Food for mood: If done right, food can be a great happiness hack!

Eating chocolates can only temporarily uplift your mood. Here is the diet you need to follow for a happy heart and a healthy body.
A woman eating a dessert
Healthy eating and balanced meals can help with cravings during PMS. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Manasvi Jain Published: 19 Jul 2022, 08:59 am IST
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We have all heard about stress eating or emotional eating and have often indulged in these too. If you have had a long working week, then by the weekend all you want to do is relax and have some lip-smacking, feel good food like ice-creams and pizza. Yeah, that sure looks like a weekend. Food is definitely a way to make us happy but we have been going about it the wrong way. So, come let’s find out how food affects your mood!

When we are having a down day and want to uplift our mood with good food, we tend to indulge in unhealthy junk food! This gives us temporary happiness. But later becomes a reason for us to feel lazy and unproductive.

What we eat to uplift our moods needs to be healthy for our overall well-being. A recent study has found out that eating lots of fruits and veggies is correlated with a substantial gain in mental well-being, happiness, and overall life satisfaction. During the study, individuals who consumed eight or more servings of fruits and vegetables had higher life satisfaction.

food for good mood
Having fruits can make you happy! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Since no one particular diet food can be right for all, it is important to understand the science behind the food. It plays a vital role in nourishing your mind and soul and making you feel happy. We all have cravings and many times we end up eating the wrong food just to satiate our minds and body.

There are certain food combinations and nutrients that can help elevate your mood while others can wipe out your energy levels, so be careful what you eat when you get food cravings.

What foods can improve your mood

HealthShots spoke to Dr. Sandeep Vohra, a mental health specialist at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, to know about the kinds of food that can keep us alive and kicking. Here’s what he suggests!

food cravings
Curbing your cravings with junk food? Think again. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

1. Complex carbohydrates

A combination of complex carbohydrates with proteins and colorful fresh vegetables can help elevate your mood. Dr Vohra says, “Foods like sweet potatoes, quinoa, and oat leads to an increase in a feel-good chemical called ‘serotonin’ in the brain and makes you feel calm and happy.”

2. Protein-rich foods

On the other hand, protein-rich foods like fish, beef, chicken, turkey, cottage cheese, beans, eggs, tofu etc. results in high levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. These chemicals play a vital role in good mood, motivation, and increased concentration.

3. Fruits and vegetables

Necessary vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can be obtained from colorful fruits and vegetables. These help in nourishing your mind and soul and make you feel happy.

4. Sea food

“The Mediterranean Diet — rich in omega-3, unrefined foods, and naturally produced vegetables and legumes can help cure acute depression,” says Dr Vohra.

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Necessary nutrients for a healthy and happy mood

There are several nutrients that should be a part of your regular diet because they are a major source to keep you healthy and elevate your mood at all times. These are—iron, folate, vitamin C, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), selenium, magnesium, vitamins A, B6, B12, thiamine, zinc and potassium.

The expert says that we should always make sure to avoid foods that can lead us to feel mentally drained out. Highly processed foods, packed snacks, and ready-to-cook packed meals might be a convenient option in our busy schedules, but these foods have a very low nutritional value and don’t give you enough energy to keep going. Dr Vohra suggests that these food items can be consumed once in a while but their regular consumption can lead to low energy levels, leaving you unhappy and cranky.

As it turns out, food is not something to just fill our stomachs. What we eat can be a huge cause of the mood we are in, so follow this diet to stay happy!

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About the Author

Manasvi Jain is a professional writer with a keen interest in spreading awareness about various health and wellness issues through her articles. She writes well researched articles by connecting with various doctors and health experts. ...Read More

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