Are you Miss Cranky Pants? Do you feel drained? Food is the fuel our bodies need to function. When we eat things that are less than healthy (like fast food), it can affect brain chemicals and insulin levels, leading to more depressed feelings . But the opposite is true, too: the right foods can have a positive effect that raises mood. Add these 8 mood-boosting foods to your menu:
1. Smart Carbs– Junk carbs can dampen mood, but going low- or no-carb may not be the answer either. Carbohydrates raise levels of mood-lifting brain chemicals by making more of them available to the brain. Keep your mood up by staying carb smart—reach for healthy carbs, like legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Check out 11 Good Carbs That Help You Lose Weight.
2. Salmon– The omega 3 fatty acids that are great for the heart are also natural mood lifters—no wonder salmon is considered a superfood. The omega 3’s naturally raise levels of serotonin, one of the neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) linked to mood. Try this superfood in Wild Salmon Vegetable Salad.
3. Leafy Greens– Going green is good for your body—and good for your mood. Leafy veggies contain vitamin B, which helps the body produce anxiety-reducing serotonin. Plus, these vegetables are a mood food two-fer, also delivering the mineral magnesium, which is a calming substance that can become depleted when we feel stress. Get your greens in this yummy Garden Salad with Lemon & Oil Dressing.
4. Tomatoes– These gems are rich in the chromium needed to produce the insulin that levels blood sugar and prevents the I.Must.Eat.Now crankies. What’s more, chromium raises serotonin levels. Pair tomatoes with leafy green romaine lettuce for an ideal mood-lifting salad.
5. Asparagus– Awesome asparagus contains iron. Low iron stores trigger a host of problems, including feeling lethargic and depressed. Try this veggie in our Crustless Asparagus Quiche—at just 53 teeny-tiny calories per serving!
6. Whole Grain Foods– Fiber is a filling substance that prevents those insulin dips that make you surly. Ditch the processed bread products, like white bread and biscuits, and bite into a hearty food made with whole grains such as oats, quinoa, or brown rice. Fill up with these tasty Homemade Whole Grain Tortillas or get grainy with Halibut with Brown Rice, Tomatoes & Fresh Thyme.
7. Poultry– Like fiber, protein helps prevent blood sugar crashes. Choosing lean meat, like chicken or turkey, will deliver the protein needed to keep your mood level. In addition, protein fuels muscles so you’ll be ready for endorphin-producing workouts.
8. Low-fat Dairy– From milk to Greek yogurt, low-fat dairy is a healthy way to stock your body up on selenium, an essential mood nutrient. Several studies have found that people who don’t get enough selenium report lower mood levels . Along with low-fat dairy, you can also get selenium from lean meat, nuts, and legumes. Try this Skinny Peanut Butter-Yogurt Dip.
Don’t let food choices bring you down. Start swapping your mood busters for mood boosters.