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Foods Proven to Improve Mood

Managing your mood is an important part of recovery. Depression and anxiety are common triggers of relapse. Keeping yourself in a healthy state of mind is a matter of forming good habits including rational thinking, a healthy routine, and a good diet. There are some foods you can include in your diet to help keep you in a positive mood.

Omega-3s. These fatty oils reduce inflammation and give your brain the raw material it needs to insulate its wiring. As with other nutrients, it’s best to get omega-3s from food sources, which include fatty fish, such as salmon, grass-fed beef, olive oil, avocados, and flax seeds. You can also take supplements in the form of fish oil, krill, oil, or algae omega-3s. The quality of supplements varies greatly, so do your research before buying.

Kale. Dark, leafy greens, such as kale, collard greens, mustard greens, and spinach are packed with vitamins and fiber. Each of these has a different nutritional profile, so it’s best to eat a good variety.

Lentils, beans, and legumes. These are high in folate and zinc, which boost mood. They are also high in protein and fiber, which stabilize blood sugar and prevent dips in mood and focus.

Bananas. Bananas are touted as a good source of serotonin, the feel good neurotransmitter, but actually the serotonin in bananas can’t get into your brain. That’s fine, bananas are also high in vitamin B6, which helps turn food into energy.

Nuts. Nuts like almonds and walnuts are a good source of vitamin E and magnesium, and walnuts are a good source of omega-3s.

Pumpkin seeds. These are high in magnesium, zinc, and omega-3s, all of which have been shown effective in reducing depression.

Asparagus. This is a great source of tryptophan, which is the precursor your brain needs to make serotonin. While tryptophan is known as the chemical in turkey that makes you tired after Thanksgiving dinner, that blame more deservedly goes to the mashed potatoes or that jello thing with the marshmallows.

Whole grains. Whole grains are also good for serotonin production, as well as fiber and a surprising amount of protein, which helps stabilize blood sugar. People on diets high in whole grains have been found to have lower levels of depression.

Green tea. Green tea has high levels of L-theanine, which reduces reduces heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety while increasing alertness.

Berries. Berries, especially blueberries, are high in antioxidants and low in sugar. They have been shown to improve mood and protect the brain from alzheimer’s. They are also a healthy substitute for sweets.

Avoid junk. Half the battle is avoiding foods that make you feel terrible. If you eat half a pizza for dinner, all the kale in the world won’t do much for your mood. In particular, avoid fried foods, which are high in inflammatory omega-6 oils, refined flour and sugar, which cause blood sugar crashes, and excessive salt, which can impair concentration.

Eating well is an essential part of a healthy recovery lifestyle. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and depression, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-828-1050 or email us at to learn more.