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Summer foods that help your mood

By Elizabeth Hall, MS, RDN, LDN • May 29, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Nutrition plays a huge role in physical health, but it can also affect your mental edge and overall mood.

Protein: Salmon

Oily fish, such as salmon, is great for brain health because it is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which make up about 60 percent of the brain’s structure. Proteins in general can support a good mood because they help our bodies make a brain chemical called serotonin that regulates mood. Salmon is easy to prepare! Drizzle or rub with olive oil and sprinkle with spices, salt and pepper. Bake in the oven or wrap in a foil packet with vegetables to throw on the grill at a summer cookout.

Dairy: Lowfat Milk and Yogurt

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin found almost solely in dairy products, like milk and yogurt. Vitamin D is not only crucial to build strong bones, but to support mental health and reduce the risk of developing depression as well. Sun exposure on the skin for 10 minutes each day can help your body activate vitamin D. So grab a cold glass of milk or a cup of yogurt and get outside to soak up the sun!

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 preferable 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 to keep us happy.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables offer lots of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Many fruits and vegetables like strawberries and red bell peppers are high in vitamin C, which help support the immune system and protect from seasonal illnesses that often have a negative effect on mood. Plus, produce adds color to your plate, making meals appetizing and mood-boosting!

Put these “brain foods” on your plate to keep you feeling healthy and happy this summer!

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