Nothing makes you smile like enjoying a delicious meal, whether home-cooked or served at your favorite restaurant. But it’s not just the experience of eating that we enjoy — there are actually foods that naturally encourage happiness. Certain nutrient-rich meals trigger your brain to release mood-enhancing neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, which can lessen anxiety and help uplift a person’s overall mood. If you’re looking for that added boost, add these eight joy-inducing foods to your grocery list.
Bananas are rich in sugar and fiber, which keep blood sugar levels stable and lessen potential mood swings. This fruit is also packed with vitamin B6, a key mineral for properly synthesizing dopamine, serotonin, and other mood-enhancing neurotransmitters.
Dark chocolate can be a great mood booster when eaten in moderation. It is rich in flavonoids, a natural antioxidant that acts as an anti-inflammatory and encourages enhanced blood flow to the brain. Dark chocolate also promotes the release of N-acylethanolamine, a naturally occurring mood enhancer.
Kimchi is a Korean dish consisting of fermented cabbage and other vegetables. It's packed with probiotics, which regulate the serotonin in your gut and put you in a better mood. Each helping is also rich in Lactobacillus bacterium, which promotes a stronger immune system.
Lentils contain various B vitamins, critical for producing serotonin, dopamine, and other mood-regulating neurotransmitters. B12 is particularly important, as studies demonstrate a link between low levels of vitamin B12 and depression.
Oysters are rich in zinc, a vitamin that helps ease and regulate anxiety. They also contain high levels of vitamin B12, which encourages healthier blood cells, improves overall circulation, and keeps energy levels stable.
Besides being a superfood, quinoa also has tremendous benefits regarding overall happiness. This whole grain contains plenty of magnesium, which helps lessen moodiness and anxiety. It also includes all nine essential amino acids necessary for your dietary needs.
Strawberries contain antioxidants known as anthocyanins, which promote stronger cognitive health. Strawberries also contain soluble fiber, which keeps blood sugar at stable levels and you fuller longer, which prevents mood swings.
Tuna and other fatty fish like salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids, which promote the release of serotonin, act as anti-inflammatories, and may help mitigate depression in certain individuals. Tuna is also rich in vitamin B12.
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