Because who can't use a little mood boost right now? With all the uncertainty in the world, our resident nutritionist, Catherine Switzer shares some insight into what we should be adding to our diets. Because what we eat can drastically effect our moods. And when you get to the bottom, there's a tasty & healthy salad recipe, too!
Mood Boosting Foods
When we look into some specific nutrients that can help support our mood we can start to shift our relationship with naturally stimulating foods. In this post we discover the reason foods can give us a boost both mentally and physically.
Colorful foods tend to have a higher nutritional value including antioxidants and antiinflammatory properties. Higher in phytochemicals; protecting the brain and overall health of the body.
When we eat colorful foods, not only are we increasing the nutritional content, but it also taps into the effect that foods can have on our mood. Dopamine is a mood enhancing chemical that is released into the bloodstream, also known as the feel good hormone.
Most brightly colored foods can have an effect on our mood, but try adding some more orange, yellows and reds to your daily meals.
A vastly used mineral in the body. Responsible for hundreds of biomechanical reactions in the body; energy production, protein & muscle building, nerve & DNA maintenance/function. Important for heart health, digestive function, blood sugar regulation, inflammation, headaches and has been proven to help with mood and mood disorders.
We can find magnesium in a variety of foods like; beans (black), dark greens (spinach, swiss chard, kale), dark chocolate (cacao) nuts (almonds, cashew, brazil nuts), avocados, seeds (flax, pumpkin, chia), whole grains (oats, quinoa, buckwheat), and fish (salmon, halibut, mackerel).
It is important to consume magnesium through eating nutrient dense foods, however taking a supplement is a great way to ensure you are getting enough for your body to function optimally.
Important for cells in the body to function properly; metabolism (convert food to energy), blood cells production, brain cells, body tissues (skin), nervous system and stress response.
Vitamin B can be found in citrus fruit, eggs, dark greens (spinach, swiss chard, kale), green vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, green beans, peas) and sweet potato.
Depletion of vitamin B can happen easily due to lifestyle & stress. To maintain an efficient level it is recommended to eat foods rich in vitamin bs, practice stress management & supplement when needed.
Blood Sugar Balancing
Having frequent highs and lows in blood sugar can directly affect your mood. Affecting energy levels, concentration, fatigue, irritability, appetite and hormone balancing.
Eating balanced meals, with protein, fiber and fats is a great way to help regulate your blood sugar. Avoiding refined foods (sugars), alcohol, binge eating, caffeine. While managing stress, getting good quality sleep.
Foods that support blood sugar levels are bitter greens (arugula, beet tops, carrot tops, cilantro, cinnamon, coconut, parsley), lemon & limes, olive oil (& olives), tofu, and tumeric.
Fat surrounds/protects each cell in the body, it is vital for nutrient absorption (fat soluble vitamins), decreased inflammation, heart support, hormone production and so much more. All in all consuming healthy fats is vital for our general well being, but more importantly they support our hormone regulation/production, brain health and helps keep hunger satisfaction.
Food Sources include nuts (dark skinned like almonds & walnuts), seeds (hemp, flax, chia), avocado, fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovy), plant based oils and beans.
Ok, so you've gotten this far and think... so what should I eat today? How about an amazingly easy salad that will last for 4 days in your fridge? Now that's my kind of salad!
Mood Boosting Salad Recipe
1 ½ cup cooked farro (or quinoa)
1 sweet potato, peeled cut into small cubes
1 cup chopped parsley
½ medium red onion, small diced
½ sweet bell pepper, diced
Greens for serving, arugula, spinach, kale
Optional toppings: feta cheese, hemp seeds, chickpeas, hummus
½ cup avocado oil
1 lemon, juiced
Salt & Pepper
Heat oven to 400°. Toss diced sweet potato in oil, salt & pepper. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake for 30-45 min (depending on how large your cubes are).
Meanwhile, cook grains according to package directions (note ½ cup of farro yields 1 ½ cup cooked). Prepare the rest of the vegetables.
Once sweet potato & grain is cooled, toss everything together in a medium bowl (omitting greens for serving). Plate on top of green and add dressing.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Catherine Switzer, of Baby Beets, is a Yoga Instructor, registered Holistic Nutritionist, and Labour & Postpartum Doula. Keep your eye out for monthly recipes, articles, and more from Catherine.