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Good Mood Food

Good Mood Food


If you are beating back the winter blues, you should know that eating well and staying fit can help. Find ways to keep up your activity level during the winter months and keep an eye on portion sizes to limit the 'winter fat' that so many of us end up fighting each year. Keep blood sugars under control if you have insulin resistance or diabetes. Beyond that, there are some foods that can help you keep the bad-mood blues at bay. Foods that supply good amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and folate are good choices to improve mood. The best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are certain varieties of fatty fish that live in cooler temperatures such as salmon, tuna, and trout. Here are amounts you'd need to eat of some of the more popular and particularly potent seafood varieties to get about a gram of omega-3s: herring, 1' to two ounces; salmon, two to four ounces; rainbow trout, three to four ounces; sardines, two to three ounces; white tuna (canned, in water), four ounces; Pacific oysters, two to three ounces. While they are not as potent for this job, you can also try flaxseeds, walnuts, and eggs fortified with omega-3s. Don't overdo intake, though, because higher doses can worsen blood-sugar control. Sticking to between a half and 1' grams of omega-3s per day is your safest bet. Dietary folate equivalents are measurements that help compare folate levels in foods that may be absorbed differently. A deficiency in folate in the blood can cause depression, and although depression doesn't necessarily indicate a folate deficiency, it is not a bad idea to emphasize high-folate foods this winter. Examples are enriched cereals and breads, legumes, and even some fruits and vegetables. About 400 micrograms per day is recommended. You should know that overdoing this nutrient can cover up problems you may have with vitamin B12, so easy does it! This list will give you an idea of how much you will consume in selected foods: ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, 100'400 DFEs per cup; cooked lentils, 180 per half cup; cooked pinto beans or chickpeas, 140 per half cup; dry-roasted sunflower seeds, 150 per half cup; orange juice, 60'100 per cup; asparagus, 100 per five spears; cooked spinach, 100 per half cup; cooked broccoli, 45 per half cup; romaine lettuce, 40 per half cup. Also remember that having balance in your diet is as important as emphasizing these foods for mood. Eat well to stay well this winter! Fields-Gardner is the director of services for the HIV nutrition company Cutting Edge and is a member of the International AIDS Society and the American Dietetic Association's Dietetic Practice Group on HIV and AIDS. She is the author of Living Well With HIV and AIDS: A Guide to Nutrition and a coauthor of HIV Medications: Food Interactions and A Clinician's Guide to Nutrition in HIV and AIDS.

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