Even though there is mixed research, more research shows that food directly impacts short term behavior, mood, and mental health. Dietary changes can bring about changes in brain structure, chemically and physiologically, which can lead to altered brain chemistry. For instance, certain foods and nutrients stimulate the brain to make chemicals that can impact your mood, attention, and focus, while other foods can reduce your energy levels and make you feel sluggish (Hurditch, 2020). Plant-based foods have several amino acids and vitamins that can make us feel happier by boosting our levels of feel-good hormones.Vegan food that you can eat:
1) Omega-3 oils- Usually found in fish oils, but vegan sources like flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds and avocado. Tara Miller, a holistic nutritionist, stresses that studies demonstrate omega-3 fatty acids to have the ability to reduce depression and its symptoms (Kasbee, 2015). Apart from omega-3, avocados contain certain amino acids which elevate dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for reward, pleasure and motivation.
2) Phytonutrients- Phytonutrients are plant chemicals which have shown to be beneficial. Rainbow colored assortment of fruit and vegetables everyday can provide maximum benefits of phytonutrients. For example, green tea and berries are sources of phytonutrients with beneficial roles such as enhanced cellular communication, immune and nervous support, and inflammation reduction (Hurditch, 2020).
3) Probiotics- Probiotic foods such as kefir, kombucha and kimchi are very important for gut health, as probiotics can help boost the immune system, protect against harmful bacteria, and improve digestion and absorption of nutrients (Harvard Health Publishing, 2017). Consequently, good gut health is correlated to reduction in anxiety and depression and improvement in mood. Gut bacteria also produce certain molecules that positively influence mood (Kennedy, 2019).
Sources: Hurditch, G. (2020). How to boost your mood through food | Vegan Food & Living. Vegan Food & Living. Retrieved 9 September 2021, from https://www.veganfoodandliving.com/vegan-diet/mood- boosting-foods/ . Kasbee, K. (2015). Vegan Foods to Beat the Winter Blues Recipe | Well Vegan. Well Vegan. Retrieved 9 September 2021, from https://wellvegan.com/recipe/vegan-foods-beat-winter-blues . Kennedy, K. (2019). 10 Best Foods to Fight Off Stress | Everyday Health. EverydayHealth.com. Retrieved 9 September 2021, from https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition-pictures/how- to-reduce-stress-with-diet.aspx . The benefits of probiotics bacteria - Harvard Health . Harvard Health. (2017). Retrieved 9 September 2021, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-benefits-of- probiotics .