There are many different factors that influence our health and wellness. What we eat has a huge impact on how we feel and how we function. Whether you’ve been feeling overly stressed, tired, or depressed changing what you eat could make a big difference.

Seeds and nuts, soy beans, certain cheeses and meats, oats, eggs, seafood, bananas, pineapple and milk often contain tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid that helps to regulate mood and increase relaxation. This means that adding more tryptophan into your diet could help calm your nerves and improve sleep, as well as combat some symptoms of depression. Tryptophan works hand-in-hand with the neurotransmitter serotonin, which plays a significant role in how we feel and how we regulate our emotions.

While simple internet searches can provide you with lists of foods that may improve your mood, it may be a good idea to check with your doctor or set up an appointment with a nutritionist to discuss your current dietary balance. A deficiency in tryptophan can lead to decreased levels of serotonin, directly impacting your mood-and this is just one example of the many ways in which diet can impact your daily functioning. Sometimes we don’t realize how much we are impacting our bodies and emotions by what we choose to eat. If you are feeling down or irritable, or having trouble sleeping, take a look at your diet and see if there are any simple adjustments you can make to help get your body what it needs in order to start feeling happy!

By: Allison Fiete, MHC