Boost your energy and mood this spring

Lots of things can affect your mood. The types of foods you eat are no exception. Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is important to your general health, as well as your mental and emotional health.

So can you eat your way to a better mood? Research suggests eating the following foods just might help:

Strawberries

This delicious berry is high in vitamin C, which has immune- and mood-boosting power. Research shows the antioxidants in these berries can decrease symptoms of depression.

Oats

Oats are an effective mood booster. Oats contain selenium which provides additional mood-boosting properties by regulating the function of the thyroid gland.

Almonds and Walnuts

These nuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, proven to ward off depression. Research shows many nuts can decrease dopamine levels in the brain, leading to a calm, balanced feeling.  A serving a day can help with focus, memory and alertness.

Spinach

This dark leafy green is filled with folic acid, magnesium and other antioxidants linked to good moods.  Magnesium helps with the production of serotonin, which is a natural chemical in your body responsible for feelings of wellbeing and happiness.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is an excellent source of dairy, rich in protein and vitamin D.  Eating protein can raise levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, two mood boosting neurotransmitters (or chemical messengers) in your brain. Greek yogurt also contains probiotics which can help with digestion.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate can have positive effects on brain endorphins, which bring feelings of pleasure. Dark chocolate covered almonds, for instance, sound like a scrumptious, mood-boosting option!

Asparagus 

This vegetable is a great source of tryptophan, which plays a role in the production of serotonin. Serotonin can affect things like your mood, digestion and sleep. Asparagus also contains a high level of folate, a natural vitamin proven to ward off depression. Research shows up to 50 percent of people who suffer from depression have low folate levels.

Preparing a delicious and satisfying meal comes first—it’s an important step in getting the intended mood-boosting benefits. Try to incorporate a variety of foods you like along with some new ones that are known to boost your mood.

Here is a quick and easy smoothie recipe to improve your mood in a tasty fashion.

Ingredients:

½ cup oats

5 walnuts

1 banana

¼ cup blueberries

1 ½ cups skim milk (or nut milk, if you’re intolerant)

Instructions:

Add all ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Authors
By Ann Caldwell and Maureen Shackelford, nutritionists and registered dietitians at Anne Arundel Medical Center. To reach them, call 443-481-5555.

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