Boost Your Mood With Your Food
by David Modica
It’s been proven that consuming a well-balanced diet of clean, whole foods can assist you in overcoming physical and emotional fatigue. A strategically placed snack may provide you with the boost you need to get through your next set of Monday blues.
Here are six ways to improve your mood with the food you consume.
1. Strike a balance between carbs and protein.
Protein sources such as poultry, red meat, fish, milk, eggs and nuts are all excellent sources of the mood-enhancing chemical serotonin, and it just so happens that complex carbohydrates found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables assist in the release of serotonin. Plan your meal to include both, and you’ve got a winning team at your side to help you ditch those blues!
2. Don’t miss out on breakfast.
“Research shows that those who eat breakfast are happier throughout the day,” said Kate Kinne, RD, LDN, dietitian at Galter LifeCenter. “Breakfast jump starts the metabolism, fuels the brain and helps keep your blood sugar steady so that you have more energy as you start your day. A good breakfast consists of high-fiber carbohydrates, fruit (or vegetables) and protein. For example, oatmeal made with milk, topped with a few nuts and dried fruit or blueberries would be a super-satisfying way to start the day.”
3. Don’t forget the omega-3s.
Omega-3 fatty acids can play an important role in elevating your mood. Common sources include fishes such as salmon and sardines, but vegetarians and vegans can stick with flaxseed and walnuts, which are also good sources of this essential nutrient.
4. Skip your favorite processed plate.
To get the full benefits of your meals, eat whole foods as you would find them in nature and avoid overcooking, which can quickly drain nutrients. Fruit juice is nowhere near as beneficial as the fruit itself, which offers more fiber and less sugar in the same serving size.
5. Drink more water.
“Hydration is an often overlooked way to keep healthy and stay on track for your diet goals,” said Stephanie Hathaway, MS, RD, LDN, clinical dietitian at Swedish Covenant Hospital. “Keep water infused with fruit and/or herbs in the fridge for convenience and to flavor your water naturally. Always drink water when you feel thirsty—avoid using caffeinated beverages such as soda to ‘quench’ your thirst. In cases of coffee, limit these beverages to no more than three cups per day.”
6. Get your nutrients.
Having a well-balanced diet is the best way to ensure that you are benefiting from the full spectrum of nutrients your body needs. Deficiencies such as iron, B12 and folate can all cause you to feel tired and down. A varied diet can help you avoid these problems.
To schedule a nutrition counseling appointment at Swedish Covenant Hospital, call 773-878-6888.