Mood-Boosting Foods

by Melanie Stewart

Sugar may satisfy the sweet tooth and provide a pick-me-up or a quick boost to get going. However, other foods with more nutrition can help minimize feeling down in the dumps long after the sugar high wears off.

There are several vitamins, minerals and fatty acids that can combat depression and boost our mood such as calcium, chromium, folate, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin D and zinc. Try some of these powerhouse nutrients in the following foods to lift spirits.

Chromium helps the body metabolize food. It plays a part in increasing the brain’s level of serotonin, norepinephrine and melatonin, which help the brain regulate emotion and mood. Some food sources of chromium are broccoli, barley and turkey breast.

Folate, also known as B9 and folic acid, helps support serotonin regulation as well. Folate can be found in spinach, black-eyed peas, asparagus, Brussels sprouts and avocado.

Vitamin B12 plays an important role in regulating depression by allowing the body to synthesize nutrients for normal neurological function. Some food sources of B12 are rainbow trout, sockeye salmon, mussels, Swiss cheese, mozzarella cheese and tuna.

Go for greens. Nutritionally, greens are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc and vitamins A, C, E and K. They are loaded with fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals. Consider adding sprouts, kale or bok choy to soup as an easy way to consume more dark, leafy greens.

When a bad mood hits, create a tasty lunch sandwich with turkey breast, avocado and spinach leaves to help increase serotonin. A simple dinner of wild salmon paired with a spinach salad and whole grain wild rice—complex carbs increase serotonin—shouts healthy and happy.

In addition to eating, there are other activities that may support beating the blues, such as exercising three to five times a week and connecting with encouraging people. Enjoy eating some favorite mood-boosting foods and invite family and friends to the meal.

Melanie Stewart is an AADP certified health and lifestyle coach inspiring women to regain energy. Connect with her at 610-291-0972, Melanie.Stewart01@gmail.com or HealthyBalanceWithMelanie.com. February 2015.


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