These fall foods and flavors not only pack a lot of comfort that conjure up fond memories of family baking, trips to the pumpkin patch and holiday meals, they also have mental health benefits. The ingredients in these 10 foods can deliver a boost to your mood:
1. Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds are considered one of Mother Nature’s most potent mood
boosters. They are full of zinc, which has been called the “essential mineral for resiliency” by
Dr. Emily Deans in her Psychology Today blog: Zinc: An Antidepressant. Zinc increases our
ability to fight off inflammation, which can lead to depression and anxiety. This food is also rich
in magnesium, which is considered a calming nutrient. Deficits in magnesium have been linked
to anxiety, which is why this mineral is known as the original "chill pill".
2.Squash: Squash is packed full of mood-boosting ingredients. One cup of butternut squash
contains 15 percent of the daily recommended value of magnesium, 17 percent of potassium,
and 18 percent of manganese—all vital minerals to keep you sane. Additionally, one cup of
squash also contains 52 percent of vitamin C, which fortifies our immune system and gives a
helping hand to our entire central nervous system.
3. Cinnamon: Did you know that Cinnamon was used as early as 2000 BC in ancient Egypt to
treat a host of different health conditions? Present studies have shown that smelling
cinnamon enhances cognitive performance. What is more, this spice is good for anxiety and
depression as it helps regulate blood sugar. One teaspoon of cinnamon provides 22 percent
of the daily recommended value of manganese, which is a critical trace mineral that helps
with nerve function, aids the central nervous system and neutralizes the free radicals that can
damage cell membranes and DNA.
4. Turkey: Turkey is a good source of the amino acid tryptophan, which helps produce
serotonin, commonly referred to as the feel-good chemical. Thinking of indulging during
Thanksgiving dinner? Go ahead, it will help you stay calm!
5. Apples: Apples are high in antioxidants, which can help prevent and repair oxidative damage
and inflammation at the cellular level. This fruit is also full of soluble fiber, which balances
blood sugar swings. Want a clever way to turn apples into a fall snack? Pair apple slices with
almond butter and not only will you get a tasty treat but also get omega-3 fatty acids along
with some fiber.
6. Eggplant: Eggplant not only is a good source of fiber, copper, vitamin B1, and manganese, it
also contains important phytonutrients that are potent antioxidants. One study showed that
anthocyanin phytonutrients in the skin of eggplants, called nasunin, protects brain cell
membranes from damage caused by free radicals and guards the lipids (fat) in brain cell
7. Sweet Potato: One baked sweet potato provides 214 percent of our daily recommended
value of vitamin A (an antioxidant superpower), 52 percent of our vitamin C, and 50 percent
of our manganese. Moreover, this healthy starch is helpful in fighting anxiety and depression
as it also contains copper, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, biotin, and potassium.
8. Bananas: Rich in potassium, bananas are proven to help with mood. Studies have found that
a high-potassium diet helps relieve symptoms of depression and tension in participants. Additionally,
this fruit contains melatonin which aids sleep and regulates our body’s natural rhythms, as well as
iron, which can help fight fatigue.
9. Chamomile Tea: Like cinnamon, chamomile tea has been used to treat a variety of
conditions since ancient times. This medicinal herb is an effective sedative that helps treat
panic and insomnia. A study conducted with patients with generalized anxiety disorder
(GAD) showed that participants who took chamomile supplements for eight weeks
demonstrated a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms compared to the control group
10. Turmeric: Although not as well known as the others, turmeric pairs well with fall foods. This
yellow spice that can be found in various kinds of curry contains a natural anti-inflammatory
agent known as curcumin that helps mitigate anxiety and depression.
Who said taking steps towards emotional wellness cannot also taste good? Go ahead and treat yourself this season. Make sure to add these foods to your fall snack and meal repertoire. Want creative recipes that use some of these foods? Click here and enjoy!