May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the perfect time to reflect on the powerful connection between what we eat and how we feel. You are what you eat (literally!). The food on your plate has a direct connection to your brain health. And the choices you make at every meal impact your energy levels, your mood, and even stress and anxiety.

How Does Food Impact Your Mood?

So, how exactly does food affect our mood? The latest research provides us with a clear understanding of the complex mechanisms at play. 

  • Brain Health:  Eating high-quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourishes the brain and protects it from oxidative stress. Some of these include B vitamins for energy production, healthy fats for focus and memory, and amino acids (from protein) for neurotransmitter production, the chemical messengers that regulate mood and sleep.  
  • Gut-Brain Connection: Our gut microbiome, the trillions of bacteria living in our intestines, communicates with our brain. Eating a balanced diet rich in fiber (think fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) helps nourish these gut microbes, promoting the production of beneficial neurotransmitters and potentially reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Blood Sugar Balance: Spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels can significantly impact mood and energy. Choosing complex carbohydrates (whole grains) and healthy proteins helps regulate blood sugar, keeping your mood and energy stable throughout the day.

The Top 3 Superfoods to Lift Your Mood

Top 3 Superfoods to Lift Your Mood

Don’t underestimate the power of these superfoods:

Olive Oil
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which studies suggest may help protect brain cells from damage. It is also a source of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that can contribute to a more balanced mood.

Leafy Greens
Kale and other dark, leafy greens contain vitamins B, E, K, folate, and L-tyrosine. These nutrients can help improve memory and mental focus, regulate mood, and promote overall well-being. 

Berries like blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries are loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants help to reduce inflammation in the body, which can contribute to a positive mood. Additionally, berries are a source of natural sugars that can give you a quick energy boost without the crash of processed sweets. 

Interested in more mood boosting foods? Check out these Brain Boost Granola Cookies?