How many times has that three-serving plate of creamy pasta really made you feel better? As with most high-carb, high-fat comfort foods (in large amounts), you probably feel a momentary mood boost, only to have it plunge into more despair when your stomach is too full and you know you’ve blown your diet. Next time your emotions make a turn for the worst, nosh on these five healthy mood foods.
Raw organic peanuts
Peanuts, which are actually closer to a bean than a nut, are loaded with protein and fiber, which can help you avoid the tiredness that makes you an easy target for sadness or anger. This mood food is also a tasty source of healthy fats, vitamin E, folic acid, and other nutrients that can lift your spirits. Go for raw organic peanuts to avoid oils and other preservatives found in roasted nuts. Because all nuts are high in calories, keep your serving size to about 1-ounce.
Dark, leafy greens
My favorite vegetable is a super-food mood booster! Dark, leafy greens are one of the most concentrated sources of vitamins, minerals, and health-promoting phytonutrients. In particular, dark leafies are packed with folic acid which, if deficient, can lead to depression and other mental issues. These super veggies are also high in magnesium, which is a stress busting mineral that can actually help ward off those dreadful PMS blues.
Don’t you love the way smelling an orange or lemon scent can perk you up? In addition to being a good-mood air freshener, oranges and other citrus fruit are loaded with vitamin C, which helps lower stress, and folic acid, a B vitamin that can bring you up out of the doldrums.
Send blue moods downstream with wild salmon. This buttery-rich fish is swimming with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce anger, anxiety, and depression. Omega-3s may also help manage symptoms of other mental health disorders and improve sleep quality, which helps boost your mood. Salmon is also a quality source of protein, which can prevent mood swings related to blood sugar fluctuations.
Whole grains, such as wheat germ and whole grain breads and cereals, are not only a tasty source of complex carbohydrates, which stabilize blood sugar and give you energy, they are high in B vitamins, which are key nutrients for good moods. Research has shown that vitamin B6 deficiencies can lead to higher stress, irritability, tiredness, and depression. By choosing whole grains, you can get your carb-comfort food fix while boosting your mood without derailing your diet.