How Dairy Foods Can Support Mood and Promote Relaxation

The foods you choose for meals and snacks can impact your mood, hormones, weight, and more.

Did you know that incorporating dairy foods as a part of a healthy eating pattern can support your mood by being a part of your reset or unwind routine, and creating a calming and relaxing aspect to your day?

I have partnered with the National Dairy Council to bring you insights on how dairy can impact mood.

I’m excited to talk about today’s topic because it’s one of the top reasons I love including dairy in my meals and snacks! Let’s take a closer look at the powerful nutrients in dairy.

How Dairy Foods Can Support Mood

Dairy foods as part of a healthy diet are good for wellness. Dairy foods contain the amino acids tryptophan and tyrosine. These are precursors to serotonin and dopamine – important players in your pleasure and reward system. Carbohydrates, which are naturally occurring in dairy foods like milk and yogurt, can support tryptophan’s conversion into the mood-supporting serotonin.  

Tryptophan in Dairy for Serotonin Production

The daily estimated average requirement (EAR) for tryptophan for adults 19+ is 4mg of tryptophan per kilogram of bodyweight per day.

So, for reference, a 150-pound person would need 273 mg of tryptophan. One serving of cottage cheese would surpass these needs!

Tryptophan in different dairy products:

Tyrosine in Dairy for Dopamine Production

Since tyrosine is not an essential amino acid, the EAR combines two amino acids in the recommendation: phenylalanine and tyrosine. The daily estimated amino acid requirement for adults 19+ for phenylalanine and tyrosine is 27mg per kilogram of bodyweight per day.

For a 150-pound adult, this would be 1,840mg. One cup of cottage cheese meets 70% of these daily needs.

Tyrosine in dairy products:

The Role of Serotonin and Dopamine and Mood

Both serotonin and dopamine are important in regulating emotions, mood, and sleep.  

One study found that milk and yogurt were associated with decreased odds of depression. Another study saw that a higher intake of both dairy and calcium was tied to lower perceived stress and higher positive mood. With emerging research, more evidence is needed.

Savory Cottage Cheese Bowl

To help you get the benefits of these mood-supporting amino acids in dairy foods, I thought I’d share a savory cottage cheese bowl that is a great option for a balanced meal or a snack!

The tryptophan in cottage cheese can help promote relaxation with the combination of protein, fiber, and healthy fats, making this a great snack to enjoy in the evening if you’re looking for a nutritious option before bed.

savory cottage cheese bowl with veggies balsamic and olive oil
Savory Cottage Cheese Bowl
This savory cottage cheese bowl contains mood-supporting amino acids and is a great option for a balanced meal or a snack!
View the Recipe

Blood Sugar Control and Mood

While we often talk about protein for muscle building and controlling hunger, there are added psychological benefits going on behind the scenes too!

Plus, the combination of the protein-rich cottage cheese with healthy fat and fiber from the other ingredients can help control blood sugar to prevent spikes that may impact mood.

Now it’s your turn to try this protein-packed recipe and benefit from that feeling of calm with dairy. For additional information and more about how to use dairy in your recipes go to US Dairy.

Explore these Other Recipes

Wanting more inspiration to include dairy in your meals? Try one of these recipes:

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