Foods to enhance your (changing) moods!

By Cara Cleek Ogden

Stressed out? Depressed?

Or just looking for a little pick-me-up?

There are so many foods that can boost your mood by helping balance chemicals and hormones in your brain. Try a few of these delicious choices (and read about how these foods are mood-changers):

FLAXSEED OIL – Contains omega-3 fatty acids – Some research has shown that getting enough omega 3s in your diet can help reduce symptoms of depression. Swallow 1 to 2 Tablespoons daily directly from the bottle, or drizzle on salads.

POPCORN – Full of complex carbohydrates – These carbs can help increase your serotonin production. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that sends messages within your brain. Low levels of serotonin can lead to depression.

MEAT – Packed with protein – Protein can help keep you alert and energized by slowing absorption of carbs into your blood stream, helping to regulate blood sugar levels.

BEANS – Another good source of protein – Also a great source of soluble fiber, which slows absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, and can help keep your blood sugar level.

SPINACH – A great source of tryptophan – Tryptophan is another serotonin-booster which can also enhance sleep. Spinach is a protein-packed plant food as well.

SARDINES – An excellent source of vitamin D – One study has shown vitamin D to be important in the treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Sardines are also a great source of vitamin B12, omega 3s, protein and selenium.

BRAZIL NUTS – Crazy high in selenium and magnesium – Several studies have shown that a low intake of the trace element selenium can be associated with poorer mood. Also, if your magnesium levels are low, dopamine production in your body can be slowed.

CHICKPEAS – Full of folate – One-half cup of chickpeas contains approximately 140mg of folate, which can help shore up your body’s levels of dopamine, which helps to regulate emotion.

DARK, LEAFY GREENS High in iron (eat with some vitamin C to enhance iron absorption) – Since up to 80% of women of childbearing age are iron deficient, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your levels. Your overall-tired feeling might be something more. Consult your doctor if you suspect that you may be anemic.

ORANGES – Famous for vitamin C – Vitamin C can help regulate excessive cortisol, the “stress hormone”.

Cara Cleek Ogden is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor. She lives in Fayetteville with her vegetable-loving 11-year-old daughter (really!) and is excited to encourage others to eat more consciously.  You can contact Cara through her website at eatdrinkbe.