After the rush of the holidays, winter blues can have a great affect on your mood. Staying active and getting enough sleep are important to maintaining your well being, but including superfoods in your diet is another crucial factor to brightening your day. Here are a collection of foods that will give you a boast and put your mind at ease.

Swiss Chard

This leafy green has high levels of folic acid, which has been proven to be a strong mood booster. A study conducted by the University of York and Hull York Medical School discovered a connection between depression and low levels of folic acid. Spice up a meal with some delicious sauteed swiss chard and onions with this simple recipe here.

Asparagus

A versatile green veggie that can easily be roasted for a delicious addition to any meal and has been proven to raise low folic acid levels that are linked to depression. Asparagus also contains vitamin C which has been connected to easing depression. Eating a cup of this vegetable is recommended to be effective.

Oatmeal

This morning staple is high in magnesium that has been proven to combat anxiety and depression. It also has large amounts of soluble fiber that helps stabilize mood swings. Add flavor to your oats with these simple, but delicious recipes. For maximum results make sure to eat at least 1/2 cup of dried oats to jump start your day.

Almonds

An easy and filling snack, these nuts are packed with magnesium, which are vital to maintaining good brain health and alleviating depression. Create a savory-sweet snack by making your own trail mix with almonds and other heart-healthy nuts and dried fruits. Snacking on around 23 almonds daily will allow you to see positive changes in your mood.

Dark Chocolate

Have a sweet tooth? Satisfy your cravings and get a natural mood boost through this sweet treat by eating 3.5 to 7 ounces daily. Need another reason to indulge? The Journal of Psychopharmacology concluded that dark chocolate is filled with cocoa flavanols, a key ingredient that helps reduce stress levels.

Tomatoes

Often mistaken for a vegetable, these fruits are packed with the antioxidant lycopene, which helps rid the body of free radicals that damage cells. Tomatoes are also known to have high levels of folic acid that help prevent depression. The recommended amount is 1/3 cups of tomatoes daily to reach optimal results.

Eggs

This protein-packed breakfast food, assists with your body’s ability to create serotonin. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression. For a bright start to your day, check out these healthy egg-based recipes. It is proven that up to three eggs are safe for daily consumption for healthy individuals, but if you are worried about your cholesterol intake consult with your physician first.LentilsWhat’s better than a steaming bowl of lentil soup on a cold winter’s day? Not much. An added bonus is that lentils are packed with folic acid, which is a major mood booster. Lentils also have the amino acid L-tyrosine, that allows your brain to create the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine that help fight off depression. A cup of cooked lentils is the minimum amount recommended for effectiveness.

Honey

Nature’s sweetener is known to have a calming effect that can soothe anxious minds. Honey is also known to have tryptophan, an amino acid that induces sleep by creating the hormone serotonin that is known to aid in relaxation. Try it in a cup of tea, with some plain yogurt or just as a spoonful to have an instant effect on frazzled nerves. Ten tablespoons is the recommended maximum amount for daily consumption.

Mussels

This superfood from the sea is filled with vitamin B12, which is necessary for normal nervous system functioning and is critical in creating a compound named S-adenosylmethionine that monitors your mood. For a delicious and mood-elevating meal, try making your mussels with garlic butter, a recipe where you cannot go wrong. Be mindful that mussels have a high sodium content, where a 6-ounce serving has 627 milligrams of sodium, so consume in moderation.

Featured photo credit: An image of a woman eating vegetable salad via shutterstock.com

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