Mood Boosting Foods


Days of frigid, single-digit temperatures can sure bring on the blues, and it’s natural to turn to food to lift your spirits. But while eating, say, a hunk of chocolate cake can make you feel good for the short term, we all know how that strategy can backfire over time. Happily there are delicious, mood boosting foods that can make you feel better now and beyond the thaw.


Several studies have found vitamin D can help combat seasonal affective disorder (SAD). That’s because Vitamin D is involved with the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that gives us a sense of calm and well-being. Your skin can synthesize vitamin D when exposed to the sunlight, but during the winter months you’re not likely to catch enough rays. Eating plenty of salmon can help, since it’s one of the best sources of vitamin D out there. Fortified milk and egg yolks are top sources too.


Recipe: Roasted Salmon with Shallot-Grapefruit Sauce

Whole Grain Pasta
When you’re stressed, carbs are typically the first thing you grab. This is because foods high in carbs help increase the feel good hormone serotonin. Instead of choosing jelly beans or a package of sugary cookies, enjoy a delicious, smartly portioned whole grain pasta dinner to help you unwind during the evening.


Recipe: Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes and Toasted Garlic

A study conducted at Tufts University linked low levels of folate to depression, low energy levels and memory loss. Folate is found in foods such as spinach, lentils, beans, peanuts, garbanzo beans, corn, asparagus, and some fruit like cantaloupe, honeydew and oranges.


Recipe: Chickpea and Spinach Salad with Cumin Dressing

Chamomile Tea
A 2009 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology found that a component in chamomile tea has a calming effect. So kick back and relax with a warm cup of at the end of the day.



5 comments (Add your own)

1. Lisa wrote:
Dear Ellie,
I've read that Canola oil isn't as healthy as once thought to be. Something about the way it's processed. What is your opinion? and other than Olive oil which oils do you recommend for better health? also, which is best for baking?
Thanks for your consideration,

Tue, February 19, 2013 @ 6:47 AM

2. Arlene Martin wrote:
Sounds interesting and informative.

Wed, March 6, 2013 @ 8:54 PM

3. Ellie Krieger wrote:
Hi Lisa,

There are a number of myths circulating about Canola oil, but I have researched it extensively and have concluded it to be a terrific, healthy option. Canola oil has a neutral flavor and fairly high smoke point, making it ideal for Asian, Indian and Mexican inspired dishes from salads to sautés, stews, stir-fries and grilled items. It is also a perfect for baking. It is healthier than many other neutral-flavored cooking oils because, like olive oil, it is rich in monounsaturated fat, which doesn’t oxidize (form potentially harmful byproducts) when exposed to heat as easily as predominantly polyunsaturated oils like “vegetable” oil or soybean oil. To dispel one myth-- canola is not the same as rapeseed oil which has high levels of euric acid, a possibly harmful compound. Rather, it is a variety of rapeseed that was naturally bred to have very low levels of euric acid.


Thu, March 7, 2013 @ 10:50 AM

4. Linda wrote:
should that be grapeseed oil?

Mon, March 11, 2013 @ 12:23 PM

5. Ellie Krieger wrote:
Hi Linda,
That is not a typo---canola is a low-euric variety of rapeseed oil.

Fri, March 15, 2013 @ 8:22 AM

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