The brain needs a variety of nutrients that form the foundation of its biochemistry. With an ample supply of these neuro nutrients, the brain works normally, enhancing cognition and supporting healthy moods. Fill it with junk foods instead of natural mood boosters such as fresh fruits and veggies, and clean protein—or ignore nutritional deficiencies and imbalances—and the brain sputters and misfires, affecting our mood.
Decades ago, Nobel laureate Linus Pauling, PhD, observed that the brain was far more sensitive than any other organ to nutritional deficiencies or imbalances. For instance, when your blood sugar crashes, your mood usually does too, leaving you impatient and irritable. The good news is that improving your outlook can be as easy as adding a few of these natural mood boosters to your daily routine.
If you’re on a low-fat diet, you could be starving your brain’s gray matter. That’s because 60 percent of the brain consists of fat. Specific dietary fats are crucial for the developing brains of infants, and they help thinking and memory throughout life. These nutrients also play key roles in regulating neurotransmitters, chemicals that influence mood.
People need the two principal omega-3 fats, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), for normal development of the brain, eyes, and nervous system. Abundant in fish oils, EPA and DHA are incorporated into the walls of brain cells, where they turn on genes involved in neurotransmitter activity and promote connections between brain cells. Considerable research has found that EPA and DHA benefit a wide range of mood problems, including depression, impulsiveness, hostility, and physical aggressiveness. Studies also support the use of these natural mood boosters for reducing anxiety and symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Try: 1–3 grams of omega-3s from fish oil daily. Vegetarians can opt for algae-sourced EPA and DHA supplements.