The food you eat fuels your body, but it also does much more. Certain foods are known to affect mood levels and emotional responses. Here are just a few foods that scientific research has found to affect people in profound ways:
1 – Chocolate
Chocolate contains very small concentrations of compounds that act as stimulants and even as psychoactive agents. Anandamines in chocolate stimulate the brain in much the same way as phenyethylamine, tyramine and cannabis. This effect can help to alleviate depression, anger, boredom or fatigue.
2 – Caffeine
Coffee’s ability to increase alertness and focus is legendary. Scientists now understand that the caffeine in coffee or cola drinks blocks adenosine receptors in the brain, which can lift mood, reduce drowsiness and relieve headaches.
3 – Fish
Fish as brain food has been a standard truism, but the science backs up its reputation as a brain enhancer. Fish contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, sources of docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid. These are critical compounds in brain development and can help to regulate mood.
4 – Turkey
The compound in turkey that makes you sleepy after a big Thanksgiving meal can also be used to regulate mood. Tryptophan changes the concentration of amino acids in the bloodstream, which then stimulates serotonin synthesis to produce a feeling of relaxation and calm.
5 – Blueberries
Blueberries are touted for their antioxidant content, which can help fight disease, but these brightly colored berries also contain compounds that can make you feel happier. The anthocyanins in blueberries can help to block enzymes that contribute to anxiety and depression.
6 – Spinach
7 – Beans
Beans are one of a number of foods that are high in folate. Scientific research has found that depression is linked to low folate levels. Increase your consumption of protein-rich beans can help to ward off the blues.
8 – Greek Yogurt
9 – Banana
10 – Whole-wheat Bread
If the winter doldrums have you down, eat a slice of whole-wheat bread, which contains healthy carbohydrates for energy and compounds that increase dopamine in the brain to help regulate your emotions.