7 Foods to Lift Your Mood

Food makes us feel good. It tastes delicious and it's full of surprises. For example, did you know food can actually work wonders in your body naturally? That's right. A simple Turkey sandwich on whole grain bread might be just the ticket to turning your otherwise blue, ho-hum day into a get-up-and-go, hurray day! These simple foods can make you and your family feel fabulous, lift your spirits the natural way, and keep you looking trim, healthy and vibrant without any crazy side effects.

Bean There, Done That!-Or have you? When was the last time you ate a lentil and didn't feel smarter? These little brown beans are a member of the legume family, and are an excellent source of folate, a B vitamin that appears to be essential for mood and proper nerve function in the brain. In fact, low levels of folate have been linked to depression and a recent Harvard study showed that 38 percent of depressed women are deficient in folate.

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-It's no secret that walnuts resemble the wrinkled appearance of the brain, but it is true that they are an excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, a type of healthy fat that's needed for brain cells and mood-lifting neurotransmitters to function properly and may help with depression.

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Did Somebody Say Chocolate?-Chocolate lovers agree, that the sweet stuff we all know and adore also boosts our levels of "feeling good", also known as endorphins, the brain's natural happy hormones. Scientists believe certain chemicals in chocolate cause anadamide-the brain's bliss transmitter- to hang around in the brain for longer periods of time, enhancing its stimulant effect.

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(Good) Carbs Are Your Friend-Did you know, eating carbohydrates boosts serotonin levels (thereby, have a calming, soothing effect), and slow-release 'complex' carbs keep you sustained, helping you to stay mellow and preventing between-meals rattiness. Think whole grains, brown rice and fiber-filled foods that digest slowly and will keep you feeling fuller, longer. On the other hand, simple carbs like white bread, pasta and baked goods made with white flour will only give you a momentary boost followed by a crash, and you're more likely to gain extra pounds. So, to feel happier, for a longer period of time, enjoy complex carbs with every meal.

Bring on the Broccoli-This cruciferous vegetable is loaded with stress-relieving B vitamins, and has the added benefit of containing folate (folic acid), which is also part of the B vitamin family. Research shows that low levels of folate have been linked to depression, so by consuming broccoli on a regular basis, it can play a key role in keeping your folate levels up-positively affecting your mood.

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Talk Turkey to Me- Every time you take a bite out of your protein-rich turkey sandwich, you are lifting your spirits, literally. Turkey is high in phenylalanine, an amino acid which the brain converts to dopamine, a neurochemical that elevates mood and motivation and prevents depression. Plus, the addition of protein in your meal will also help slow the absorption of other carbohydrate foods eaten. When you eat complex carbs with turkey, it leaves you feeling upbeat and productive for hours after eating.

Don't Be Blue with BlueBerries-These little blue, fiber-filled, low calorie wonder berries are brimming with antioxidants and vitamin C, which are stress busters. Every day, your brain consumes so much oxygen, it's bound to attract oxidants that create damage; and the antioxidants in blueberries will help eliminate the free radicals that wear away at your memory.

Written for Hybrid Mom by Beth Aldrich, author, Media Spokesperson and Certified Health Counselor Health and Nutrition. Read more at healinglifestyles.com