By Kristen Hicks-Roof PhD, RD and Rayonna Hills BS
The month of February is known as the month of love by many. For some, this means receiving and giving love to a spouse or friend, but this can also mean giving love to yourself. It may be hard to believe, but there has been scientific evidence that reveals eating specific foods can have a positive impact on your mood. This is possible due to food being able to promote dopamine and serotonin. (Cleveland Clinic)
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in your brain that plays a role as a “reward center” in:
- memory, and more.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in body functions such as:
- influencing learning
Foods that we consume daily can unlock your body’s natural happiness. Some complex carbs that are important for stabilizing your mood include brown rice, beans, whole grain pasta, oats, and legumes. Another great source of food that is packed with healthy fats and protein that contribute to healthy brain function and protect against depression are eggs. Other sources include whole grains, red meat, dairy, bananas, green vegetables, and beetroot.
Omega-3 fats are also important for brain function and the communication of dopamine and serotonin. These foods include oily fish such as sardines, salmon, trout, mackerel, and pilchards. Seafood like the fish mentioned above provides zinc to the body, which also is suggested to reduce anger and depression.
When dopamine and serotonin levels are low, you may experience a depressed mood, lack of motivation, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. (Mayo Clinic) There are many food options that are shown to promote dopamine and serotonin and send positive vibes to the brain. Next time you’re in the mood for a mood booster, give one of these foods a try.
Kristen Hicks-Roof PhD, RDN, LDN, CLC, FAND is an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Brooks College of Health, University of North Florida.