Saturday, July 15, 2023

Favorite Foods for a Good Mood

Food Prep for a Good Mood
food prep with sweet potatoes, bananas, etc.

Most of you who read this blog have probably noticed I am a whole food plant based vegan.

This means I blog about this topic and eat meals that contain no animal products or highly processed foods. 

The Whole Food Plant-based (WFPB) recipes I enjoy sharing with readers and serve to family and friends are those that are simple and fun to make. 

I get a lot of compliments on my health-promoting recipes. I use minimal oil, no refined sugar, and little salt, but pack dishes with flavor from fresh ingredients flavored with herbs, spices, and condiments. 

I have been a vegetarian for over 42 years, gradually refined my eating plan, and am now fully vegan. 

Eat Colorful Fruit and Veggies to Boost Mood

Nowadays most people think it's wise to eat at least 5-9 servings of colorful fruits, veggies, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains each day. 

We need to learn more about nutrition and eat foods that contain an ample supply of the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients we need to fuel our bodies, reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases, and feel more joy in daily living.

This post offers details about why eating certain healthy foods can help brighten your outlook, improve your mood, and make you kick up your heels joyfully.


Favorite Foods for a Good Mood

COCOA, the kind that's pure unsweetened cocoa powder, is high in health-promoting flavonoids, and shown to increase blood flow to our brains, reduce inflammation, reduce negative thoughts, and boost our mood. The dark chocolate in candy bars contains refined sugar, so let's refrain from eating that kind. 

2 Cups of Cocoa
two delicious cups of hot chocolate

Sprinkling on a one teaspoon serving of unsweetened cocoa powder to cereal can activate endorphins, hormones that are released by the brain in response to pain or stress and produce a feeling of euphoria. 

Endorphins improve cognitive function and increases serotonin levels too. I prefer to use a teaspoon of pure cocoa and make a cup of hot chocolate, as my dark chocolate treat of the day. 

I'm sure that's why I feel so cheery yet calm after drinking just one cup.

BANANAS are high in vitamin B6, which helps synthesize feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.

Eating Bananas Boosts Your Mood

Bananas, especially the greenish colored ones, are a good source of natural plant-based carbs, vitamin B6, and prebiotic fiber, which works together to keep blood sugar levels and mood stable. 

See Why I Adore Eating Bananas for additional banana food facts and serving suggestions.

GINGER, which is the flavorful root of a plant, is effective in easing joint pain, and is a natural anti-inflammatory.

Ginger Tea can be a Mood Booster

Ginger has a well-earned reputation for curing motion sickness, diarrhea, nausea, and indigestion. It helps calm colic and irritable bowel, poor circulation, menstrual cramps, colds, and flu. 

Ginger can also reduce gastrointestinal issues like gas, bloating, and lack of appetite. When our bodies are healthy, our mood reflects it. Read How to Use Ginger in Recipes for Healing and Flavor for additional information.

SWEET POTATOES/YAMS are mood elevators, because they contain magnesium, a nutrient that supports the brain and nervous system. Scientific studies have found a connection between eating foods high in magnesium, and lowering symptoms of depression. 

The substance that gives yellow and orange potatoes their hue is the antioxidant beta-carotene. Beta-carotene helps with reducing free radical damage to brain cells, prevents oxidative stress leading to DNA damage, and when lacking, appears to be common in emotional conditions such as anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. 

Oven Roasted Sweet Potato Fries
oven roasted sweet potato fries

Carbohydrates in sweet potatoes help with serotonin production. For more read Favorite Fall Fruit and Veggies.

NUTS and SEEDS including Brazil nuts, almonds, and pine nuts are tasty sources of plant-based tryptophan, zinc, and selenium, and may support brain function and lower risk of depression. A 10-year study of 15,980 people linked moderate nut intake to a 23 percent lower risk of depression. 

Deficiency in these minerals, which are important for brain function, is associated with higher rates of depression — although more research is needed.

Eat Nuts and Seeds to Boost Mood
unsalted nuts are good mood food

I love to munch on 1/3 cup of unsalted raw nuts or seeds, as this is a tasty yet appropriate sized portion. Seeds and nuts are good sources of fiber, protein, and plant-based fat necessary for digestion, elimination, and energy. 

Mood-boosting serotonin found in almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds improves mood as well.

LEAFY GREENS and CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES including spinach, lettuce, watercress, arugula, chard, and kale are rich in folate and magnesium. These substances are important in helping to reduce anxiety and boost mood.

Other cruciferous veggies include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts. They contain high amounts of chromium, which can increase levels of brain chemicals related to positive feelings, alertness, and energy. These veggies are loaded with fiber, which can help balance blood sugar levels and prevent that depressing blood sugar crash.

Cruciferous Veggies and Greens for a Good Mood
good mood veggies

If you want to enhance your mood, please consider being more mindful and selective, when food shopping and with meal preparation.

Before you go, don't forget to comment below. 

This post is intended for educational and entertainment purposes only and not for nutritional, physical health, or mental health advice. Please check with those professionals, if that is what you want or need. 

I read and appreciate every comment, but will not publish those that contain links. Thanks for understanding. 

Did you learn something new about the relationship between mood and food? Please explain in the comments section below. 

Do you think you'll add more of these foods now that you know they are mood elevators? Please let me know.

Happy Family

Visit my Website as well. Click on the link to Services to discover ways my health and lifestyle writing, editing, and online content development creation can help you thrive.

Thanks for your visit and please come back again!

Colors 4 Health

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Saturday, July 1, 2023

Great Books For Summer Reading

Relax Outdoors with a Fun Read

I love to read books for sheer entertainment, relaxation, and escapism, and summer is an ideal time to get my fill of fun reads. 

What makes great summer reading? To prepare for this post, I did research to explore the history of summer reading.  

Based in part on that, I offer my recommendations for books I think you'd relish reading this summer. I sure did.   

Wear sunglasses to read a book outdoors


Summer Reads at Colors 4 Health

First up is The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley. This mystery is published by Harper Collins, and is offered in Hardcover, Kindle, Paperback, and Audiobook editions. 

The setting for this thriller/psychological crime drama is Paris, primarily in and around an upscale neighborhood/Paris Apartment building. 

Secrets, lies, and family ties are gradually disclosed by the novel's characters. 

Told from several different points of view, the scenes occasionally move forward and backward chronologically.

Many situations and events are not what they originally seem, and suspenseful details makes this book a compelling read. 

Summer Read at Colors 4 Health
Courtesy Ecco

Next up is Remarkably Bright Creatures, a debut novel by Shelby Van Pelt. Published by Harper Collins Ecco, it's available in Hardcover, Paperback (Harper Large Print), Kindle, and Audiobook formats.

This Goodreads’ Nominee for Best Fiction (2022) and Goodreads’ Nominee for Best Debut Novel (2022), fascinated me.

Although I found it challenging at first to accept the premise that an aquarium cleaning woman could communicate and befriend an Octopus, the writing is so awesome I suspended judgement and allowed myself to be thoroughly entertained. 

Once you start reading the narrative, bet you can't put it down.

Summer Reads at Colors 4 Health
                      Courtesy of Penguin Press

Last but not least is The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness 75 Books to Cure What Ails You by Ella Berthold and Susan Elderkin.

Originally published by Penguin Press in 2013, it's available in libraries and online in Paperback, Hardcover, and Kindle.

Classified as non-fiction, The Novel Cure is divided into 75 segments and offers book reading cures and/or literary comfort and support for ailments including insomnia, low self-esteem, unrequited love, and broken china. 

I read one topic at a time from this bibliotherapy source, and haven't restricted the dosage just to the summer.

When I'm looking for a book that has the power to distract me from worry and transport me to a better place, I grab and read a book featured in The Novel Cure.

Note: this post is offered for entertainment and educational purposes only and not suggested as medical/psychological advice.


For additional information about summer reads see "Summertime and Reading is Easy and Awesome."

Great Books For Summer Reading

What constitutes great summer reading?

I believe it is any type of book you enjoy reading. 

Some of us try to read or listen to stuff that doesn’t require a lot of concentration. 

Others prefer to read those tomes they haven't had time to persue during busier times of the year. 

As you stretch out on that beach blanket or sit in the shade of an old oak tree, take a minute to think of books you've enjoyed reading in summers past or want to read this year.

Which ones are they? Please comment below. Please refrain from putting links in your comments, as they won't be published that way.

Do you find a certain genre or particular format more appealing to read in the summer? Please share that info too.

Have you read any of the three books mentioned above? Please feel free to comment about them too.

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