How Does Food Affect Our Mood?

How Does Food Affect Our Mood

By Jenna Howe

Did you know that there are neurochemicals in foods that affect our brains? It’s true! We can use foods as natural ‘prescriptions’ for our moods. Certain foods help increase serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in our brains. Serotonin is like sunshine for your brain. This neurochemical improves your mood, makes your immune system stronger, and helps regulate your sleep schedule and appetite.

Foods that aid in the release of serotonin include:

  • Brown rice
  • Chickpeas
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Berries
  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Kiwi
  • Pineapple
  • Sour cherries
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Walnuts
  • Dark chocolate
  • Tomatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Plums

Norepinephrine is a stabilizer. It helps to regulate emotions such as anger and anxiety, so we stay balanced. Foods that aid in norepinephrine production include:

  • Asparagus
  • Quinoa
  • Steel-cut oats
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Avocado
  • Cheddar and cottage cheese
  • Raw cacao powder
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Tempeh
  • Guava
  • Lemons
  • Berries
  • Yams
  • Goji berries
  • Apricots
  • Watermelon
  • Pears
  • Papaya
  • Apples

Dopamine is the neurochemical responsible for our feelings of satisfaction. When you’re satisfied, you can fight against addiction and restlessness with less  struggle. You can also keep yourself motivated and focused.

Foods that increase dopamine levels include:

  • Beets
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Prunes
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Honey
  • Licorice
  • Peppermint tea
  • Green tea
  • Cucumber
  • Leafy greens
  • Celery
  • Peppers
  • All types of beans
  • Avocado

When we take good care of our bodies and are mindful of the food we put into them, the results will show! By taking your diet and nutrition into account, you are playing an active role in your health and wellness.

Nutrition and exercise go hand in hand. If you’re experiencing chronic pain or trying to heal from an injury, sometimes it won’t matter what you’re eating. If you can’t get up and move your body, only half of the work is being done towards recovery!