A Cure for the Moody Blues
The next time you're feeling a little down in the dumps, try this newly discovered mood-lifter: Eating. Not the quart of New York Super Fudge Chunk in the freezer, but certain foods eaten a certain way have been shown to increase levels of serotonin in your brain.
According to researchers at MIT, you can improve your mood by following this two-step process:
1. Boost your blood levels of tryptophan by including some protein--ideally, poultry, seafood or lean meat--in every meal. If you are vegetarian or vegan, beans (especially lentils) can be substituted for protein.
2. About 3-4 hours after a meal and an hour before the next one, eat a quickly digested carbohydrate, like a slice of whole wheat bread or a couple of oatmeal cookies. (Make sure you have an empty stomach and don't eat protein between meals.) Doing so causes the tryptophan to enter your brain, where it becomes serotonin within about 20 to 30 minutes.
If you're thinking "Hey, isn't tryptophan that stuff that makes me tired on Thanksgiving?" then you're right. But having a portion of protein won't give you that same sleepy effect. So have some protein and reach for that cookie--it is part of the good mood diet (and can make for healthy living, too)!