A kitchen full of colorful fruits and vegetables is also chock-full of mood-enhancing nutrients that will lift you up and do more than just help you meet your daily servings of fruits and vegetables (something most of us don’t do). Let’s make enjoying fruits and veggies deliciously easy to boost both your health and your mood!
Foods rich in tryptophan produce serotonin, a hormone aligned with better mood and sleep. Lucky for us, in addition to grains, nuts and seeds, a variety of fruits and vegetables contain tryptophan including pineapple, plantains, kiwi, leafy greens, broccoli, tomatoes, bananas, and plums.
Deliciously easy: Start your day with whole-grain Banana Bread Pancakes or give yourself an afternoon lift with this tryptophan-rich Green Juice.
Researchers have been able to observe a reduction in depression among individuals given some strains of probiotics (“good bacteria”). Seek fermented foods like sauerkraut and kefir, which are rich in probiotics.
Deliciously easy: Lift your morning mood with a simple blender mix of kefir and fruit. Or add fermented foods to your plate when you turn a head of cabbage into this simple, versatile sauerkraut recipe.
As a neurotransmitter building block, B6 plays a role in managing our emotional state and regulating mood. This important vitamin is found in an array of fruits and vegetables including potatoes, spinach, raisins, watermelon, and chickpeas (yes, they count as a vegetable and a protein source!).
Deliciously easy: Add raisins to your morning oatmeal, keep cut watermelon on hand for a quick snack, or prepare this super simple, versatile Chickpea Pesto that’s made from fresh ingredients including spinach.
Speaking of your morning oatmeal, go ahead and add some berries too. Turns out they’re not only colorful and delicious but as a source of polyphenols (antioxidants) may lower the risk of depression as well.
Deliciously easy: Enjoy berries fresh or frozen! They enhance any dish including this red, white, and blue summer salad.
Beans and lentils
Beans and lentils are not only unique vegetables due to their high protein content, they’re also rich in micronutrients like iron, magnesium, selenium, and zinc, which are associated with better mental health.
Deliciously easy: Pick up dried or low sodium canned beans to add to a variety of dishes, soups and stews, or make this fresh Lemony Lentil Salad with Feta.