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Mood-Boosting Diet

It may seem like an oxymoron, but a diet can, in fact, be mood-boosting… And the good news is that it’s a tasty “diet” too. I’m not suggesting that we deny ourselves or even chose to exist on steamed chicken and broccoli. That sounds miserable.

These foods will keep your taste buds, your stomach, and your mind happy. So, let’s dig in!

The key “ingredient”

Omega-3 fatty acids are getting a lot of attention as the key ingredient for mood-boosting benefits. Unfortunately, the body can’t make its own omega-3s, we need to get it through our diet or supplementation. So, what are the different types of omega-3s and what are the best sources?

Just as the name suggests, there are three varieties of omega-3.

  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)

DHA and EPA are found in cold water fish and algae, and the ones widely recognized as the most beneficial omegas. ALA is the plant-based version of omegas found in chia, flax and pumpkin seeds; walnuts and even some greens such as kale and spinach. Interestingly, the body can convert ALA into DHA and EPA, however this happens at a very low conversion rate.

DHA & EPA for the win

These are the omegas that are believed to be most associated with boosting mood. It’s not to suggest it’s plant-based sister source isn’t beneficial, but DHA and EPA are more targeted toward mood.

Best sources

Cold water fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, herring and trout are great options. Ideally, you’d have them twice a week.

But if that’s not likely to happen for you, finding a good quality fish oil supplement may be your best option. It’s important to acknowledge what you’ll be most consistent with – eating fish or the supplement.

If you’re leaning towards a supplement, talk with your healthcare provider on the appropriate dose for you and make sure you get a good quality supplement. Because you’re taking concentrated dosages, I find supplements worth their money when investing in a good quality.

Personally, I find Thorne Research and Nordic Naturals to be high quality, but do your research to see which one is the best fit for you. Either way, try upping your omega’s and see if it puts a little extra pep in your step.

Important note

It’s essential to recognize that diet cannot always replace medication, especially in the context of mental health or depression. Do not stop taking medication without first talking with your healthcare team.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.