Certain foods can change your brain chemistry and elevate your mood.

Certain foods can change your brain chemistry and elevate your mood.

Is it possible to alleviate stress by eating certain foods?


In fact, you have ever grabbed a fatty, high-carb snack or a sweet piece of cake to help comfort yourself after a long rough day, then you have experienced using food, almost like psychiatric medication, to boost your serotonin levels.

Historically the foods that boost your mood tend to be high in fat, carbohydrates and sugar. Good examples of foods that can actually change your brain chemistry and make you feel happy are potato chips, fries with gravy, pizza, donuts milkshakes, ice cream and chocolate bars. However, although these foods might make you feel calmer and happier, the effect is temporary. You feel good for a while and then you experience a crash and a craving for more fatty high-carb foods.

This begs the question: “Can your mood be boosted by eating healthy comfort foods?”

“Is there even such a thing as a healthy comfort food?” Thankfully, the answer to this question is yes.


If you are feeling down and irritable eating some steamed asparagus drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice could help calm you down. This is because asparagus is rich in folate, a B vitamin that helps elevate your mood. Asparagus also contains high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps you feel calm, content and happy.


Avocados have a “creamy mouth feel” helping to satisfy a craving for fat. It is also rich in glutathione a substance that is a natural pain reliever. The high Vitamin C content as well as healthy fats (both monosaturated and polysaturated) help reduce stress, anxiety and feelings of deprivation or frustration.


Blueberries are very high in Vitamin C, which is helpful in combatting stress. Blueberries also help lower levels of cortisol in the body. This is the “fight or flight” hormone that raises your blood sugar and that can cause anxiety and even panic attacks if your body produces too much of it.


All nuts contain essential fatty acids that help boost your mood and brain function, but cashews are especially rich in them. Cashews also help cure anxiety and depression because they are very high in zinc. If you are short on zinc you tend to feel nervous, shaky and low.


Depression, fatigue and obesity are caused by the failure of the immune system to repair itself, thus causing metabolic, immune and hormonal disorders that can lead to emotional and mental imbalances. Garlic contains allicin, a substance that helps battle all kinds of systemic ailments that can cause depression and malaise.

Grass-fed Beef

Eating animal protein has a lot to do with keeping your brain healthy in every way. Grass-fed beef is rich in all of the B vitamins, Vitamins C and E and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which help decrease inflammation all over the body, including in the endocrine system, cardiovascular system and in the brain. Inflammation of the brain, thyroid and pancreas cause foggy thinking and depression, and eating enough protein and fat from animal sources helps solve this. If you must eat beef, grass-fed beef is best because it is lean, does not contain hormones and is you can buy organic versions of it.


Oatmeal is a historically famous comfort food that has fueled people in the morning for centuries. Oatmeal provokes your brain to produce more serotonin, which in turn helps you feel more cheerful and mentally focused for about four hours. Adding blueberries to your morning oatmeal can greatly help you if you feel foggy and like you got up on the wrong side of the bed.


Oyster are exceptionally high in zinc, a mineral that improves your mood so substantially, that oysters have been eaten for centuries as an aphrodisiac. If you are feeling low or disinterested in the world, eat six oysters with a bit of horseradish and lemon juice and feel your will to live life to the fullest return.


Walnuts alleviate depression because they contain high amounts of alpha-linoleic acid, which help cheer you up and preserve your memory. Walnuts are also a healthy source of vegan protein, that prevent you from feeling low due to low blood sugar. Eating walnuts can help reduce depression due to illness or aging

For more information about handling your moods with food, nutrition or to book a consultation about anti-aging, naturopathic testing, weight loss programs or any health issue you may be experiencing, visit the Pinewood Natural Healthcare Centre website that has a list of full services and products at http://www.pinewoodhealth.ca or call our Toronto Office at (416)-656- 8100. We also have an office in Pickering, Ontario at (905)-427-0057. You can also email us at info@pinewoodhealth.ca and we would be happy to answer any question that you have about our holistic health services.


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