CLEVELAND — Dr. Susan Albers, Cleveland Clinic psychologist and New York Best-Selling Author on mindfulness, said there are five foods and two spices that can have a major impact on your mood.
"We used to think that there was a one way direction between food and mood — how we feel impacted what we eat. Now we know that there is a bi-directional relationship. What we eat impacts how we feel and how we feel impacts what we eat," said Albers.
"My No. 1 favorite food for stress and depression is mandarin oranges. When you are feeling really depressed, your body is pumped full of cortisol and your immune system takes a hit. Mandarin oranges have a fantastic dose of vitamin C, and you need this when you're feeling stressed. Also, studies have shown that the scent of mandarin oranges are calming," Albers said.
"If there is one food that is going to help your entire body and mood, it is walnuts. Consider eating a handful of walnuts every single day. They are filled with Omega-3, and Omega-3 is helpful for our memory, our cognition and our mood. They are full of melatonin, and that helps you to sleep, so if you're feeling anxious, oftentimes, it is difficult to sleep."
"There is a significant correlation between depression and low vitamin D levels. One of the very best sources of vitamin D are mushrooms, particularly wild mushrooms. They grow outside, so they absorb the sunlight."
"Pumpkin seeds are one of the world's best sources of magnesium. Magnesium has been shown to be correlated with anxiety. People who have low magnesium also experienced a great deal of anxiety because magnesium helps to bind to receptors that are calming and they block receptors and neurotransmitters that are more energizing. Unfortunately, about 79% of the world is low in magnesium. So if you're experienced anxiety, try pumpkin seeds."
"A recent study found that eating just two Brazil nuts every single day can increase your Selenium. Selenium is an important mineral that's involved in our thyroid and our thyroid runs everything in our body, from our mood to our temperature to our sleep habits. So eating just two Brazil nuts is as effective as taking a supplement, so that's worth the investment.
"Cinnamon is helpful in regulating blood sugar. Now when our blood sugar is low, that's when we feel really angry and anger is a really clear example of that connection between our mood and food, so sprinkle cinnamon on everything — put it in your coffee, on cereal, yogurt (or) in stews. It is a great spice and everybody loves it
"Turmeric has been shown in a recent study to be as effective as Prozac in helping to manage mood."
Albers wants people to think about how food can change their lives for the better.
"People focus on reducing food in their lives and taking things off of their plate," said Albers, "Instead, think about what you can add each day. What is one food that you can add that is going to help your mood and your health?"