Food and Mood
Great Foods, Great Moods!
Fall is a beautiful time of year that most of us enjoy to the fullest. The changing colors, the crisp air and the approaching Holidays are all reasons we love Fall. Some of the foods we enjoy in the fall have the potential to help our moods as the weather gets colder and we enjoy less time outdoors soaking up the sun.
The nutrients that help improve our mood are Omega-3, Vitamin D, and Vitamins B-6 and B12. Many of the “Fall foods” that we find in abundance are great sources of these nutrients.
Omega-3 is important for mood regulation because it supplies the building blocks or raw material that the brain needs to fight depression. Most of us don’t typically eat enough Omega-3 rich foods, but knowing what foods are high in Omega-3 can help us make good choices:
-Walnuts. Dr. Oz is a big fan of walnuts because of their high content of Omega-3. So toss some walnuts on your salad, into your cereal, on that sweet potato casserole, or eat as a snack.
-Wild rice. Wild rice is high in Omega-3 and has more flavor than white rice.
-Fish, especially salmon and other cold water fish are rich in Omega-3. Grilling fish outdoors with some garlic or rosemary is a great way to get your Omega-3!
-Beans. Beans are a great source of Omega-3 and Fall is a great time to make a crock pot of beans, or a rich Chili with beans. Yum!
Vitamins B-6 and B-12 are helpful in maintaining the health of our nervous system and many people who don’t eat certain foods can become deficient:
-Avocados, baked potatoes with the skin on, and green beans are great sources of B-6.
-Turkey (yes, another reason to eat turkey!), fish, eggs, beef, and lamb.
Vitamin D can help boost serotonin and other endorphins that improve our moods. We can absorb vitamin D through sun exposure but when the weather gets colder we often remain indoors more. Days are also more overcast and opportunities for sun-provided vitamin D are fewer. Some great fall foods that provide vitamin D are:
-Mushrooms, used a lot in holiday recipes.
-Eggs and dairy products. Many fall dishes, especially pumpkin pie and eggnog, are rich in vitamin D.
-Sweet potatoes. Some of us enjoy sweet potatoes year round, but during the fall they are more plentiful and flavorful.
-Fish is packed with vitamin D and many people enjoy cooking salmon on their grill during the fall months. Salmon and other cold water fish such as tuna, sole and flounder are also high in Omega-3, so there’s a double portion of mood improving nutrients!
I’m a firm believer that if we consciously eat all the foods that are good for us, we won’t have room for all the foods that make us fat, raise our blood pressure, and make us tired. I plan to eat more salmon and walnuts this fall. Which of the foods mentioned above do you need to focus on eating more regularly? Let me know how it works!
Sources: Sparks, A. (2012) PsychCentral, Dr. Oz