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Four Foods to Help Boost Your Mood

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Photo by Kim Carpenter

We all have rough days. Maybe you are stressed out with work, overwhelmed with your kids’ schedules or just plain blue. Did you know that in many cases food can be your best defense against feeling down in the dumps? That’s right, many foods contain nutrients that actually help boost your mood and give you a little pick-me-up to get you through your day! Here are my four favorite mood boosting foods:

Cashews

Often called “nature’s anti-depressant,” cashews contain high levels of the amino acid Tryptophan. Tryptophan is also what is found in turkey and is responsible for that warm and fuzzy feeling after Thanksgiving dinner! It breaks down to form serotonin, which gives your body a feeling of well-being.

Mood Boosting Tip

Combine ¼ cup cashews and a piece of fruit for a great afternoon snack!

Salmon

Studies have shown that people with higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in their blood stream reported a better sense of well-being and were found to be more agreeable. Omega-3 fatty acids actually change the way your brain functions (in a good way!) so it’s important to make them a consistent part of your diet. Shoot for fish 2-3 days/week to intake these Omega-3 fatty acids!

Mood Boosting Tip

Not a big fan of fish? Flaxseeds and walnuts are also great sources of Omega-3 fatty acids!

Green Tea

Green tea contains an amino acid called theanine, which has been shown to increase the dopamine levels in the brain. Another study showed that participants who consumed theanine were less likely to experience increased heart rate and other stress related symptoms during a stressful task – think less palm sweats, heart racing and knees knocking during a presentation!

Mood Boosting Tip

Switch out your afternoon coffee for a soothing cup of green tea with lemon!

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins. Endorphins are the chemicals in your brain that cause you to feel pleasure. Plus have you ever seen anyone eat chocolate and not smile?

Mood Boosting Tip:

Try this Dark Chocolate Nut Cluster recipe for a delicious stress release!

 

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