Wellness Club - Food and Mood

Wellness Club - Food and Mood
Abingdon, VA. - Wednesday, May 2, 2018.

by Elizabeth Hall, MS, RDN, LDN     Registered Dietitian, K-VA-T Food Stores

Nutrition plays a huge role in physical health, but it can also affect your mental edge and overall mood. Put these “brain foods” on your plate to keep you feeling healthy and happy this spring!

Protein: Salmon & Animal proteins

Proteins are made up of amino acids. A certain amino acid, tryptophan, helps our bodies make a brain chemical called serotonin, which helps to regulate mood. Tryptophan is found in complete proteins such as meat, poultry, fish, and seafood. Oily fish, such as salmon, is also great for brain health because it is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which make up about 60% of the brain’s structure.

Dairy: Lowfat Milk & Yogurt

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin found almost solely in dairy products. Vitamin D is not only crucial to build strong bones, but support mental health as well. Research shows that getting adequate vitamin D can reduce the risk of developing depression.

Starch: Whole Grains and Starchy Vegetables

Carbohydrates or starches are the body’s primary energy source. Starch is broken down into glucose, or sugar, which is the only nutrient that can pass the blood-brain barrier to feed the brain. Carbohydrates include whole grains, cereals, and pastas but also starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, and peas. These starches are high in fiber and other nutrients that give us energy and help our bodies make hormones that influence emotions.

Fruit: Berries & Citrus Fruits

Fruits, like vegetables, offer lots of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Berries and citrus fruits specifically, are high in vitamin C which help support the immune system and protect us from infection. Seasonal sickness is not fun and often has a negative effect on mood. These fruits also contain minerals that promote good muscle function to support physical activity. Exercise boosts mood as well!

Vegetables: Cauliflower

Vegetables are nutrient-dense powerhouses that support overall health and provide color and visual appeal to meals. Even white vegetables, like cauliflower, come with their own special benefits. Cauliflower is in the cruciferous vegetable family similar to broccoli and cabbage. These veggies are packed with nutrients to prevent cancer and inflammation and to keep your metabolism healthy. A healthy metabolism gives you energy and enables you to do your best and feel your best.

Healthy Fats: Walnuts

Walnuts are not only shaped like a brain, but they are good for your brain too! Walnuts are the only tree nut that is an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 essential fatty acid.