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Try These Foods to Boost Your Mood

By Debra Rodzinak

Food is the center of our lives.  We have to eat to live, but we don’t have to live to eat.  Three out of four times that people overeat is directly related to negative emotions.  This “emotional eating” can be caused from trauma, stress, anxiety, depression, or low self esteem.  Those who are obese are 25 percent more likely to suffer from some type of mood disorder or anxiety.  This can turn into a vicious cycle of feeling bad, then overeating -- which causes the person to feel bad.

Just like drugs, food can be an addiction.  For some, the feeling after eating fat and sugar is addictive and is what they turn to when feeling stressed.  Interestingly, obese people are 25 percent less likely than those who are non-obese to be addicted or abuse drugs and alcohol.  Luckily, there is good news.  There are some power foods that can help to improve overall mood and break the cycle of food addiction.


Folic acid found in spinach is sometime used as a treatment for depression.  Spinach also contains beneficial Vitamins K, A, and C.  When a person eats spinach, serotonin is released.  This “feel-good” chemical can help boost mood.

For maximum benefits, cook spinach in a small amount of olive oil for 5 minutes.  The fat in the olive oil helps to satisfy hunger, keeps the body feeling full, and helps the body absorb the nutrients in spinach.


Foods that contain processed carbohydrates, like white bread, can cause blood sugar levels to change rapidly.  This rapid change can cause mood swings.  Filling up on high fiber carbohydrates like oatmeal keep a body feeling fuller for longer, take longer to move through the digestive system, and help to stabilize blood sugar.

Instead of adding sugar to sweeten oatmeal, try adding fruit or honey.  Stay away from artificial sweeteners, too. 


Vitamin D is an important vitamin for attitude.  Direct exposure to sunlight for 20 minutes per day can provide a person with their daily intake of this vitamin.  However, if a person is unable to get into the sun, salmon is an excellent source of Vitamin D.  Salmon also contains omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin B-12, and selenium, all of which have shown to improve mood and memory.


It has been known for years that eating dark chocolate is beneficial.  Eating chocolate releases endorphins, improves blood flow to the heart, and helps the brain function better.  Just reach for the darker chocolate to find these added benefits.  White and milk chocolate have too much added sugar to be beneficial.


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