It's fall, and that means it's time for pumpkins, office pranks, Halloween, falling leaves, chilly air, and yes, even happy thoughts. Autumn brings with it foods that are considered by some to improve mood, and here's a list of five ways you could benefit from a fall diet, courtesy of PsychCentral.
1. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is considered good for your mental wellbeing because it boosts neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate mood, including melatonin, dopamine and serotonin. Sun exposure isn't the only way to get this key vitamin. You can find the nutrient in fish, dairy products, sweet potatoes and even mushrooms.
2. B Vitamins
Vitamins B-6 and B-12 have also been shown to boost serotonin production. They can be found in avocados, potatoes, green beans, eggs, fish and dairy products. Some studies also suggest that B vitamins could benefit brain health.
If you're not familiar with selenium, you should be. Selenium is only required in small doses to benefit health, and preliminary studies show it could be useful in treating mild mood problems. It's found in beans, whole grains, nuts, lean meats and low-fat dairy products.
Vitamin D and B vitamins aren't the only ways to get your serotonin boost this fall. While carving pumpkins, consider scooping out some of the pulp for a pie. The particular carbohydrates in pumpkins, carrots, tomatoes, spinach and oats are thought to increase serotonin levels. Spinach also contains dopamine-producing folic acids and magnesium.
5. Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are world-famous for their potential health benefits, but is it true that they may improve mood? According to Psychology Today, the brain is 60 percent fat, and evidence is mounting that insufficient levels of Omega-3 can lead to unsatisfactory moods. Omega-3 can be found in wild rice, walnuts, beans and fish.
Meals to put step in your heels
Thanksgiving celebrations can include pumpkin pies and mashed sweet potatoes that raise B vitamins and vitamin D as well as increase serotonin. Patrons of wild rice, fish and beans can make a tasty complete protein this fall, with some spinach or carrots on the side for greater dopamine production. And hey, have you ever actually roasted walnuts over an open fire? Doing so this holiday season may give you an unexpected smile.