A Healthier Microbiome

53 Mood Boosting Foods

Written by Christina Brockett
6 min

53 Mood Boosting Foods

You know you are familiar with the effects of stress on your body, but what can you do about it? Honestly, it boils down to a few dietary and lifestyle changes.

Diet Changes

You can start by eating foods that expand and diversify gut bacteria, short-chain fatty acids, and overall gut health. It would help if you increase your intake of the following foods: 

→ Fruits, especially avocados, bananas, apples, and kiwifruit 
→ Vegetables, especially garlic, onions, and asparagus
→ Whole grains
Fermented foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, and kimchee
→ Lentils
→ Beans
→ Bone broth
→ Limited red meat

While the above foods help with gut health, foods that may drive up inflammation should be eliminated because they can act as chronic stressors to the body. To diminish inflammation, consider avoiding or reducing the following:

→ Sugar, including table sugar and high fructose corn syrup
→ Refined carbohydrates like cookies, cakes, and white bread
→ Processed foods with many ingredients and food colorings
→ Fried foods
Caffeine, which may increase inflammation in some people
→ Alcohol
→ Sodium

One area not mentioned above is inflammatory foods. If you are consuming food and notice it does not agree with you, this may be a sign that it is driving up inflammation in your body. Inflammation can act as a physical stressor, compounding the overall effects of everyday stress. These foods may vary by individual, but many people may react to one or more of the foods below:

→ Eggs
→ Dairy
→ Nightshades, such as potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers
→ Wheat and other gluten-containing grains (semolina, farina, durum, einkorn, emmer, Graham, Kamut, spelt, farro, barley, rye, and triticale)

Joint aches, headaches, skin changes, digestive changes, anxiety, and irritability may indicate sensitivity to a particular food. If similar symptoms develop when you eat a specific food, then try avoiding it for a while to see if your symptoms improve. If you feel better, you may need to avoid eating the food entirely or significantly minimize its consumption.

What foods help replenish depleted vitamins and minerals?

Feeling overwhelmed can lead to more than just poor food choices. All the stress you've experienced can affect your immune system and deplete your body with essential vitamins and nutrients like vitamin b and c, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. However, a collection of essential nutrients and vitamin supplements can promote your gut health to replenish your body's needs.

B vitamins include biotin (B7), cobalamin (B12), folate (B9), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), riboflavin (B2), and thiamine (B1). The B vitamins often exist within foods together and several, like B6, B12, and folate, work together in the body.

These vitamins are essential for making the body’s cells function properly and help with energy production, creating new blood cells, DNA and RNA, nerve function, and neurotransmitters. Imbalances with neurotransmitters impact mood, which negatively impacts stress levels. Given this, you must have adequate amounts of these vitamins. While healthy gut bacteria can make some of these nutrients, the following foods are excellent dietary sources of them:

→ Avocados
→ Bananas
→ Broccoli
→ Brussel Sprouts
→ Spinach
→ Navy beans
→ Asparagus
→ Mushrooms
→ Nuts, such as hazelnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, and cashews
→ Seeds
→ Whole grains
→ Chicken
→ Fish, like salmon and tuna
→ Liver

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant. Unlike many animals, humans cannot make it on their own. We find Vitamin C in a variety of fruits and vegetables, such as:

→ Oranges
→ Grapefruit
→ Kiwifruit
→ Red peppers
→ Broccoli
→ Tomatoes
→ Spinach

Magnesium is a critical mineral in the body, and we store much of it in skeletal and muscle tissue. Over 300 different chemical reactions in the body depend on magnesium. Foods rich in magnesium include:

→ Brown rice
→ Avocados
→ Raw pumpkin seeds
→ Brazil nuts
→ Leafy greens, such as spinach and Swiss chard 
→ Broccoli
→ Almonds
→ Quinoa
→ Beans
→ Raisins
→ Tofu

Potassium is a mineral that helps regulate the electrolyte balance in the body. Potassium-rich foods include:

→ Tomato juice
→ Avocados
→ Prunes
→ Figs
→ Watermelon
→ Bananas
→ Potatoes
→ Soybeans

Zinc is another powerhouse mineral. Nearly 300 enzymatic reactions in the body depend on it. Additionally, it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions. The following foods are excellent sources of zinc:

→ Oysters
→ Eggs
→ Beef 
→ Pork
→ Turkey 
→ Pumpkin seeds
→ Pecans
→ Cashews
→ Lentils
→ Garbanzo beans
→ Pork
→ Turkey 
→ Green peas

Lifestyle Interventions for Stress Management

You feel stressed. Now what? The first step toward stress management is identifying the sources of stress and eliminating or minimizing them. Everyday chronic stressors include:

→ Relationship issues
→ Work issues
→ Finances
→ Loneliness
→ Traumatic events
→ Social media
→ Unsettling news
→ Chronic health issues

There will always be day-to-day challenges. However, you don't want these obstacles to turn into chronic stress, leading to health issues. Want to reduce stress and increase resilience? Then try incorporating one or more of the lifestyle interventions below for stress-relief:

→ Aim for 7-9 hours a night of sleep
→ Meditate alone or guided via an app
→ Physical activity and walking outside in nature
→ Talk to a counselor
→ Socialize with friends
→ Listen to music
→ Practice controlled breathing like Dr. Weil’s “4-7-8”
→ Positively reframe negative self-talk
→ Practice yoga
→ Practice Tai Chi or Qi Gong
→ Gently exercise
→ Start a gratitude journal
→ Use wearable stress reduction devices
→ Practice heart-rate variability management

Stress management doesn’t come down to one thing. Instead, it would be best to experiment with different dietary and lifestyle changes to find what works to reduce the risk of long-term stress within your life and at your pace.

Dig Deeper Into Your Gut Health

If you want to dig deeper and learn more about your body, a gut microbiome test can show; a need for vitamins or minerals and gut health. A test will help you understand if any of these things act as indirect stressors in your body. Many tests are available directly to the consumer for use at home. Once empowered with information, you can make a more precise plan to improve stress management achieving your desired optimal health goals.

Take the guesswork out of your gut health. Take a Gut+ microbiome test to begin your health journey today!

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