Monday, July 11, 2011

Foods that BOOST your Mood! We're not joking!

Be HAPPY with what you eat this summer! No…literally…you will be happy after eating any of these foods!

Did you know that eating certain foods can actually make us feel happier? Dark chocolate is a well-known advocate for boosting positive mood. The ingredients in chocolate contain tryptophan, which acts like serotonin, a hormone that plays as a chemical messenger in the brain. Many refer to serotonin as the natural “feel-good” element because of the way they experience a positive mood boost when their serotonin levels are elevated. This is why many anti-depressant medications work to increase serotonin levels when they are considered too low. When people consume chocolate, their brain turns the tryptophan into serotonin, thus creating a sense of relaxation and elevation in mood.

Another great mood-boosting food is the sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are high in low-fat carbohydrates. Just like the tryptophan in chocolate, low-fat carbohydrates allow serotonin to be produced in the brain. Other foods high in low-fat carbohydrates (and happiness) include pastas, breads, peas, beans, whole grains, and other starches.

Are you a fan of spicy foods? Chili peppers and other hot sauces have been found to lift your mood as well. In addition to the increased serotonin levels, chili peppers also boost the level of endorphins, a neurotransmitter chemical, in the brain. Endorphins function like that of the drug morphine on the brain because they dull the brain’s perception of pain, thus causing a feeling of well-being. So not only will your taste buds be happy with what you are eating, but you will be too!

Eating certain types of foods, as mentioned above, can serve many health benefits. They can provide nourishment to our bodies, flavor to our taste buds, and can help boost our moods to a more euphoric state! So next time you are at the grocery store, what will you buy?