian researchers found that volunteers who ate dark chocolate laced with polyphenols had a sense of calm and contentment after consuming.