Fatty fish like salmon is one of nature’s richest sources of omega-3 fats; for a mood lift, enjoy fatty fish 2-3 times each week. Odds are you’ll be happier company, as studies have found that people who infrequently eat fish are more likely to suffer from depression. For an extra “heaping of happiness,” coat the salmon with crushed hemp seeds (available in the natural foods section of most grocery stores) and top it with a radish sprout salad. Both the seeds and the sprouts are rich in vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fats to further bolster mood, brain power and immunity. Click here for the recipe.
By eating this way, you’ll enjoy a double brain benefit, too: not only do foods rich in omega-3 fat help fight crankiness and improve your outlook today, they help you maintain a robust memory and significantly reduce the risk of developing dementia as you age.
Mushrooms Exposed to UV Light
Vitamin D is another key part of “mood maintenance” because it helps regulate the activity of the brain’s neurotransmitters (serotonin, melatonin and dopamine) which have a profound impact on mood. Studies have found the likelihood of having depression is significantly higher in people with a deficiency in vitamin D compared to those who have normal levels. Chances are, you or someone you know might be deficient and not even know it (a blood test is required); by some estimates, over 50% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, making it a critical component in a crank-proof diet.
While it can be difficult to meet the RDA for vitamin D through food alone (600 IU for people ages 19-70), one fantastic food that has recently come to a supermarket near you is vitamin D-packed mushrooms. These are mushrooms that have been exposed to UV light, which naturally boosts the vitamin D level; one cup of these mushrooms packs 100% of the RDA (look for this on the label). Serve these mushrooms over couscous for an easy and delicious dinner; couscous is rich in selenium, another nutrient that has been linked to improved mood.