Did you know that some of your common Christmas foods could actually assist in boosting your mood? It may not be the socialising alone that’s making you feel jolly – some properties in food can be extremely beneficial to mental health.
What is tryptophan?
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid. An essential amino acid is one that the body cannot produce itself and therefore must obtain through dietary intake. Tryptophan is important for maintaining nitrogen balance in adults and for healthy growth in infants.
Another beneficial role of tryptophan is its use in producing niacin and serotonin. Serotonin is very well known for its positive effects on mood and sleep! Hence eating foods containing tryptophan can help to lift our spirits.
Sources of tryptophan
Where do we get tryptophan from? Cue the Christmas turkey! Turkey is a well known source of tryptophan so as you’re hoeing down on it, it will be busy helping to make serotonin and make you feel good. Turkey is also a very lean meat which makes it far lower in fat than lamb and beef.
Other sources of tryptophan include:
- Sesame seeds
- Soy and tofu (So those who will be delighting in a tofu turkey this Christmas will also be receiving a hit of tryptophan)!
Other mood boosting foods and nutrients
Omega 3 fatty acids:
Omega 3 fatty acids are also excellent for boosting your mood. Find them in:
- Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines)
- flaxseed oil
- Canola oil
- Soybean oil
Fish also provides tryptophan and vitamin D – that’s three of the mood boosting nutrients!
Vitamin D also enhances mood. It can be tough to get adequate amounts of vitamin D from diet alone but eggs and vitamin D activated mushrooms are both sources.
Folate and vitamin B12 in particular have very important roles in brain function and have been linked to improvements in depression. Good sources include:
- Vegetarian products that have been fortified
- Green leafy vegetables
- Fortified breads/ cereals
From ENT Clinic Sydney, enjoy your Christmas day and forget about the diets!
Contact us for results focused nutritional advice
This article was written by our dietitian Belinda Elwin who is a Dietitians Association of Australia member and Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist.
If you have questions about foods to boost your mood or other nutrition related issues, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns. Contact us today.