Our gut talks to our brain and it can have huge effects on our mood and the emotions we experience. And don’t forget that food has chemicals just like drugs do. We can easily get addicted to foods that give us a quick high. And then follows the crash.
Don’t pin all your happiness on what’s on your plate. That said, there are foods that are great to eat because they can trigger the release of dopamine — a “feel-good” neurotransmitter. Try the following happy foods:
- Probiotics and fermented foods: They’re a key contributor to the health of the gut-brain axis and have a calming effect on the body and specifically help with aggression. Fermented foods contain probiotics, such as kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles and yogurt.
- Coffee: I’m usually not one to recommend drinking coffee, but perk-you-up-power does lie in caffeine, which may also activate serotonin and dopamine release in the brain.
- Quinoa: A flavonoid in quinoa has a significant anti-depressant effect.
- Salmon: Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are proven to improve our mood.
- Vitamin D-rich foods: Eat mushrooms, beef, chicken livers and fatty fish. Get out in the sun. Vitamin D’s main role is regulating the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin.
- Dark chocolate: Boosts mood because it raises endorphin levels. It’s best to choose dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao.
- Fruits and vegetables: Try to pick those that are high in B6, folate and vitamin C. Think bright orange, red and purple. Grapes, for instance, contain resveratrol, an antioxidant proven to boost mood.