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Feel Good Foods

Content by: Sarah Bigbee, RD

Recent research has found there are factors we can control which affect our mood and feelings – from the inside-out. One of those factors is food. Learn more about food and mood!

Feel Good Foods

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Mood is defined as a temporary state of mind or feeling. There are many factors that affect mood. Some factors that affect mood come from outside of ourselves – they are external. An example of this is someone giving a compliment. It can boost mood! Another example is a rainy day can create feelings of sadness or fatigue.

Recent research has also found there are certain factors that affect mood from the inside -- called internal factors. One of the factors is food. Feel good foods have high amounts of the protein, which are necessary building blocks needed to produce healthy chemicals like serotonin and dopamine.

Since these chemicals are proteins, it is important to include complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains. By eating rich sources of these building block proteins with whole grains, the body produces greater amounts of feel good chemicals.

We can actually help ourselves "feel good", both physically and mentally! Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important for maintaining a healthy mind and body. Strive to eat a variety of the foods below in your diet. Don't forget a whole grain food item helps the body absorb and use the protein building blocks.

Foods that can lead to higher serotonin levels:
● Almonds, walnuts, and other nuts
● Cheeses (does not include “cheese products”)
● Chicken, turkey, and other poultry
● Eggs
● Leafy greens
● Mushrooms
● Pumpkin, chia, and other seeds
● Salmon
● Spinach
● Tofu, soy milk and other soy products

Foods that can lead to higher dopamine levels:
● Almonds, peanuts and other nuts
● Apples
● Avocados
● Bananas
● Beans
● Beets
● Cheeses (real cheese, not cheese products)
● Chicken, turkey, and other poultry
● Coffee
● Green leafy vegetables
● Oatmeal
● Probiotic-rich foods (kefir, sauerkraut and yogurt)
● Sesame and pumpkin seeds
● Tofu and other soy products
● Watermelon

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