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.