The old adage is true: you are what you eat. There have been numerous studies on how diet impacts mood and they all agree that the foods you eat affect the chemical composition of your brain, which in turn affects your mood. Food affects the release of neurotransmitters, the chemical signals that relays info between nerves. Neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine have all been linked to increased levels of alertness and energy. With the right combination of vitamins and nutrients in your diet, you can eat your way to a happier you.
Vitamin B6 helps maintain a healthy nervous system. People with low levels of B6 are more irritable, depressed, hostile and anxious than those who have the right amount of this vitamin in their diet. The recommended B6 intake for men and women between the ages of 19 and 50 is 1.3 mg per day.
Foods Rich in Vitamin B6: Spinach, garlic, brussels sprouts, collard greens, bananas, broccoli, red bell peppers, potatoes, sunflower seeds, watermelon, and avocados.
Folate, also known as folic acid, is necessary for cell division, DNA synthesis and healthy blood cell production. Folate has been linked to increased levels of serotonin, a hormone that stimulates feelings of relaxation and overall happiness. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for men and women is 400 micrograms and 600 micrograms for pregnant women.
Foods Rich in Folate: Baked beans, beets, strawberries, green and leafy vegetables (parsley, kale, asparagus, romaine lettuce, spinach), sunflower seeds, legumes (lentils in particular), melons, and fortified whole grains.
This vitamin is necessary for healthy brain functioning and a healthy nervous system. Low levels of B12 in the body can lead to memory loss and irritability. The RDA for an adult ranges from 2 to 3 micrograms per day. The RDA for vitamin B12 in pregnant women is increased to 2.6 micrograms per day.
Foods Rich in B12: Sardines, oysters, canned tuna, lean beef, dairy products, and eggs.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
DHA omega-3 essential fatty acids maintains healthy brain functioning and is necessary for fetal brain and eye development. Omega-3 has also been linked to improving the symptoms of depression. There is no official RDA for omega-3 fatty acids, but it’s something you may want to add into your diet for a mega mood boost.
Foods Rich in Omega-3: Fish like salmon, mackeral, anchovies, sardines and herring, flaxseeds, walnuts and algae.