Wellness Wednesday: Good Mood Foods
It happens to the best of us. Some days just don’t go as planned and it seems your mood is to blame. Perhaps you’ve experienced moments, minutes, or hours, when you are just in a funk or have a case of the grumpies for no reason at all. Would you believe me if I told you that choosing certain foods could actually improve your mood?
One of the most well-known pieces of dietary advice is to eat five portions of fruits and vegetables a day, but I think we should start a new campaign. This campaign would be designed to help the overwhelming percentage of the population in need of stress reduction, spirit rejuvenation, and increased energy.
GRAPES. No denying that many people would prefer to relax with a glass of wine as their drink of choice after a long, hard day, but grapes actually do help you to relax on many levels. Oxidative stress, the form of stress caused by free radicals in the body, can have a damaging effect on the brain. Grapes, however, have been found to counteract the free radical damage and relax blood vessels. Rather than waiting for the evening to arrive so you can enjoy your wine, try to add grapes earlier on in your day to help you flow freely, letting the hours pass without unnecessary stress.
KALE. Most know that leafy greens are a healthy addition to the diet, but perhaps you didn’t realize that kale is nutrition powerhouse among the leafy green family. Did you realize that while you are helping to detoxify the body, you are also “detoxifying” the mind? Kale is rich in carotenoids, known to boost moods and lead to a brighter outlook on life. The relationship between carotenoids and mood is a bit unclear, but a recent Harvard School of Public health study suggests that the beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, the powerful nutrients found in kale, are associated with increased optimism in mid-life adults.
WALNUTS. Walnuts may be a great addition to brownies, salads, and oatmeal because of the taste and texture this nut provides, but walnuts are much more powerful than you may have realized. A brain “on walnuts” is a happy brain. This particular nut is packed with antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids, causing it to act as a powerful mood enhancing food. Rich in magnesium, walnuts boost serotonin levels, causing brain cells to fire the neurons that result in a better mood and an uplifted spirit.
GREEK YOGURT. Having gained popularity over the last few years, this yogurt is a great source of protein and probiotics. This creamy yogurt not only boosts your immune system due to the healthy bacteria that your gut craves, but it also has been shown to boost your outlook on life. Greek yogurt elevates dopamine and norepinephrine, brain chemicals that help to alleviate depression. In addition, the calcium found in dairy has been shown to reduce irritability, helping you to turn that frown upside down and have a happy day.
SALMON. Proper nourishment of the brain is high priority to keep stress at bay and sail through your day. Optimal brain function requires properly nourishing your body with the right nutrient building blocks, including omega-3 fats. These “healthy” fats are an essential addition to help boost your mood. Consider that the brain is 60% fat, so show your brain some love and add in omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in salmon among other fatty fish, to alleviate depression and somber moods.
Ready to eat your way to a better day? How about this…find this kale and avocado salad recipe. Make a creamier version of the salad dressing listed by tossing in some greek yogurt. Then toss with some sliced grapes and walnuts. Add a side of salmon for an omega-3 fatty acid protein source, and tell me all about how your day unfolds. Now how’s that for fuel for your body, mind, and spirit?
Stacey Frattinger currently resides in Sparks, NV, working part-time as a Licensed Clinical Dietitian, as well as running her own health coaching practice. Because of her love for learning, she views each experience in life as an opportunity for growth. Stacey’s virtual integrative health coaching practice called Whispers for Wellness, allows her to live in alignment with her passion for helping you discover your own formula for health and wellness without rigid rules to follow or fad approaches. Her greatest hope is that you will have the opportunity to experience first-hand the life changing process that coaching creates. If you aren’t interested in coaching, you may find value in her blogs to enhance your personal growth and development. To read more about Stacey’s background, coaching philosophy, and the services offered, please visit whispersforwellness.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @StaceyWhispers, or Facebook at WhispersforWellness,LLC.
Stacey is scheduled to launch a FREE “5 Days to Freedom” Mindfulness makeover on June 22, designed to help you embrace your body. To take part in this offering, be sure to visit weightlesswhispers.com.