In modern world, it is inevitable to escape mental and emotional stress. Busy lifestyle, workload, family or financial issues, inactivity and poor eating habits induce a lot of stress which may further lead to lifestyle-related diseases.
So, there is a great need to maintain mental peace and by making small changes in diet can have a huge impact on your mood. “Happy hormone” or “serotonin” is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in many biological processes and in regulation your good mood as well.
If one is in a stressed situation then, serotonin levels go down and lead to symptoms like anxiety, aggression, impulsive behaviour, digestive issues, decreased appetite or craving to indulge into sweet or refined carbohydrate-rich foods.
Aman Puri, CEO and Founder, Steadfast Nutrition, suggests certain food options that can help boost serotonin levels.
Berries: Berries are rich in flavonoids, a type of antioxidants, which helps improve brain activity and uplift mood.
Avocado: Being a good source of vitamin B-6, folate and magnesium and unsaturated or “good fat” that helps improve mood by supporting the production of serotonin and dopamine.
Walnuts: Walnuts are a rich source of omega-3 fats, one of the major nutrients required for the proper functioning of the brain. DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) in walnuts helps make several types of serotonin receptors that play a key role in the serotonin pathway.
Dark Chocolate: Chocolate has a phenolic component called phenethylamine that has the potential to reduce stress, anxiety and elevate mood.
Green Tea: Green tea is a good source of catecholamines (antioxidant),that helps to elevate mood. Matcha green tea is particularly rich in amino acid L-theanine, which may also provide a soothing effect.
Probiotics: Probiotics are the good gut bacteria, that are involved in the production of serotonin, dopamine and GABA involved in enhancing good mood.
Complex carbohydrates: Certain complex carbs like quinoa, oats or whole grains offer good amount of fibre, B vitamins, magnesium, and certain amino acids, particularly tryptophan which helps in serotonin production.
Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits like oranges or lemons have an appealing fresh fragrance and taste, which in turn might be fruitful for mood elevation.
Fatty fish or fish oil: Including fatty fish such as sardines, salmon, tuna in diet can help improve omega 3 fatty acids or else fish oil supplements are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA particularly that help in a better release of serotonin.
In a nutshell, eating a wholesome diet and including specific foods such as omega 3 fatty acids, probiotics, whole grains, citrus fruits, antioxidant-rich fruits, herbal teas may help support production and release of serotonin to make you feel happy and good.