5 Fall Foods to Brighten Your Mood

Brain Health, Health & Wellness, Heart Health, Nutrition

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This past February I wrote about 5 foods to brighten one’s mood during the dead of winter! Now as we head into the colorful fall season, I thought it would be similarly appropriate to present fall foods that uplift your health, mood and spirits.

Here are 5 of my favorites:

  1. Pumpkin Seeds:  As a rich source of magnesium, tryptophan and zinc, 1  handful each day is a superb snack to help calm daily stressors and elevate your mood.
  2. Butternut Squash: Try 1/2 cup servings at least once weekly for a rich supply of heart healthy and mood boosting minerals and vitamins; they include potassium, manganese, vitamins A, E and B6.
  3. Parsnips: A less colorful cousin of the carrot, parsnips are low in calories, high in fiber, manganese and the mood boosting vitamin folate. Parsnips are delicious in soups or as a side dish, especially when combined with carrots. Try steaming or roasting 1/2 cup (approximately 2 medium parsnips) at least once a week during the upcoming months as part of a savory autumn meal.
  4. Sweet Potatoes: Ranked as the #1 food source of vitamin A, sweet potatoes are loaded with antioxidants, folate and vitamin B6.  Enjoy at least 1 sweet potato each week (and raise your spirits) during the fall season .
  5. Cranberries:  Cranberries are also rich in antioxidants as well as the brain protective and anti-inflammatory compound ursolic acid.  Ursolic acid not only reduces growth of certain tumors but has also been shown to improve memory and reduce mood disorders, notably anxiety and depression.  Try a handful of fresh or dried cranberries at least once each week and reap the benefits!                                   Michael Miller, MD is Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland USA.  His latest book is  “Heal Your Heart: The Positive Emotions Prescription to Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease“.

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