7 Foods to Boost Your Mood and Stay Healthy in Recovery

Changing one’s mood can have an effect on your ability to recover from addiction. These 7 foods in particular will help boost your mood and make recovery a little bit easier.

Addiction is a maladaptive way of responding to life’s stress. So, it stands to reason that changing one’s mood can have an effect on your ability to recover from addiction. In this blog we will examine an often overlooked aspect of changing mood and healing from addiction – FOOD.

Many approaches to mood improvement focus on attitude, thoughts and emotions. What can be left out of these approaches is the physical component that underlies the mind. We inhabit bodies, and what we consume influences not just the physical body itself, but also our mood.

As the saying goes: “You are what you eat”. The basic science behind food and mood is that what you consume influences the chemistry in your brain, which subsequently influences your mood. There is a wealth of knowledge about what nutrients the body and brain needs for healthy functioning, and by comparing foods to see which contain these specific nutrients, we can understand what foods are likely to boost mood.

Keep in mind that while certain foods may not individually change mood, as part of an overall dietary plan they can be effective in boosting your emotional state. Moreover, most foods do not provide an instant change in mood. Most take effect over time.

Like many things in life, there are no shortcuts, as creating a healthy diet takes time. Moreover, when one has not had a healthy diet over the course of many years, the positive effects of healthy eating may take time to set in.

So what foods are likely to help boost your mood and help in recovery from addiction?

  1. Brazil nuts. Brazil nuts are a great natural source of the mineral selenium, which is needed for healthy brain functioning. Studies have shown that people with low selenium levels have more anxiety, depression, and irritability.
  2. Sardines or other oily fish. Oily fish contain an abundant source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which is thought to prevent depression.
  3. Oats. With a very low glycaemic index, oats release energy slowly into the bloodstream and help to create a stable mood. They also contain selenium.
  4. Bananas. Containing vitamins A, B6, and C, potassium, phosphorous, iron, and the amino acid tryptophan, bananas are a nutrition-packed source of energy. Bananas also contain carbohydrates, which help in the absorption of tryptophan in the brain. Tryptophan is used to treat conditions including insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
  5. Lentils. Lentils are protein rich and also are a complex carbohydrate, so they provide a stable source of energy, creating a calmer mood.
  6. Chicken and turkey. Chicken and turkey have been found to increase intake of the amino acid tryptophan, which supports the body’s production of serotonin. Serotonin influences mood.
  7. Spinach. Spinach and other leafy green vegetables are an excellent source of B vitamins such as B3, B6, B12, and folate. These help to produce serotonin, which has been linked to healthy mood.

So take a quick inventory of your kitchen and stock up on any foods you are missing from the above list for a happier and healthier recovery.

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