Contributed by Vicki T.

When I used feel down, I often reached for some Ben and Jerry’s or stopped by the store for some Mac n’ Cheese; but, my instant gratification would quickly be followed by the discomfort of bloating and generally feeling gross.  So, I did some research to find out what our body needs to change our moods.

Anxiety. Omega-3 fatty acids are the best at helping ease anxiety and lessening depression.  Salmon is the richest in Omega-3 fatty acids. Mackerel, sardines and herring are also rich in Omega-3s.  Soybeans, tofu, kale, collard greens, walnuts, flaxseed and winter squash also contain fatty acids.

Cranky. Usually when I was cranky I would eat a cookie, but then the sugar rush would end and I was crankier.  A shot of protein will help boost your energy and give you the fuel you need to carry on so try a slow digesting protein like Peanut Butter.  Now I pack some peanut butter on crackers, apple slices and celery to give me a quick pick me up.

PMS.  Carbohydrates help lessen the mood swings of PMS.  But, our instinct has us reaching for donuts which might pick us up for the moment and then there’s the inevitable crash.  A complex carbohydrate, such as whole wheat sandwich with turkey, can help level out your mood.

Sad.  Sadness can be linked to a lack of Vitamin D and low calcium levels.  If your serotonin levels are low, Vitamin D will help boost it back up.  Fish is a good source of Vitamin D but most milks – cow, soy, coconut – as well as orange juice have Vitamin D added to the formula.  Drink a glass or add some to your cereal.

Stressed.  I was doing what I was supposed to alleviate stress—eat Chocolate!  A couple of ounces of dark chocolate lowers stress and releases cortisol and catecholamine which reduce anxiety and calms you down.

When your mood changes, try reaching for these new comfort foods – at least some of the time – instead of french fries, pizza or ice cream and you will feel better in no time.