Good Mood Foods

What would you say to your doctor if he handed you a prescription for depression listing 8-10 different whole foods and natural supplements? Would you think he was crazy and recommend he go to see his own doctor, or would you gladly welcome the idea, taking his suggestions seriously? More and more people are looking for natural remedies for common ailments. Prescription drugs can alter the symptoms of depression, but they do not correct the underlying causes. In fact, they have the potential to increase feelings of sadness when the weight-gain side effect begins to take shape! Antidepressants aren’t meant to be consumed long term but are sometimes necessary to get you through the temporary grieving process.

Some people stay on antidepressants endlessly because they’ve just always taken them. There are alternatives for a lot of people. Please check with your doctor before discontinuing any medication. Whole foods are biochemically perfect for your body and brain, containing vitamins, minerals and neurotransmitters that can heal the brain and body. If you feed your body processed, sugary and high fat foods your brain will no doubt become very sad.

Your brain desires natural support and gets happier when you feed it foods that help keep it functioning optimally. Vitamin D is one example of a natural compound that helps to alleviate feelings of depression. Often people become more depressed in the winter months due to lack of sunshine, which is our main source of vitamin D—also known as the sunshine vitamin. Foods contain little vitamin D and therefore supplementation is generally advised. If you are looking to improve your mood naturally try adding these foods to your plate:

  • Wild caught cold water fish contain high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids and the mineral selenium. Examples include salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, herring and also oysters.
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  • Beans and lentils are high in B vitamins, especially B12, which play a significant role in nerve signaling. When communication between our nerves is strong, our mood is enhanced.
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  • Turkey is rich in the amino acid Tryptophan which is a precursor to the feel-good neurotransmitter’s dopamine and serotonin. It is also rich in B vitamins and Zinc.
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  • Dark chocolate, 72% or higher, aids in having a good mood. It has been shown to boost endorphins. The trick is to consume small amounts to avoid weight gain.
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  • Bananas are rich in B6 which helps synthesize dopamine and serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitters.
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  • Nuts and seeds, such as Brazil nuts, almonds, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, contain rich sources of selenium and zinc, which is great for healthy brain function.
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  • Other foods rich in selenium include cottage cheese, eggs, tofu, yogurt, brown rice, and oatmeal.
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  • Dark leafy greens such as collards, kale, mustard and dandelion greens and Swiss chard are mood boosters. They are delicious when sauteed over the stovetop with a little garlic and lemon juice!
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Bad Mood Foods

Bad Mood Foods include foods that are processed or altered in some way from their natural state. Chemicals in the form of preservatives, fillers, colorings, or fake sweeteners create havoc in our bodies because we were not made to metabolize chemically altered foods. When our bodies don’t recognize these foreign foods, it gets confused and sad. No really—it gets sad. Disease sets in because we are lacking nutrition from whole foods that we should be ingesting, and instead are eating artificial sweeteners and fake fats.

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What is really sad is that we are consuming these products in the name of better health! Fake sugars such as aspartame have been shown to contribute to depression. Do not chew on fake foods! Eat real, whole, unprocessed, and naturally colored foods to help your mood. Your body will know how to metabolize them and create feelings of well-being in your brain. If you have been a little down lately, take a look at your diet. It could be a contributing factor.

If you are interested in scheduling a nutritional consultation with me, please write darcisteiner@comcast.net, or click on this link. Nutrition Consultations Now Available!

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