"What and when we eat directly affects mood. And our mood not only affects what we choose to eat, but how our body responds to that food," writes Dr Susan Kleiner in her book, "The Good Mood Diet" which explains the chemical reactions that happen in our body as response to different kinds of foods.
Living with chronic pain has a way of dampening our spirits, so while I'm on the topic of nutrition and pain, I will include some mood enhancing dietary tips from different experts:
Sweet potatoes: Eating complex carbohydrates sets off a process that results in boosting your levels of serotonin. This brain chemical packs a wallop when it comes to mood enhancement. Carbs trigger the production of insulin, which clears glucose and amino acids from the bloodstream. This process paves the way for another amino acid, tryptophan, to cross the blood-brain barrier and get to work on boosting serotonin levels.
Complex carbs offer far more nutritional value than cookies, candy and soda, and they're more slowly absorbed in your bloodstream, which contributes to keeping blood-sugar levels — and your mood — stabilized.
Turkey: You need tryptophan to boost your serotonin. Tryptophan comes from meat sources, and turkey is a very lean food containing the highest levels of this amino acid. Tryptophan can also make you feel calm. Now you know why you feel sleepy after a huge turkey dinner. Other sources are lean pork, chicken and beef.
Brazil nuts: One brazil nut will give you all the selenium you need to elevate your mood. Studies conducted on this trace mineral found study participants' moods brightened considerably when they got enough selenium. Don't feast on brazil nuts with the idea that more is better, because selenium can be toxic. Additional sources of selenium are tuna, whole-grain cereals and swordfish.