Our favorite fall foods boost more than your mood …
(Liz Moody, MBG) The reality of winter is about to set in—and along with it, the seasonal affective disorder that affects so many.
We asked Dale Pinnock, the Medicinal Chef and author of Eat Your Way to Happiness, to share his favorite foods to fend off the winter blues. Here are some of his top picks.
[Great news – these foods are all plentiful during the fall harvest season. Make them the heart of your Thanksgiving dinner and fall menu planning. – Editor]
Turkey – beats mood swings, improves sleep, boosts sexual desire
Turkey is on this list because of its high tryptophan content.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that is the metabolic precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which controls elements of bone metabolism, localized aspects of gut function, and makes us feel good.
Serotonin is the feel-good chemical that keeps us happy and upbeat and keeps our moods stable. Serotonin also regulates our appetite and sleep patterns and is involved in memory and sexual desire.
A deficiency of serotonin has been linked to depression, and serotonin levels and availability in the nervous system is a major target in drug therapy for depression.
Serotonin also helps regulate sleep patterns.
Whole grains – essential for brain and heart health
I recommend whole grains because they’re rich in B vitamins, one of the most important groups of nutrients for neurological health. B12 is involved in emotion, cognition, and arousal.
It is also thought that, in combination with vitamin B6 and folic acid, B12 can reduce levels of an amino acid called homocysteine, which can cause damage to the brain and cardiovascular system.
Green vegetables – help relax the nervous system
Veggies are packed with magnesium, which is involved in over 1,000 chemical reactions in the body, and it helps relax the muscles and the nervous system.
I recommend people pack as many greens into each of their meals as possible.