You know you’re supposed to eat more fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet, but did you know that the nutrients in fruits and veggies are essential for balancing your mood? It’s true and science is now proving it.

Researchers and economists from the University of Warwick in the UK, in conjunction with Dartmouth College in the US, studied the eating habits of 80,000 adults living in Britain. What they found was that the more fruits and veggies participants ate, the happier they reported feeling.

If you’re looking for a way to naturally boost your mood, start eating more fruits and veggies. Here are some to consider adding to your grocery list.

Bananas

Did you know that all of that potassium in a banana helps improve brain function? But beyond better cognition, the tryptophan in bananas eventually gets converted into serotonin, the “feel good” hormone.

Broccoli

Besides being responsible for cell growth and the production of healthy red blood cells, folic acid is essential for proper mood regulation. Folic acid is actually responsible for boosting serotonin levels and it just so happens that broccoli is a rich source of folic acid.

Spinach

And speaking of getting enough folic acid, spinach, as with most leafy veggies, boasts an impressive amount of the stuff. On top of that, spinach also contains a significant amount of magnesium. Magnesium is known to relax our muscles and calm anxiety. When you are deficient in magnesium, you may feel tired and irritable and find it hard to concentrate.

Olives

Olives: people tend to love them or hate them. If you’re someone who loves them, good news – olives contain “good fats” that are essential for lowering anger and anxiety levels. Don’t like olives? No worry, just start incorporating more olive oil into your diet. To receive all of the benefits, eat olive oil cold, as in a salad dressing.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are chock full of complex carbohydrates. Not only are these types of carbs better for glucose levels, they also increase our serotonin levels, making us feel calm and happy.

The even better news is, when you begin eating more fruits and vegetables to boost your mood, you’ll also increase your antioxidant intake. As you know, antioxidants are what fight the free radicals in our body that cause us to age and get sick. So, eating more produce is a significant win/win.

While nutrition can greatly impact your mood, if you think you may be suffering from depression, it’s best to seek guidance from a therapist who can help you manage your symptoms and work through any issues you may be having.

If you or a loved one is interested in exploring counseling, please contact us today. We would be happy to speak with you about how we may be able to help.

Priscilla Hurd, LPC, M.Ed.

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