Mood Foods

Food not only nourishes our body it also nourishes our mind. Different types of foods can affect how we feel. Comfort foods are so named because of the feelings that they invoke when we eat them. Let’s say that you come home from a hard day and all you want is a big bowl of creamy macaroni and cheese. That macaroni and cheese has the ability to soothe your hurt feelings and also put a smile on your face, indicating that you feel more upbeat.

How foods affect our moods may be connected to how they react or are used in the body. Some food nutrients affect the brain by attaching to cells and causing the secretion of certain neurotransmitters at different times.

So what foods should you eat?

* Whole Grains – Whole grains include cereals, oatmeal, barley, bulgur, bran, whole wheat breads and the like that are used by the body as fuel. These contain high amounts of fiber that are slowly digested. They allow you to regulate your blood sugar which leads to a more even temperament. These grains along with fresh fruits contain zinc, selenium, vitamin E, C and A - all antioxidants. Antioxidants reduce signs of oxidative stress in the body.

* Green vegetables – With busy schedules, we are often run down. To increase your energy, you need to eat vitamins that will help with that. Green leafy veggies and cruciferous veggies like broccoli are rich in antioxidants and minerals like manganese, iron and potassium. Women especially need iron because of their menstrual cycles. Green vegetables with minerals like magnesium may also be able to increase good feelings and clear away the brain clutter. Also try eating bananas and seafood.

* Dairy products – Dairy is not bad, but you will want to eat products that are low in fat for best results in your diet. Try milk, buttermilk, cottage cheese, yogurt and cheese for a start. These can reduce the symptoms of PMS, which include irritability, bloating, mood swings and pain. Dairy products are also good for evening out your mood during the day.

* Meats – We are talking about turkey in particular. Turkey as we know from Thanksgiving is filled with tryptophan. This amino acid may make you feel sleepy but it also works to increase the levels of serotonin in the brain. Increased levels of serotonin are linked to increased mood and good feelings. Other foods that contain tryptophan besides meat are bananas, pineapple, tofu, spinach and sunflower seeds.