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Guilt-free foods for an uplifting mood

Chocolate, ice cream, mashed potatoes and pasta — those are some of the things we as Americans tend to think of as comfort foods, and they’re what we tend to turn to when we’re feeling stressed or sad.

Yet, experts say we could be making smarter choices when it comes to what foods we use to comfort ourselves. According to Healthline, foods that are high in saturated fats and sugars, such as our typical comfort foods, can cause the opposite of the desired effect by raising our blood sugar and causing mood swings.

According to a medically reviewed article on Healthline, eating sugary sweets and treats cause mood and energy levels into peaks and valleys, which can further exacerbate depression- related symptoms.

The very foods we crave when we’re feeling down can actually make those negative emotions worse. However, the right diet can help keep depression and depression-like symptoms at bay.

Some tips to keep your mind healthy include starting your day with breakfast and eating at regular intervals to keep those blood-sugar levels stable.

There are specific foods that can stimulate mental health:

Turkey, for example, contains tryptophan, which stimulates serotonin in the brain. Most lean meats are good for combating depression because of their protein levels, but turkey is the most effective due to its ability to stimulate that natural feel-good chemical in your brain in combination with the protein.

Walnuts, fish, and flax seed are not only other sources of protein, but also of monounsaturated fats. When it comes to those winter blues, they can be helpful thanks to their high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that help overall brain health.

Avocados contain even more healthy fats that are good for your brain. According to everydayhealth.com, an average avocado contains four grams of protein, higher than other fruits, and is filled with vitamin K, different kinds of vitamin B (B-9, B-6, and B-5), vitamin C and vitamin E-12. These vitamins feed your brain and help aid in mood improvement.

Mushrooms’ chemical properties “oppose” insulin, helping to lower blood-sugar levels and lift your mood. They also help promote good bacteria in your stomach. Considering the fact that the cells in our guts create 80 to 90 percent of our body’s serotonin, this is a good thing for mental health.

Finally, an apple a day really can keep the doctor away, according to Everyday Health. Apples are high in antioxidants that, among other things, prevent and repair inflammation damage, which is linked to depression. Apples also have soluble fiber, which balances blood-sugar swings.

For more foods that can help combat the onset of winter blues and for other tips, visit everydayhealth.com and search “beat depression.”

About The Author

Rachel Stroecker

Rachel Stroecker is a 24-year-old journalism student with a passion for theatre, comic books, literature, and cat-sitting. When she isn’t writing, she’s probably watching CW television shows about superheroes or reading young adult novels with female protagonists. Either that, or she’s napping. One day, she aspires to be a theatre critic, since getting paid to see Broadway shows sounds like the bee’s knees.

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