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Five Foods that will Help Improve Your Mood

Chocolate is delicious and good for you!
Chocolate is delicious and good for you!Yahoo Images

Do you feel down in the dumps more often than you want to? Have you been looking for ways to improve your mood but don't want to take a bunch of pills every day or see a therapist twice a week? One of the ways professionals recommend for improving your mood comes in the form of simply changing the food you eat. As with any ailment, physical or mental, taking good care of your general health will improve any problematic health condition.

Healthy food includes meat and vegetables
Healthy food includes meat and vegetablesYahoo Images

This article will provide you with five suggested foods that can help lift your mood. If you already eat some of these and have never noticed a mood improvement, try one of the others and always remember - think positive!

1 - This is the number one choice of many depressed women (and men - admit it, guys!) - Chocolate! Did you know that it isn't just the delicious taste of our favorite bit of chocolate that makes our tummies and minds happy. It's a scientific thing. A study done in Switzerland (how appropriate!) reports that a little over an ounce of dark chocolate every day for a period of two weeks will reduce cortisol and other stress hormone levels. Of course, you have to be careful with this recommendation, so that you don't end up adding stress when you discover extra pounds on the scale.

2 - Hope you like fish! The second suggestion on this list is to eat fatty, oily fish like tuna, rainbow trout, sardines or salmon, and mussels to bolster your level of omega-3s. Omega-3s provide our bodies with an essential mood-boosting nutrient that it does not automatically produce. Fish is also known to lift dopamine levels and lower serotonin levels. Dopamine is a chemical that causes a pleasurable response to different life experiences. When the level of serotonin reaches a low level, it can cause depression, high stress and anxiety.

3 - Have you heard of Saffron? A recent study done by an Iranian psychiatric hospital showed that this is another healthy food that will have the same effect as prescription antidepressants such as Prozac and Tofranil. A group of women given 1 mg of saffron capsules daily during two menstrual cycles were asked to keep track of any symptoms they experienced. At the end of the experiment, three quarters of the women reported their symptoms had declined by half, if not more. And this was with just a tiny amount of saffron per day. Imagine what adding it to your meal could do.

4 - Maybe depression and stress aren't the battles you face. You could be experiencing a tired sensation, mild fatigue or a general lack of energy. One of the best things to consume when you feel like this is tea. It can be green, black, oolong, cold or hot, sweet or unsweet. As long as you don't drink Sleepytime or herbal tea, you should quickly feel perked up and alert. Tea contains a specific amino acid called theanine that works with caffeine to brighten the mood and awaken the brain.

5 - Last on this list but certainly not the last healthy food you can consume to lift your mood is coconut. It is a scientific fact that when you are stressed, just the scent of coconut will help you calm down and your heart rate will decrease. A sample study at Columbia University showed that when people breathe in the scent of coconut, they experienced a faster blood pressure recovery time after they completed a difficult task. The scent of coconut soothes stress responses while enhancing alertness.

Tasty and healthy foods can be found in your average places - stores you go to all the time. Here in Roanoke, there are several tea and coffee shops around town that can provide you with excellent options for tea-drinkers. You don't have to go to the co-op to get healthy food. Try Kroger, Food Lion or Piggly Wiggly. You will find just what you need there.

Do some research on your own to make sure the foods you are eating are good for your personal diet. If you have additional health conditions that prohibit or recommend against eating something on this list, always follow your doctor's advice first. The Internet is filled with information about nutrition but it is essential that you narrow your information down to what pertains to you and your personal health situation. Consulting a qualified nutritionist is another excellent recommendation for those who are concerned.