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This is a guest post from Kristi Arnold who blogs at Veggie Converter.
Kristi Arnold is a former newspaper reporter and editor who is now a gluten-free vegetarian mom married to Mr. Meaty, a “normal” omnivore. The culinary odd couple is parenting two kids, a pescatarian with a hot dog exception and a lactose-intolerant nightshade-sensitive meat-lover. Kristi loves writing and cooking recipes for easy, family-friendly organic meals, learning about nutrition and living the simple, green life.
You can read about Kristi’s journey with thyroid-triggered depression here.
If you suffer from depression or the winter blues, also known Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), try a pick-me-up mood boosting snack to boost your mood. The key to a good mood boosting snack is finding quick and easy sources of B12, folic acid, selenium, vitamin D or omega-3 fatty acids. Combine a pick-me-up mix of nuts and dried fruits or berries for a mood boosting snack. A mix of Brazil nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, dark chocolate chips and dried banana chips and berries drizzled with a bit of honey or molasses brings in several minerals that can improve your outlook.
Mood Boosting Trail Mix Recipe
Serves 6, makes about 1 ½ cups
Mix all of your fruits and nuts and eat as is. Or serve on top of yogurt with a bit of honey or molasses drizzled over the top before chowing down.
Here’s a printable version:
- 2 tablespoons banana chips
- ¼ cup Brazil nuts
- ¼ cup walnuts
- 2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup dried blueberries or strawberries
- Mix all of your fruits and nuts and eat as is. Or serve on top of yogurt with a bit of honey or molasses drizzled over the top before chowing down.
Why Does This Mix Boost Your Mood?
Mood boosting minerals and vitamins:
- B12 and folic acid may prevent disorders of the central nervous system, mood disorders and dementia. Folic acid is usually found in beans and greens, while B12 is found in meats, fish, poultry and dairy.
- Selenium is a trace mineral that acts as an antioxidant in the body. Antioxidants help clear the body of free radicals that may be associated with oxidative stress on the brain, leading to mild and moderate depression. Additionally, selenium reduces risk of some cancers and inflammatory conditions.
- Omega-3 fatty acids can lower your risk of depression. Omega-3s are a good fat needed for normal brain function. But, your body can’t make omega-3s on its own, so you need healthy food sources of the fats, such as freshwater fish. Vegetarian or vegan? No worries; try these vegan sources of omega-3s.
- Vitamin D deficiency is associated with mood disorders including PMS, SAD and depression. Eat foods rich in vitamin D and, when possible, top it off with sunlight, which helps the body absorb vitamin D.
So let’s break it down by ingredient to show how each contributes to improving your mood.
- Bananas: Bananas are full of magnesium, which reduces anxiety and improves sleep. And they also contain potassium, which improves circulation delivering more oxygen to your brain. Additionally, the natural sugars provide a quick energy boost, while a banana’s fiber content makes the boost last longer than energy from simple carbohydrates. Bananas were previously thought to also boost brain serotonin because of the serotonin and tryptryptophan amino acid content. But recent National Institutes of Health studies found consuming serotonin and tryptophan from foods doesn’t correlate to mood enhancement like consuming a purified tryptophan supplement does.
- Brazil Nuts: Eating just three Brazil nuts per day can provide your recommended daily dose of selenium.
- Walnuts: The protein, omega-3s and vitamin E in walnuts all keep your body energetic. Walnuts are also high in magnesium and are a great on-the-go snack for regulating blood sugar and preventing mood swings.
- Dark Chocolate: Cocoa is a great source of phenylethylamine, which stimulates serotonin production in the brain. Serotonin is a natural antidepressant. Don’t overdo the chocolate bars though, as caffeine and sugar can be depressants. And stick with chocolates with at least 70 percent cocoa. Dark chocolate also contains potent antioxidants.
- Sunflower Seeds: Also full of phenylethylamine, sunflower seeds make a great snack on their own, or in combination with mixed nuts.
- Berries: Berries, particularly blueberries and strawberries, reduce inflammation (which can keep your brain functioning properly) and are high in antioxidants.
- Molasses: Blackstrap molasses contains vitamin B6, selenium, magnesium, manganese, calcium, copper, and high amounts of iron.
- Honey: Natural honey is a true super sweetener; it’s filled with B vitamins, folic acid, iron, and manganese, and compounds like quercetin and caffeic acid, which fight fatigue, depression and anxiety.
Most importantly, eat foods you love when boosting your mood. Pick and choose among the mood boosters to create your perfect trail mix to brighten up your day. Pin This Post Here