How can eating brain food make you feel good, when ice cream and cookies are off the menu?
Researchers find meals high in protein and complex carbohydrates (not processed sweets!) can turn into brain food — foods that lift your spirits and improve your mood.
The combination of protein and carbohydrate delivers the amino acids and glucose your brain uses to produce serotonin and other neurotransmitters to keep you feeling good. Some say that higher serotonin levels can change a bad mood into a good mood.
Your Brain Needs Protein supplies amino acids required to stimulate neurotransmitters.
Antioxidants from a variety of vitamins and minerals protects against free radical damage.
Glucose affects serotonin production.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids stabilize mood swings, keeping from falling too low.
Selenium is a mineral thought to prevent depression.
Vitamins C, D, B complex are good vitamins for memory that also support depression prevention.
Calcium in dairy products can be calming and help end depression.
Foods to Eat
Vegetables of all kinds provide good carbohydrate elements to stimulate serotonin, activate antioxidants, and supply the vitamins that defeat depression.
Brown rice, red beans, seeds, and oats are strong in protein and high in fiber.
Fish, another protein source, is high in vitamin B 12 which helps end depression.Fruit like citrus and vegetables like spinach supply the depression fighting vitamins C and B complex. Whole grains contribute the same mix.
Salmon and flaxseeds are excellent sources for omega 3 fatty acids, which are said to help stabilize mood swings.
Nuts, especially Brazil nuts, deliver selenium.
Chocolate contains chemicals (like theobromine, phenylethylamine, and anandamide) that boost mental vigor and that in love high that strikes you around Valentine’s Day.
Bananas, avocados, almonds, pumpkin and sesame seeds, and cheese all provide the same phenytlethylamine (PEA) found in chocolate, along with good fats and antioxidant nutrients.
Smart Eating Plan
Meals that mix protein and carbohydrates deliver nutrients that put you in a perfect state of mind to maintain your good mood. This eating plan is great for high fiber foods that deliver potent vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
At breakfast, the carbohydrate and antioxidants in oatmeal is best blended with omega 3 fats (flaxseeds) and added protein (pumpkin or sunflower seeds). Add fruit and dairy to bolster your carbs for a good start to the day.
A mid-morning snack of yogurt is calming and healthy.
Lunches featuring high protein (fish, seafood) and high carbohydrate foods (spinach, leafy salads) deliver exactly what a good mood needs.
Afternoon snacks best boost nutrients and carbohydrates. Try a banana and granola bar to keep you feeling good.
Add more good fat (nuts, avocado, seeds) to a high-protein dinner. Brown rice and beans along side a serving of lean meat or fish, boosts protein, complex carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins.
Before bedtime snack suggestions include sherbet, frozen yogurt, or fruit to add a little glucose to stimulate serotonin production. Pair with chamomile tea for a soothing night’s sleep.