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Bad Mood Foods: What to Eat When You’re Down

Bad Mood Foods: What to Eat When You're Down Stack of chocolate chunks with coffee beans on a wooden background, closeup

There’s a scientifically proven connection between your food and your mood. Which means that you can use certain foods to relieve stress and get rid of the blues! Let’s call them bad mood foods: those dietary items you can rely on in a healthy way when you have a negative state of mind.

When I am feeling down and need a little pick me up, I usually feel like eating the most decadent piece of chocolate cake I can find. But then I started researching and realizing that all that sugar is only a temporary fix. For a very short amount of time. And I found out that there are things, healthy ones, we can eat in order to feel better and get our energy levels up. Bad mood foods are not supposed to be the complex carbs, waist-thickening snacks. But healthy and nutritious foods to put us on the right track. Here they are.

6 bad mood foods to make the blues go away

1. Fish

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in abundance in salmon, herring, sardines, and tuna, help ease depressive symptoms. Omega-3s alter brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, which have been linked with mood. Low levels of serotonin have a connection with depression, aggression, and suicidal tendencies. Dopamine is the “reward” chemical that the brain releases in response to experiences that give you pleasure, such as eating or having sex.

Bad Mood Foods: What to Eat When You're Down: Sardines

Salmon isn't the only healthy fatty fish. Sardines have quite similar health benefits.

2. Chocolate

Eating dark chocolate will make you happy! If you eat about 1 ounce (28 grams) of it every day for two weeks, you will see a pretty strong decline in your stress hormones level, including cortisol. This happens because of the antioxidants found in chocolate. Don’t forget that along with the chocolate, you also ingest about 150 calories, so plan accordingly if you’re on a diet.

3. Carbs

Surprised? You don’t have to be. Just remember there are good carbohydrates out there. And according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, people on a very low-carb diet which allowed only a maximum of 40 grams of carbs daily, experienced more depression, anxiety, and anger than people who consumed a lot of whole grains, fruit, and beans.

4. Saffron

A study conducted by the Roozbeh Psychiatric Hospital at Tehran University of Medical Sciences showed that using saffron in your food can be similar to taking Prozac. The condiment apparently takes care of mood swings and depression by making serotonin more available to the brain. You can use it to make sauces or fragrant rice, for starters. Or even simpler, you can make some relaxing saffron tea.

Bad Mood Foods: What to Eat When You're Down: Saffron

Gorgeous saffron has qualities similar to anti-depressants.

5. Iron-rich foods

If you’ve been feeling exhausted for a very long time, then maybe you’re suffering from a bit of iron deficiency, or maybe something more serious like anemia. You should go to the doctor and check that out. But other than that, try consuming shrimp, lean beef, lamb, chicken or turkey (without the skin), or fish and other seafood in 3-ounce (85 grams) portions twice a day. Vegetarians absorb only 10 percent of the iron in their diet, while the animal protein contains a special form of iron called heme, which helps you absorb more iron from veggies like spinach.

6. Pumpkin seeds

They are a very good source of magnesium, which you really need because the stress you’re going through daily tends to deplete your body of this mineral. If you have a magnesium deficiency, you may suffer from inflammation, insomnia, anxiety, poor memory and poor concentration. You can also get your magnesium fix from spinach, almonds, kefir, avocado, dark chocolate, banana, artichokes, seaweed, basil, and coriander.

I’m a pop culture nerd who thinks too much about fried bacon, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and life, the Universe and everything. I love food and sometimes you can see that on my hips, but I don't care that much about that.
What I do care more about is trying to eat healthier, even though I admit that I like to indulge in my food fantasies. I’m addicted to puns, so forgive me for that when you read my articles. I now know too much about nutrition to be fun to hang out with. So long and thanks for all the fish-based omega-3 fatty acids.

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