After the past year we’ve had, everyone could use a mood booster, and as the saying goes – you are what you eat. So, what foods can help you create a more positive mood?
One of the best food groups you can choose to keep yourself from feeling down are those rich in omega 3 fatty acids. That’s right – fish! According to clinical dietician Christina Ellis at St. Joseph’s Medical Center, “Food rich in omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to help improve brain health and have been linked to being a mood stabilizer. Aim for two servings per week of fatty fish.”
Don’t worry, there are other options if foods found in the ocean aren’t your go-to palette pleasers. Christina adds, “If you’re not a fan of fish, you can also find omega 3 fatty acids in walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, flaxseed oil, and fortified eggs. Taking omega 3 fatty acids is an option as well. It is currently recommended to take 1-2 g/day of EPA+DHA combination with at least 60% EPA if trying to help alleviate depressive symptoms.” Whether you’re feeling down and want to beat the blues or you’re just looking to keep yourself swimming along happily, omega 3 fatty acids are the way to go.
We all know that sleep is important to overall health and well-being, yet many of us struggle to get enough sleep. Eating foods with tryptophan can help regulate sleep. “Tryptophan is an amino acid important for making protein and molecules in your body. Several studies have shown that those with depression tend to have lower levels of tryptophan,” Christina explains. A great natural way to help your body get the sleep it needs is to eat things like turkey, canned tuna, milk, chicken, oats, cheese, nuts, and seeds, all of which contain tryptophan.
What about foods that we love that don’t have those great nutrients our bodies need? Christina has good news on that. “I encourage people to fulfill their cravings and to avoid depriving themselves of their choice of ‘fun food.’ The more you deprive yourself, the more you’ll crave and more likely overindulge. I like to encourage the 90/10 rule. Eating 90% healthy, 10% fun, which usually equates to having one ‘unhealthy’ food or drink per day (within the appropriate serving size).”
St. Joseph’s Medical Center
800 N. California St., Stockton