Eat them to feel happy!

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Cranky, irritable, stressed or anxious? Munch on these foods to lift your mood!

[caption id="attachment_4067" align="alignleft" width="200"]Foods that boost your mood Foods for a happy you![/caption]

Did you know that the foods we eat can influence our mood. This is because certain foods stimulate production of mood elevating hormones like serotonin, endorphin, dopamine and other neurotransmitters.

The next time you are down in the dumps, try these foods to feel better:

Try some chocolate: The next time you’re feeling low, treat yourself to some chocolate. This sweet stuff boosts endorphin levels, the brain’s natural happy hormones. So eat ‘em and feel happy!

You can count on proteins: Protein is made up of amino acids. One specific amino acid, called tyrosine is known to stimulate production of neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine. These chemicals help boost alertness and energy levels. So choose from a host of protein rich foods such as fish, poultry and meat. Legumes, cheese, milk and curd too are super good if you want to feel better.

Get some carbs: Carbohydrates stimulate the production of the feel-good hormone, serotonin. Research has shown that those on a diet tend to get depressed, a week or two down the line. About the time their serotonin levels dip, owing decreased carbohydrate intake. The next time you’re feeling low, turn to some healthy carbs: whole-wheat bread, rice, cereal, rotis, parathas and fruits like banana, pear, apple. You’ll feel an instant lift.

Caffeine: Despite the bad reputation it has earned, a little caffeine can be an effective antidepressant to treat mild depression. Additionally, it remains effective without having to increase its dosage daily. There is evidence to support that a cup or two of coffee/tea a day is safe to drink. Remember, too much caffeine can make you nervous, irritable and oversensitive, bring on headaches, and also lead to an addiction.

Anything that tastes good: Eating anything that tastes good boosts endorphin production, the happiness chemical that triggers that same kind of reaction as opiate drugs. So eat what you like for a legal high!

Add some eggs: One nutrient that many of us could be lacking is a B-complex vitamin called choline. Choline is concentrated in high cholesterol foods like egg yolk and liver. A lack of this nutrient can cause impairment of memory and concentration, leading to irritability. So eat that yellow in the egg (that you so like) without any guilt to reduce irritability and feel refreshed.

More folic acid: A deficiency in folic acid has been linked to depression. This deficiency leads to a decrease in serotonin levels. If you’re feeling low, squeeze out a glass of orange juice or indulge in some palak paneer, because spinach and oranges have folic acid in plenty.

You may need selenium: Research attributes bad moods to a lack of selenium, a trace mineral. People suffering from a lack of selenium have been shown to be more anxious, irritable, hostile and depressed in comparison to those who have healthy selenium levels. Taking in adequate amounts of this mineral can correct the deficiency, stabilize your mood and even better it further. You can get your dose of selenium every day from tuna, whole-grain cereals, swordfish and sunflower seeds.

Also check out our articles: Feeling low can lead to binge eating and Depression, an introduction.

Photograph via sxc.hu

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