Happy Food!

Did you know that food and happiness are related? I’m not talking about how comfort foods make us happy in the moment. I’m talking about how essential vitamins and minerals from whole foods can boost your long-term mood!

The brain releases certain chemicals that control are mood. In order to increase happiness, we normally talk about serotonin and dopamine. The brain needs a little help in order to produce these feel-good chemicals. In order to have a healthy serotonin and dopamine production, you need adequate amounts of the B-Vitamins and essential amino acids (protein!).

Serotonin is generically associated with happiness or a positive mood. For increased serotonin production, you need adequate amounts of the amino acid tryptophan. To find this in food form, look for foods high in protein, iron, riboflavin, and B-6. This nutrient can be found abundantly in the following foods:

  • Pineapples
  • Tofu
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

Dopamine is associated with drive and motivation. It makes you want to get out of bed in the morning and pursue your list of challenging goals! For increased dopamine production, we look for the amino acid tyrosine. To increase your intake of tyrosine, try the following foods:

  • Almonds
  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Beets
  • Chocolate!!
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Oatmeal
  • Sea vegetables
  • Turmeric

Of course, you can always find supplements with these nutrients. They are usually advertised as “mood boosting” supplements. However, know that your body is much more likely to absorb the nutrient when taken in whole food form, rather than a synthesized nutrient.