How Eating Better Can Make You Happier
A lot of people think food is pretty straightforward when it comes to improving how you feel. Just pick your favorite meal, maybe grab a beer or glass of wine, and go to town! Unfortunately, it’s not so simple.
A favorite meal or snack will definitely perk you up for a bit, but the effect won’t be as long-lasting, consistent, or healthy as incorporating a variety of vitamins and minerals into your regular diet. There are even some foods that have natural stress-reducing effects, making them a great way to improve mood without resorting to comfort food.
Zinc and magnesium are both indirectly associated with improved mood. Studies show that people with depression tend to have lower magnesium levels than people without depression. Some antidepressants, like amitriptyline and sertraline, actually increase magnesium levels in red blood cells. There is animal evidence to suggest a lack of magnesium in the diet is associated with increased anxiety and symptoms of depression, but more research is needed to confirm this kind of direct relationship in people.
Bananas, dark leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, avocados, and dark chocolate are good sources of magnesium.
Zinc does not have an antidepressant effect by itself, but it increases the effectiveness of antidepressant effects from other food and supplements. Meat, eggs, legumes, and oysters are high in zinc.
To supplement zinc, take 25–30 mg/day, with a meal. Zinc supplementation does not improve mood when supplemented by people suffering from clinical depression.