7 Simple Foods to Boost Your Mood!


July 19, 2007   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man


    1. Whole-Grain Bread
      If you can picture your children asking you several questions one after the other, you already have an inkling as to what happens to your brain power when you eat whole-grain bread. Amino acids are building blocks of proteins and can be found in most foods. One essential function of amino acids is to deliver messages to your central nervous system, more commonly known as brain.Proteins and amino acids play an important role in normal brain function, particularly before birth when the concentrations in the blood of the developing foetus can be three times greater than in the mother.We also tend to forget that most of the essential chemical substances in the brain and CNS – the so-called neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin – are produced in our bodies from amino acids. The following amino acids and their related neurotransmitters are vital for a healthy nervous system:

      • Gamma-amino-butyrate (GABA), glycine, aspartate, glutamate
      • Tyrosine – dopamine, adrenaline and noradrenaline
      • Tryptophan – serotonin
      • Adenosine, ADP, ATP and AMP
      • Arginine – nitric oxide
      • N-acetyl amino acids and peptides

      [Supplement: Health 24 – Diet and your nervous system]

      Whole-grain bread is enriched with the essential amino acids as compared to plain bread. The trick is to eat a few slices of whole-grain bread every morning with your breakfast to increase the transmission speed of nerve impulses in your nervous system. 

  • Turkey and Chicken
    These low-fat protein sources are rich in an amino acid called tyrosine, which boosts levels of the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. These two chemicals are responsible for our motivation and reaction time. Tyrosine lifts energy levels and helps the body cope better with stress. 

Studies have suggested that tyrosine may help people with depression. Preliminary findings indicate a beneficial effect of tyrosine, along with other amino acids, in people affected by dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Due to its role as a precursor to norepinephrine and epinephrine (two of the body’s main stress-related hormones) tyrosine may also ease the adverse effects of environmental, psychosocial, and physical stress.[Supplement: Mother Nature – L-Tyrosine]

[Supplement: Mother Nature – L-Tyrosine]

A chicken sandwich or chicken noodle soup may produce the same results. An effective alternate is tuna fish.

  • Water
    Mild dehydration is a common but often overlooked cause of fatigue. When the body dehydrates, blood flow to our organs decreases and the body slows down. Drinking enough water each day can prevent you from feeling lethargic. But don’t rely on thirst alone. Most adults should drink eight to ten glasses of water per day. Caffeinated soft drinks and coffee, however, are no substitute. They may act as diuretics and increase dehydration. Learn how to develop the water habit. 
  • Bananas
    Magnesium deficiency and stress are linked so closely that some doctors and dieticians advise people who lead a hectic life to add magnesium-rich foods like bananas to their diets. 

Deficiency symptoms have three categories:

    • Early symptoms include irritability, anorexia, fatigue, insomnia, and muscle twitching. Other symptoms include poor memory, apathy, confusion, and reduced ability to learn. 
  • Moderate deficiency symptoms consist of rapid heartbeat and other cardiovascular changes. 
  • Severe deficiency symptoms could lead to tingling, numbness , and a sustained contraction of the muscles, along with hallucinations and delirium . 

[Supplement: AllRefer Health – Magnesium in Diet]

Increased magnesium intake results in less anxiety and better sleep. If you don’t like bananas, other good magnesium sources are nuts, beans and leafy greens.

  • Seafood
    Seafood contains a lot of Selenium, a mineral linked to upbeat moods. Increased intake of sea food leads to a greater sense of happiness, more energy and a reduction in anxiety. If you juggle a hectic life, your level of stress hormones rises. Stress hormones flood the body during tension and resulting in lower resistance to cold and viruses and a tired feeling. Whole-grain breads are also good sources of selenium. 

Cautions and possible side effects: Don’t take more than 200 micrograms in supplement form; higher amounts may cause fragile, thickened nails; stomach pain; diarrhea; loss of sensation in the hands and feet; fatigue; and irritability. Doses of about 800 micrograms have been known to cause tissue damage.

[Supplement: Mother Nature – Selenium]

  • Oranges and Grapefruits
    Even a small deficiency in vitamin C – a key ingredient for boosting levels of norepinephrine – can leave you feeling irritable and blue. A lack of vitamin-C-rich foods also inhibits your body’s ability to absorb the iron it needs to fight fatigue. Eating roughly 6 oranges per day can result in less nervousness, crankiness and depression. Vitamin C supplements are also effective. 

[Supplement: Mother Nature – Vitamin C]

  • Hot Chillies
    Capsaicin, the natural ingredient that gives chillies their pow, stimulates the mouth’s nerve endings, causing a burning sensation. In response, the brain releases endorphins, natural painkillers that produce a temporary high. So the more hot chillies you eat, the stronger the soothing effect. In fact, some hot-chilli lovers may just be hooked on the high. 

[Supplement: Wikipedia – Endorphin]

Note: Most of the above I learned in medical school but following the HonCode principle (Health on the Net Foundation), I’ve tried to supplement this article with sources to back it up.

Gyanish Gungaram is a “blogless” freelancer and a medical student at Université de Lille in France, currently in his 2nd year. When he is not studying, he will pop up on Dumb Little Man with occasional tips to improve your health.


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