To maintain a balanced mood, avoid refined carbohydrates and sugar, which can cause your blood sugar levels to spike and drop, leaving you irritable and lethargic. Instead, try a whole-grain roll with a slice of turkey.
Rise and Dine
Say so long to those “woke up on the wrong side of the bed” mornings with a low-fat, carbohydrate-rich breakfast. Studies have shown that eating breakfast can lift both mood and energy. “If you skip your breakfast, there’s nothing you can do to boost your mental and mood quotient later in the day. No food will make up for that mistake,” Somer says.
Your energy reserves are at their lowest when you wake up; unless you refuel, your blood sugar levels will drop, causing fatigue and irritability. A high-powered day, filled with stress and competing demands, can tax your system even more until you’re exhausted and grouchy. Your breakfast should be mostly complex carbs with a bit of protein. Good choices include: whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk and berries, whole-wheat toast with peanut butter and apple slices, and yogurt with fresh fruit and whole-grain granola.
Feast on Fish
Fish doesn’t just improve mood, it helps your entire mind work better. Why? Because DHA and EPA — the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish — are essential building blocks of the brain and nervous system. They help cells communicate. “Our brains don’t work without omega-3 fats — period,” says Mark Hyman, MD, a physician specializing in integrative medicine and the author of "The UltraMind Solution." Researchers have known for some time that the more fish a population eats, the lower their rate of depression. Some studies have even shown omega-3s to work as well as or better than antidepressants. EPA and DHA are found in fish, fish oil supplements and algae.
Dr. Gomez-Pinilla recommends having at least three servings of fatty fish a week, such as salmon, sardines or anchovies, in order to get all the nutrients that fish offers. But if you’re worried about mercury, or just don’t like the taste of fish, studies have shown that supplements can work just as well. Consider taking a 1,000 mg supplement daily.
— by Jill Provost
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