We all are living busy and stressful lives and for many food is a big part of this stress. Finding time for healthy cooking and eating just adds to the already too long “to do” list causing more stress to our mind and body. Although food can cause a lot of stress in our lives it can also energize our body and help us to make the most of our busy days.
A small change in diet can improve energy levels and how your body responds to stress. So boost your mood and increase your energy, while decreasing your stress, by increasing fresh veggies, seasonal fruits, whole grains and lean protein. It is important to remember to start small this could be as simple as making your Mondays Meatless or upgrading your snacks to include more fruits and veggies.
Things to keep in mind when choosing foods to boost your mood:
Foods that contain folate and folic acid such as green leafy vegetables (napa cabbage, mustard greens, collards), broccoli, beans, legumes, and mushrooms are said to be beneficial in improving mood and symptoms of depression.
Foods rich in B Vitamins are responsible for mood stabilization and help to improve mental and emotional well-being. Unfortunately B Vitamins cannot be storied in our bodies so we depend on our daily intake to supply them. Quinoa is a good source of B Vitamins and to increase your mood try Parsnips, Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts which are all high in B6. Other good sources of B Vitamins are found in green vegetables and fortified foods. If you are vegan B12 is a very important vitamin that helps maintain energy and must be supplemented as it is not found naturally in plant based foods; a great source is fortified nutritional yeast.
Omega 3‘s are beneficial in increasing brain function and boosting ones mood. Additionally, studies show that omega 3’s may help ease depressive symptoms. Great sources of omega 3‘s are Winter Squash (which is also high in Vitamin B6 and folate), pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, chia seeds, hempseed, pecans and walnuts.
Selenium is a mineral that functions as an antioxidant. Studies show that it is beneficial in decreasing anxiety, depression and tiredness. Selenium is found in brazil nuts, grains (best sources are whole wheat couscous and oats), garlic and mushrooms. Additionally Black Eyed Peas are known for their high levels of selenium.
Mood Boosting Recipes
Mood Boosting Breakfast Oats
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 cup water
- 1/3 cup of dried apricots, chopped
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1T ground flax seed
- 1/4 cup brazil nuts, chopped
In a medium sauce pan stir the oats, water, apricots and cinnamon together and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce to a simmer and cook until oats are done, about 6-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the flax seed and brazil nuts.
Sweet Potato-Chia Mood Boosting Smoothie
- 2 cups hemp milk
- 1 cup cooked (cooled) or canned sweet potato
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1 T agave
- 1/2t each of cinnamon and nutmeg
- 1 T chia seeds
Place everything in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
Easy Black Eyed Peas and Greens Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
- 1 bunch collard greens (or kale, spinach, mustard greens), rinsed and chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil over medium heat in a large stock pot. Add the onion, celery and carrots and cook until they begin to soften, 5-8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for one minute. Stir in the black eyed peas and collards; bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.