Feeling Down? These Tips can Boost your Mood

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We all know that what we eat affects our waistline, but did you know that certain foods also can play a role in our mental health? Some foods can boost your mood, while others can make us feel blue. While there’s no scientific diet prescription proven to relieve depression, in recognition of national Depression Awareness Month, here are eight tips that could led to a happier, healthier lifestyle.

  1. Nibble on dark chocolate – in small amounts. Dark chocolate has been shown to reduce stress and be an instant mood booster. One small piece is enough for an afternoon snack.
  2. Incorporate fatty fish. Mackerel, wild salmon, tuna and herring are all great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have brain-boosting properties to fight depression.
  3. Start your day off with low-fat dairy. Skim milk and low-fat yogurt can induce a sense of well-being and relaxation.
  4. Limit alcohol. Maybe you thought a glass of wine could make you feel better; actually, the opposite is true. Alcohol of any type is a depressant.
  5. Add flax, fruit, cinnamon and turmeric to your oatmeal.
  6. Watch your portions. We all know that fatigued feeling that follows Thanksgiving dinner. Overeating makes you feel tired and sluggish.
  7. Enjoy fruits and veggies. Add veggies to your morning omelet, pack them into a mid-morning smoothie, fill your plate with veggies for dinner, and crunch on them for an evening snack. The more non-starchy vegetables, the better. They not only are good for your waistline, but they can help elevate your mood.
  8. Seek out healthy sources of vitamin D. This can be found in fatty fish, cheese and eggs. Some studies have suggested an association between low vitamin D levels and various mood disorders, including depression.
  9. Reduce saturated fat. Known for heart disease and cancer, saturated fat also plays a role in depression. Skip the processed, packaged foods and shop in the outside aisles of your local grocery store.
  10. Don’t forget to exercise. Activity is important, so find something you enjoy doing, which will help you develop a healthy habit. Sitting too much can make you feel sluggish.

These dos and don’ts can’t cure depression, but they can enhance your mood. To get you started, check out two recipes packed with mood-boosting ingredients.

Berry Banana Smoothie

  • ½ c. milk
  • ½ c. plain yogurt
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • ½ c. berries
  • ¼ c. oats, raw or cooked

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add more liquid if too thick.

Asian Chopped Salad Peanut Ginger Dressing

Peanut Ginger Dressing

  • 3 tbsp. ginger, peeled, chopped
  • ¼ c. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. Sriacha sauce
  • ½ tsp. orange zest
  • ½ tsp ground coriander

Asian Chopped Salad

  • 3 cups red cabbage, chopped, about ½ head
  • 3 green onions, sliced, use most of the onion
  • 1 c. cucumber, ¼” dice
  • 1 orange, peeled and diced (save some of the peel for zest in dressing)
  • 1 c. carrot, shredded
  • 1 c. edamame, steamed
  • 1/4 c. chopped peanuts
  1. Combine all dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Assemble salad ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat.

Incorporating these eight tips into your life will have you feeling happier and healthier in no time.

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