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  • Writer's pictureBeth Chiodo, MS, RD, LDN

Foods to Boost Your Mood

Being in quarantine during covid-19 can feel like an emotional roller coaster. One minute, we feel equipped to face the day and thrive while the next minute, we feel we cannot stay inside another second!

Did you know that food can have a big impact on your mood and emotional wellness? Certain foods are shown to improve mood and boost overall feelings of well-being. The following foods are some of the top foods to improve our mood:

Salmon – Fresh or canned salmon contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which are nutrients that you must consume in food. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to play an important role in brain development and cell signaling.

Chocolate - Chocolate may contain small amounts of caffeine as well as a substance called theobromine which may boost your mood. It also contains flavonoids, which may increase blood flow to the brain.

Oats - Oats are a good source of fiber, which can help stabilize blood glucose levels and keep overall mood more stable. Also, they contain prebiotic soluble fiber which helps the growth of good bacteria. This can positively impact serotonin levels.

Fermented Foods - Fermented foods like miso, kimchi, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut may all improve mood. The fermentation process creates products which help to nourish the bacteria in the gut and contribute to serotonin production. It is now known that up to 90% of serotonin is produced by the gut microbiome.

Nuts and Seeds - Nuts and Seeds are good sources of protein, healthy fat, and fiber, the combination of which slows digestions and leads to steady blood glucose levels. They also contain the amino acid tryptophan which helps to produce serotonin. Lastly, brazil nuts, almonds, and pine nuts are a good source of zinc and selenium which are both helpful for mood.

Coffee – Coffee itself contains caffeine which is energizing.

Try this smoothie which contains a combination of chocolate, coffee, oats, and flax seed to start your day off right! The oats in this smoothie contain beneficial soluble fiber for gut health and the flax seed has Omega 3 fatty acids which are beneficial for reducing inflammation and improving mood! This smoothie tastes indulgent but is good for your body!

Chocolate coffee breakfast smoothie

Ingredients for one smoothie:

1 frozen banana

1/2 cup unsweetened almond or oat milk

1/2 cup coffee, chilled

1/4 cup oats

1 Tb maple syrup

1 Tb ground flaxseed

1 Tb unsweetened cocoa powder

Few dashes cinnamon

Directions: Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Enjoy!

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