Health

These Miracle Superfoods Boost Serotonin and Help Fight Depression

27. Turmeric Turmeric is effective in treating the symptoms of depression because of it’s high levels of curcumin. The polyphenol curcumin is responsible for giving turmeric… Samantha Davis - July 25, 2022
Research shows turmeric boosts mood and fights depresson. Medical News Today.

27. Turmeric

Turmeric is effective in treating the symptoms of depression because of it’s high levels of curcumin. The polyphenol curcumin is responsible for giving turmeric its yellow color. It also has strong anti-inflammaotry properties that decrease inflammation and protect the brain from issues with memory and degeneration associated with Major Depressive Disorder.

Turmeric gives rice a pop of color and a mild flavor. Little Sunny Kitchen.

Adding turmeric to your diet can fight against free radicals from toxins in our environment and the things we eat. It promotes a healthy heart, reduces your risk of cancer, and reduces the symptoms of arthritis. Research shows that it even boosts memory abilities in people with the genetic marker for Alzheimer’s disease.

The high folic acid content of edamame helps boost mood. Shutterstock.

28. Edamame

A serving of edamame boosts mental health because it contains an impressive 80% of your daily recommended intake of folic acid. Folic acid plays a big role in your body’s production of important hormones as well as providing energy. Deficiencies can result in anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders.

Flavor edamame with garlic, ginger, and other spices or eat it raw. Inspired Taste.

Edamame is also a great source of magnesium, which assists with the deveopment of the “happy hormone” serotonin. It also has high fiber content that promotes digestive health and it digests slowly. This means that it provides energy while preventing blood sugar spikes that can throw off your mood.

Eating a banana gives your body what it needs to easily synthesize serotonin. Lazy Plant.

29. Banana

Banana contains plenty of amino acids, B vitamins, and tryptophan that all play a role in serotonin production. The levels of serotonin in your brain greatly affect mood and deficiencies of serotonin are related to conditions like anxiety and Major Depressive disorder. Plus, the natural sugars provide a boost of sustainable energy to increase alertness.

Add bananas, Greek yogurt, and flavor from berries, peanut butter, or other fruits. Kristine’s Kitchen.

The B vitamins in bananas work with the tryptophan, which is a precursor to the hormone serotonin. They also provide the energy needed to move it through the blood-brain barrier so it can improve mood. As an added benefit, banana is a starchy fruit that takes longer to digest so it prevents blood sugar spikes.

Avocados are great for heart health and can boost your mood. Psychologies.UK.

30. Avocado

When it comes to mood, avocadoes help because of their high levels of folate and Vitamin B5. Vitamin B5 plays a critical role in the function of the adrenal glands and hormone production. Folate, on the other hand, helps with the production of serotonin and dopamine that regulate mood.

Bake an egg in an avocado and top with bacon or hot sauce to make a yummy avocado boat. Delish.

Avocado also contains high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats fight inflammation, protect the cells and the brain, and even improve heart and digestive health. They even fight cancer. Omega-3 fats also have protective benefits for the brain and prevent damage caused to brain cells by mood disorders.

Walnuts contain ALA, polyphenols, and other mood-boosting components. Hindustan Times.

31. Walnuts

With the wide range of nutrients, antioxidants, and healthy fats found in walnuts, they are arguably one of the best foods for boosting mood. There was even a recent study where eating walnuts every day was linked to a better overall sense of well-being. This is no surprise with so many nutrients that help with hormone regulation.

Add walnuts to trail mix or turn them into walnut butter. Alphafoodie.

Walnuts contain antioxidants, including polyphenols, ALA, and Vitamin E. They also contain healthy fats like avocadoes and other vitamins and minerals for a nutritional punch. Polyphenols and ALA both work to regulate hormones in the body and the antioxidant properties of walnuts fight inflammation. They also contain dietary fiber that provides energy for the body and promotes gut and digestive health.

Cottage cheese provides a healthy source of energy and supports your thyroid.
Greatist.

32. Cottage Cheese

We’ve all heard that rumor that dairy products are “bad” for you. However, it’s one of those things that has benefits when you’re choosing the right kind of dairy and cottage cheese meets that mark. Not only is it high in calcium and protein, but it also has Vitamin B12. All of these work together to boost energy.

Cottage cheese can be topped with sweet or savory toppings. The Almond Eater.

Cottage cheese also has natural electrolytes that occur because of the selenium content. Selenium plays a big role in thyroid health. Since your thyroid plays such a big role in balancing and producing hormones, it’s critical to maintaining a healthy mood. It also stops selenium deficiency that results in depression in some people.

Choline found in chickpeas has been linked to overall mood because of its role in brain and nervous system function. Medical News Today.

33. Chickpeas

Chickpeas contain about one-third of an adult’s recommended daily protein intake and almost half of the recommended amount of fiber. This provides long-lasting energy and stabilizes blood sugar levels, which prevents mood swings that come along with blood sugar spikes. Plus, there is a good amount of tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin.

Use chickpeas to make a creamy hummus. Shutterstock.

Chickpeas also have a healthy dose of choline. Choline plays a critical role in the nervous system and brain and how well it functions. It’s been heavily studied for its link to overall mood with finding suggesting that it helps. One study found that choline effectively treats bipolar disorder in some people.

Kefir nourishes the digestive tract and mind. Nutra Ingredients.

34. Kefir

The benefit of kefir comes down to the link between gut health and brain health. Fermented foods like kefir are one of the best things that you can eat to encourage a healthy digestive tract. Many hormones, including an estimated 90% of serotonin molecules, are made in the digestive tract.

Drink Kefir as is or add it to recipes like these overnight oats.Nourish Every Day.

In lab tests, it was found that consuming kefir and other fermented foods significantly improved the body’s ability to produce GABA, an important hormone that plays a big role in managing mood and the way we handle stress. Decreased levels are seen in people with depression, anxiety, and mood disorders.

Saffron is rich in anti-inflammatory compounds like crocin, picrocrocin, and safranal.
Medical News Today.

35. Saffron

Saffron has loads of antioxidants that reduce oxidative damage and protect the brain. Research also shows that saffron increases the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain without affecting other hormone levels to bring about a better sense of well-being. Dopamine also plays a big role in how well you handle stress.

Saffron adds flavor to dishes like this shrimp paella.
Clean Eating Magazine.

The way that you react to stress and your body’s physical response does take a toll on mental health. Stress can also make mood disorders, depression, and anxiety worse. According to one study, saffron is so effective that it works as well as anti-depressants like Prozac. However, it does this without the risk of side effects.

Tryptophan found in pistachios can be synthesized by the body to make serotonin.
Better Me.

36. Pistachios

Full of protein, dietary fiber, and healthy fats, pistachios are a great snack with a low glycemic load. This means that when you eat them, they help stabilize blood sugar as well as blood sugar spikes that affect mood. As an added benefit, unsaturated fats in pistachios lower cholesterol and encourage heart health.

Use pistachios to add crunch to the outside of a piece of salmon.
Aubrey’s Kitchen.

Another benefit for mood is the tryptophan in pistachios. Tryptophan is synthesized by the body to produce the hormone serotonin. Pistachios are also full of B vitamins that provide the body with the energy they need to carry out tasks like synthesizing serotonin. There’s any energy boost for your brain, too.

Peanut butter is great for energy and even better for your mood.
The Butter Nut Company.

37. Natural Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is another source of tryptophan that helps regulate the hormones serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin manages mood and melatonin encourages sleep, which is important for mental health. Peanut butter is also full of potassium and magnesium that regulate fluids so hormones travel from areas like the gut and the thyroid to the brain.

Peanut butter and apples are an energizing snack.
Shutterstock.

Peanut butter contains natural sugars, as well as nutrients like iron, protein, fats, and fiber that give your body sustainable energy. The natural sweetness can also be used to curb carb cravings and stabilize blood sugar so you don’t have mood swings. This makes it a great choice for breakfast.

Eating soaked almonds has incredible mood and brain benefits.
Aims India.

38. Almonds

Almonds are full of polyunsaturated fats that help the body release serotonin and polyphenols that stop the brain from experiencing signs of aging, whether from old age or chronic mental illness. Polyunsaturated fats also help stabilize mood and improve digestive health, two things that help with mental health and your overall sense of well-being.

These almond granola bars are a tasty mood-boosting snack.
Foodie Crush.

Another benefit of almonds is their high tryptophan content, which assists the body in producing serotonin. For the most benefit, you’ll want to soak and peel almonds before eating them. The brown coating on the outside of almonds contains tannins that stop the body from absorbing all those nutrients found in them, particularly the polyunsaturated fats.

Raspberries encourage the brain to release “feel-good” hormones.
Health Fitness Revolution.

39. Raspberries

One of the biggest benefits for mood when it comes to raspberries is their anthocyanin content. Anthocyanins are found in a lot of different berries and raspberries contain a high dose. These antioxidants are known for their ability to encourage the brain to release “feel-good” hormones like dopamine and serotonin.

Raspberry chia pudding is a tasty snack that feels like dessert.
Yummy Inspirations.

Raspberries are also an incredible anti-inflammatory and protect the cells and brain from oxidative damage. While oxidative damage happens naturally as you age, it also worsens with mental health problems and stress. Raspberries in particular have one of the greatest antioxidant content of fruit. It’s even ten times greater than what you’d find in a tomato.

Matcha contains L-Theanine which positively affects mood. Healthline.

40. Matcha

Matcha is another superfood that can boost mood because of its high antioxidant content. The antioxidants found in matcha are called catechins. Catechins fight inflammation throughout the body and improve blood flow. Better blood flow means it’s easier for the energizing effects of matcha to start working.

The blueberries mellow some of the matcha flavor in this tasty smoothie. As Easy As Apple Pie.

Matcha is energizing because it contains a small amount of  caffeine and energy-boosting L-Theanine. L-Theanine encourages the brain to release serotonin, dopamine, and GABA, all of them working to boost mood. The neurotransmitter is also known for helping with stress response and relaxation, though it does contain some caffeine. This helps you relax without getting drowsy.

Wine improves gut health, fights depression, and can help you relax. Eating Well.

41. Wine

Wine offers some of the same benefits as kefir because it’s a fermented product full of probiotics that feed the good bacteria in the gut. It’s also full of antioxidants that fight oxidation and inflammation. Wine even offers protection from conditions like Alzheimer’s. Wine quality matters, though. Natural wine contains probiotics while most commercial wines have them filtered out.

Sharing a glass of wine with friends is a great way to relax. Shutterstock.

A glass of wine is also a great way to relax and unwind at the end of the day. While excessive drinking has risks, drinking wine a few nights each week improves mood and mental health by reducing stress. Stress affects things like how we handle problems, mood stability, and our ability to get a good night’s sleep.

Cashews contain lots of tryptophan, B vitamins, and healthy fats.
Hospitality Health ER.

42. Cashews

Like many other nuts on this list, cashews contain depression-fighting tryptophan that helps boost mood stability and serotonin production. Their high level of magnesium also supports thyroid health. Plus, cashews have lots of B vitamins that boost metabolism and provide energy to send mood-stabilizing hormones where they need to go.

Casher chicken is a yummy mood-boosting food. Averie Cooks.

Research shows that just a handful or two of cashews is more than enough tryptophan to help stabilize mood, as well as people with anxiety and depression. Some other benefits include improved cholesterol, heart health, and blood sugar levels because of the healthy fats. Cashews also contain fiber that supports digestive health.

Some of the benefits of fig include digestive health, better cholesterol, and improved mood. Medicine Net.

43. Figs

Figs are a powerhouse of nutrients and also contain pectin, which absorbs cholesterol from the bloodstream and removes it from the body as waste. Veins are wider with cholesterol out of the way, which keeps blood flowing and makes it easier for your body to get nutrients and mood-boosting hormones where they need to go.

Roasting figs in the oven gives them a deep, rich flavor. Give Recipe.

Figs also contain tryptophan, which helps with hormone production and benefits sleep. Sleep is critical to positive mood and mental health because it’s important for the body feeling rested enough to carry out tasks on a cellular level. Figs also have high fiber content that prevents mood swings associated with fluctuating blood sugar levels.

Watermelon is 92% water, as well as amino acids and electrolytes that help balance mood. India Today.

44. Watermelon

Watermelon is incredibly hydrating, being made up of 92% water. In addition to water, this fruit contains electrolytes including potassium and magnesium. As electrolytes balance fluid levels in the body, it’s easier for nutrients and important mood-balancing hormones to be moved around as they should.

Add watermelon and berries to a fruit salad for an instant mood boost.

Despite being low in calories, watermelon is also full of Vitamin A and important amino acids that affect hormone production. It also contains fiber to encourage digestive health, natural sugars for a boost of energy, and amino acids tha help wih the production of hormones. Watermelon also contains Vitamin B6, which helps boost mood in individuals with deficiencies.

Lycopene in tomatoes reduces depression-causing compounds in the brain. Women’s Weekly.

45. Tomatoes

One of the biological causes of depression is the presence of certain inflammatory compounds in the brain. Researchers are not yet sure what causes this inflammation, however, it is known the antioxidant lycopene found in tomatoes reduces these compounds. Lycopene is responsible for giving tomatoes their red color.

Tomato sauce is a great way to get the nutrients from tomatoes. Shutterstock.

Tomatoes also promote a healthy gut microbiome and digestive tract because of their fiber content. They also contain vitamins and minerals that support the production of happy hormones, including iron, folate, Vitamin B6, and magensium. Their natural sugars and B vitamins are also great for an energy boost.

Guava is full of B vitamins that help with the synthesis of hormones. One Green Planet.

46. Guava

Tropical fruits like guava are typically associated with being good for immunity because of their high Vitamin C content. However, these antioxidants also work to fight inflammation through the body. Guava also contains plenty of B vitamins that give the cells energy to do what they need to do, including regulating your mood.

This strawberry guava smoothie is a little taste of paradise. Recipe Blog.

Eating guava also gives you a dose of many different micronutrients that play a big role in how the body produces hormones that regulate mood. Guava also contains magnesium that supports the thyroid for hormone health. It also has lots of fiber for digestive and gut health.

Beetroot helps remove toxins from the body that could have negative effects on mental health. Stirring Change.

47. Beetroot

Beetroot is full of powerful pigments that work to detoxify the body. The buildup of certain toxins and heavy metals happens naturally over time from exposure to things in the food we eat and our environment. Many of these cause problems like poor mood, anxiety, depression, and mood disorders.

Roasted beets make a flavorful, mood-boosting side.
Healthy Seasonal Recipes.

Beetroot is also high in fiber to help move those toxins along the digestive tract. In addition to getting rid of bad toxins that cause problems with mood, beetroot is high in betaine. Betaine regulates hormones in the body and is involved in the synthesis of serotonin. By raising serotonin levels, mood naturally improves.

Swiss chard packs a big nutritional punch that helps prevent vitamin deficiencies that affect mood.
Medical News Today.

48. Swiss Chard

As we’ve learned already, there are a lot of micronutrient deficiencies that cause mood imbalance and worsen symptoms of anxiety, depression, and mood disorders. Swiss chard is full of vitamins, minerals, and various micronutrients that the body needs to keep functioning as it should. This makes it a great added vegetable for a big nutritional punch.

Saute Swiss chard with some aromatics for a nutrition-packed side.
Cook Smarts.

In addition to helping prevent vitamin deficiencies, swiss chard also contains selenium, B-vitamins, and other nutrients important to hormone synthesis. It has a high fiber content that supports gut health and the selenium is beneficial to thyroid health. Plus, Swiss chard is rich in B vitamins that provide energy.

Raisins provide hormone support and boost energy levels.
My Balance Meals.

49. Raisins

Keeping a steady energy level through the day plays a big role in mood, especially since blood sugar spikes also cause highs and lows. Raisins contain 29 grams of natural sugar in a single cup, making them a great choice for a pick-me-up. Plus, they are full of fiber that digests slowly and helps sustain, all while promoting digestive tract health.

Add raisins to trail mix for an easy snack.
Our Happy Mess.

Raisins are also full of nutrients like iron and calcium, minerals like magnesium and selenium, and powerful antioxidants that fight inflammation. Iron and calcium support healthy red blood cells while antioxidants improve bloodflow. Magnesium and selenium have been closely linked to mood because of their influence on the thyroid as well.

Apricots are full of vitamins and nutrients that support a positive mood.
BaBa Mail.

50. Apricot

Apricots contain lycopene like tomatoes. Lycopene reduces reduces levels of inflammatory markers found in the brain that have been linked to depression. They also benefit mood because of their tryptophan content, which the body synthesizes into serotonin. Furthermore, the antioxidant powers fight inflammation to improve bloodflow and move serotonin where it needs to go.

Roasted apricots taste great over granola with a little Greek yogurt or whipped cream.
SBS.

Apricot is also full of digestive fiber that keeps your gut healthy. It’s high content of B vitamins and natural sugars make apricots a great mid-day snack to boost your mood naturally. Plus, the iron found in apricots is critical in the production of red blood cells and preventing anemia, which can result in mental symptoms like worsened anxiety and depression.

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