Posted January 22, 2014 by

Good Mood Foods for College Student Success

Amanda Greene

Amanda Greene

I am sure that by the time you reach college and finally have some independence the last thing you want is to be told what foods to eat. However, scientific research shows that incorporating certain foods into your diet can help your mood and reduce stress. College is an exciting time, but there can also be a bit of apprehension and sadness associated with being away from home for the first time. There is also no doubt that college can be stressful.

Today, we are going over a list of foods that can help fortify your mood as well as your body and reduce stressful feelings too. Oh, and don’t worry, these foods won’t break your tight college budget either. B vitamins, folate, and omega-3 fatty acids have proven to ward off depression. Magnesium helps your muscles relax and stimulates the production of a neurotransmitter that reduces anxiety and nervousness. Here are some of the foods that enlist the vitamins and properties that we just mentioned, you will notice that several foods cross into other categories and many of these foods are rich in vitamins and nutrients that offer other benefits in addition to a good mood:

1.    Canned fish (salmon, sardines, herring, tuna) Fresh fish works well too. Salmon, tuna, and other fatty fish that are rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids is the ingredient that helps improve your mood.
2.    Folate, or folic acid, helps your brain product dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure. Eating foods rich in folic acid include asparagus, chickpeas, lentils, oatmeal, orange juice, and dark leafy greens like spinach and kale.
3.    Vitamin B12 helps GABA form in your brain, it is a calming neurotransmitter that helps you remain calm in stressful situations. Clams, fat-free milk, plain fat-free yogurt, salmon, sardines, and chicken are rich in vitamin B12.
4.    Vitamin B6 is depleted by stress. B6 deficiency is linked to depression. Reinforce your body’s supply with chickpeas, yellow-fin tuna, bananas, avocados, flaxseed, dried crimini mushrooms, steamed green beans, and baked potatoes with the skin on.
5.    Mushrooms exposed to UV light can help keep up your body’s vitamin D levels. Sunlight exposure is the best way to get vitamin D into your body, it is also in milk. Maintaining vitamin D levels help regulate serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine levels in your brain. All of those impace your mood.
6.    Extra-dark chocolate in moderation can help with happiness because chocolate causes a dopamine rush which triggers the brain’s pleasure receptors and endorphins. The dark chocolate’s cocoa is beneficial for the cardiovascular system.
7.   Fortified whole-grain cereals like Amaranth are rich in magnesium. Magnesium reduces stress by stimulating the production of GABA and also makes dopamine. Other foods rich in magnesium include almonds, spinach, sunflower seeds, tofu, and rice.
8.   Zinc-fortified cereals and cashews have zinc. A lack of zinc has been linked to depression.
9.   Cherry tomatoes contain lycopene which helps maintain a good mood because it prevents inflammatory compounds that are associated with depression from forming.
10.    Medjool Dates are a great way to satisfy your sweets craving without the excess sugar. Plus they have vitamins and minerals and antioxidants that help keep up your energy.

Bio: Amanda Greene is author and Brand Manager at Residence Hall Linens. She enjoys sharing college and dorm life tips and ideas.

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