As the computer programming adage goes: Garbage in / Garbage out. When we feel down, it's natural to crave comfort food. Unfortunately, many of our favorite comfort foods like macaroni and cheese, cookies, and sodas are nutrient poor and loaded with simple carbs and sugars. These poor choices might give up a momentary lift, but later lead to making us feel less energetic and less happy. Better food choices lead to better brain and whole body health.
Probiotics: science has shown that there are connections between gut health and mood. Your gut produces most of your neurotransmitters. Better gut health leads to improvements in mood, sleep, and systemic inflammation. Good food sources of probiotics are yogurt, kefir, tempeh, miso, tofu, saurkraut, and other fermented foods. Probiotic supplements can also be useful. See these resources for more information:
Antioxidants: prevent free radials that lead to cell damage. Brain cells are especially at risk to these free radicals. A diet rich in antioxident plentiful rich foods can help limit the damage.
◦ Beta-carotene: apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, collards, peaches, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potato
◦ Vitamin C: blueberries, broccoli, grapefruit, kiwi, oranges, peppers, potatoes, strawberries, tomato
◦ Vitamin E: margarine, nuts and seeds, vegetable oils, wheat germ
Complex carbohydrates can be found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes. Carbohydrates are linked to the mood-boosting brain chemical, serotonin. Simple carbs, like a cookie can cause a "high" and then a "crash". Complex carbs will help you to maintain a more consistent energy and mood.
Vitimins D and B12 deficiencies have both been implicated in mood disorders. Supplementing with these vitamins may help you to feel better. See also:
◦ Vitamin D: Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon; Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals; Cheese; Egg yolks
◦ B Vitamins: margarine, nuts and seeds, vegetable oils, wheat germ, lean animal and fish products, low-fat dairy