Dr Scott B. McCabe

Foods that are good for your Moods

We all know about “Comfort Food”.  Those favourite often fatty, sweet or salty snacks that we turn to when we’re feeling down or want to unwind after a stressful day.  Unfortunately, many of the foods we choose for comfort are bad for us, leading to weight gain and other health problems.  The following are some better alternatives with real explanations for how they increase our mood:


  • Fish (Salmon)- omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D increase levels of serotonin in the brain.  Serotonin is the chemical responsible for helping us to feel good. 
  • Walnuts- also contain omega-3 fatty acids as well as Magnesium which helps to regulate blood sugar levels keeping us energized throughout the day.
  • Popcorn- foods that are rich in Carbohydrates and Fiber but low in fat help to provide our bodies with sugars that break down more slowly than the artificial ones in our favourite snacks.  These sugars fuel our brains and keep our energy levels high.
  • Bananas- contain magnesium as well as potassium which provides energy and Vitamin B6 required for producing neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, the chemical associated with feelings of pleasure.
  • Chocolate- but not the artificial kind, the natural dark kind, is an excellent source of phenylalanine which has been found to enhance the production of serotonin and dopamine
  • Turkey- most people are familiar with the content, full, and relaxed feeling after the Thanksgiving feast.  That feeling results from the tryptophan in turkey which is needed for production of niacin and serotonin.  It is also a mild sedative, promoting sleep and rest. 
  • Other lean meats (shrimp, lean beef, lamb)- when people are feeling down, or depressed, it may be due to fatigue resulting from iron deficiency.  These lean meats are excellent sources of iron.
  • Avocado- contains copper which has been shown to be important for sleep.  Having more sleep makes us feel well-rested and energized.

While these foods may help to temporarily increase our mood, all must be consumed in moderation.   They also are not an alternative for learning how to effectively solve problems, cope with life stress, and combat depression-inducing thoughts, feelings and behaviours.  If  you need help reducing feelings of sadness or depression without the weight gain that is likely to come by eating away your emotions, we are happy to help.  Call our office at 519-880-2178 to set up an appointment.

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Dr. Scott B. McCabe
February 24, 2018
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