Food has a powerful impact on our bodies and each item has a unique benefit! Certain foods may help you achieve a more restful night’s sleep, reduce your risk of developing disease, or aid in recovery after exercise. Food can also trigger “feel good” neurotransmitters in the brain and positively boost our mood. Add these mood-boosting foods to your plate so you can tackle your day with some pep in your step.
Strawberries contain soluble fiber which keeps your blood sugar stable. Soluble fiber helps to stabilize your blood sugar so you don’t experience highs and lows in energy.
Ways to Prepare: Strawberries are very versatile. Add frozen strawberries to your smoothie, or add fresh strawberries to your yogurt, oatmeal, or favorite salad.
Sweet potatoes contain Vitamin B6, which helps turn on serotonin, a “feel good” neurotransmitter in your brain.
Ways to Prepare: Slice sweet potatoes, toss with olive oil and bake them into healthy fries. Add baked sweet potato purée to pancake batter, oatmeal, and muffin batter. Or roast sweet potato wedges in the oven with garlic powder, chili powder or cinnamon for a flavorful side dish.
Walnuts contain Omega-3 fatty acids. Research has shown that heart-healthy foods are also brain-healthy foods. Foods rich in Omega-3 oils help maintain cognitive functioning.
Ways to Prepare: Eat a handful of nuts every day. Nuts pair perfectly with fresh fruit for a satisfying snack. Use nuts in place of croutons as a salad topper. Add nuts to your favorite quinoa or grain salad. Grind walnuts to make your own nut butter.
Although the sun is our best source of vitamin D, mushrooms can also provide this essential vitamin! Foods rich in vitamin D are not only vital for bone health but, research suggests, brain health as well.
Ways to Prepare: Sauté mushrooms into your morning omelet. Mix mushrooms into your favorite chili, soup, or stir-fry. Mushroom and sweet pepper skewers are a colorful side dish at your summer cookout.
Spinach contains magnesium which regulates blood sugar and promotes normal blood pressure levels. Keeping both your of these in check will help maintain your energy level.
Ways to Prepare: Add handfuls of spinach to your smoothie. Sauté spinach with garlic or ginger for a side dish. Or build your salad with nutrient-rich spinach leaves instead of iceberg lettuce.
Berry Delicious Spinach Salad
Makes 4 servings
- 4 cups fresh spinach
- 1 ½ cup sliced fresh strawberries
- ½ cup diced nonfat or reduced fat mozzarella cheese
- 4 slices red onion thinly sliced, separated into rings
- ¼ cup diagonally sliced celery
- ½ cup bottled low fat raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing
- ¼ cup golden raisins
- ¼ cup toasted chopped walnuts
- Place the spinach, strawberries, cheese, onion and celery in a large bowl, and toss to mix well. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss again.
- Divide the salad among 4 salad bowls. Top each serving with a tablespoons of the raisins and, if desired, a tablespoon of nuts. Serve immediately.
Nutritional Information 189 calories, 10g fat, 1g saturated fat, 6mg cholesterol, 259mg sodium, 24g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 17g sugar, 5g protein
Roxana Ehsani, MS, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian / In-Store Nutritionist
Giant Food Washington DC
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