There has always been an intimate relationship between good food and good mood. Imagine a weekend; you are going to have a dinner arranged at your favorite local restaurant where you are served the finest food ever. You eat and savor, and suddenly feel exalted, happy and rejoiced. Even not knowing what has happened at the molecular level, does not interfere with the overall effect of good food on your behavior and mood.
According to some researchers, our guts and brains live in each other’s neighborhood and are deeply connected to each other. The nerve, known as Vagus nerve, originates from our brains and innervates our guts, wrapping it all around just like a knitted sweater. The digestion of food depends on normal function of this cranial nerve. But, it’s essential function is to ensure the vital connection between the brain and the gut.
Foods that elevate mood and alleviate depression are most of the time simple foods that we take in our daily meals, such as eggs, yogurt, cauliflower, cheese, bananas, garlic, onions, beans, nuts, fish, strawberries, meat etc.
To begin with, yogurt is a probiotic which is necessary for resetting our gut microbiom. Our guts are home for useful bacteria, producing some of the very important vitamins for us. Probiotics, such as yogurt promotes the growth of these bacteria, and in return they produce vitamins which reduce depression in humans. For instance, the deficiency of Vitamin B12 and B9, also known as folate, can cause loss of normal brain function and lead to depression and bad mood.
Conversely, prebiotics are the foods which promote the growth of probiotics. As a result of breakdown of prebiotics by probiotics, short-chain fatty acids are formed that alleviate the inflammation of the gut, kill carcinogenic cells and nourish healthy cells. Beans, garlic, and onions are some of the medically important prebiotics.
Eggs, bananas, nuts, and fish are rich in Iron, Magnesium, and Zinc, minerals that play a vital role in brain function. Ignoring these foods in your daily diet may result in deficiencies of these minerals, and consequently resulting in depression.
Another vital component of our diet is Omega 3 fatty acids, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and docosaenoic acid ( DHA ). A deficiency of these Omega 3s can culminate in mood disorders. As our body cannot produce these acids on its own, a constant external supply of these acids can guard us from brain function deterioration. Omega 3 fatty acid containing foods include walnuts, cold water fish such as, salmon, tuna, and herring, eggs and yogurt.
Besides, there are various spices and seasonings that can help fighting off tissue damage by preventing free radicals and oxidative stress. When these spices are paired with mood boosting foods, there impact doubles. Saffron, Oregano and Turmeric are three of the kind which show antidepressant effects. These all contain active ingredients such as carvacrol, and curcumin which are neuroprotective and antidepressant in nature.