Eat Happy: Foods that Boost your Mood
When it comes to happiness, we usually take into account a series of outside factors – job satisfaction, relationships, and their likes – but ignore one of the most obvious things: food. Each day, we introduce a variety of substances in our system, which all have their effects on our well-being – mental and physical alike. So, it seems obvious that it’s possible to “eat happy” to feed on the foods that improve our mood the most. This relationship has been explored in-depth by French journalist Marie-Laurence Grézaud and ER doctor Bernard Fontanille in their book, Ces aliments qui rendent heureux.
According to the book, certain foods are beneficial beyond keeping us alive. Some of them have certain substances that boost our mood and make us happier in the long run. The key to happiness is a hormone called serotonin – the more of it we have in our system, the better our mood. And certain foods, like monkfish, liver, or salted cod, have precursors of this substance, which makes them a perfect choice for an “eat happy” diet.
The authors have proposed to change our views on certain foods, and look at them froma different perspective. They singled out avocado, for example, which was for a long time considered undesirable thanks to its high fat content. Today, in turn, it is appreciated not only for its heart-protecting effects, but also for its morale-boosting properties. Avocados are high in tyrosine, a precursor for dopamine and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters usually improve not only our desire to socialize, but also our libido. Besides, the high magnesium content in avocados makes it an effective weapon against stress.
Bananas are praised for their tryptophan content – it is an amino acid that our body converts into serotonin, our main mood stabilizer. Chocolate, especially the variety with at least 60% cocoa in it, is also praised for its capacity to make our brain function more efficiently, thanks to theobromine, a mild stimulant found in cocoa, with effects similar to caffeine. Last, but not least, the authors praise saffron, a bright yellow “spice of happiness”, with a whole series of positive effects: antispasmodic, tonic, analgesic, and so on.
What foods can cause depression?
There are foods that can cancel out the above mentioned morale-boosting effects. Among them, our long-time enemies, refined sugar and carbs. These have been found to not only boost your fat deposits, but also contribute to depression, as they use up the Vitamin B6 reserves in your body.