7 Foods that Boost Your Mood

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Here are some of my favorite happiness-creating, mood-boosting foods:
By Dr. Axe
For recipes, please click on the link at the end of the message

1. Avocado

Avocado benefits are far-reaching, particularly in the brain department. In fact, you’ll find them on nearly every healthy-eating list I create — and with good reason. This superfood is loaded with benefits ranging from protecting your heart to helping with digestion, but it’s also a great pick for improving your mood. Avocados are natural hormone balancers, ensuring your brain is making the right chemicals needed for keep it feeling great. If I had to recommend just one food to eat to feel happier, this would be it, the mood-boosting avocado. It’s the No. 1 food to eat to feel happier.

Try it: Satisfy your sweet tooth and enjoy all of avocados’ benefits with my Chocolate Avocado Mousse recipe.

2. Grapes

Juicy grapes are the ultimate take-along snack, but these powerful little fruits are also handy when you want to feel better. When you look at grapes nutrition, you see they are packed with antioxidants, especially flavonoids, which have been found to affect mood. (3) While you can get some of the antioxidant benefits from red wine, which is made from grapes, alcohol is a known depressant. Keep your spirits up by eating the fruit in its natural state instead.

Try it. This hearty homemade Chicken Salad recipe includes a serving of grapes, but feel free to serve extra on the side.

3. Shiitake mushrooms

This meaty mushroom has more to offer than just taste. Upgrading your normal white mushrooms to this Asian variety brings a variety of nutrients to the table, including vitamin B6. While the entire B vitamin complex family is critical to ensuring our physical and psychological functions operate normally, B6, also known as pyridoxine, is particularly great for improving your mood and feeling good.

Because vitamin B6 impacts the production of serotonin and neurotransmitters, healthy B6 levels are associated with a positive mood and reducing stress naturally. (4a) It’s also been proven to effectively treat mood disorders like depression. (4b) Plus, shiitake mushrooms are a delicious addition to meat-free meals thanks to their texture and ability to soak up sauces and taste. Mmm.

Try it: My Vegan Sushi mixes shiitake mushrooms, cauliflower rice and some tasty veggies for a vegan-friendly sushi that everyone will enjoy.

4. Raw nuts

It’s time to go nuts. That’s because these bite-sized foods are loaded with healthy benefits that will leave you smiling. Nuts are full of serotonin, a feel-good chemical that’s in short supply when you’re depressed. (5) Nuts are also full of antioxidants and healthy fats. I’m a fan of walnuts, Brazil nuts and cashews — just be sure to be mindful of how many you eat. While they are healthy, nuts are also high in fat and calories, so a handful or two is usually the right amount.

Try it. These Salty Lime Roasted Nuts combine sea salt with maple syrup for a sweet and salty snack you can eat on the go.

5. Salmon

Wild-caught salmon is one of the best foods for both your mood and brain health. This lean protein contains double your recommended value of vitamin B12. Getting enough of this vitamin is crucial to warding off depressing and staying mentally healthy. (6)

One study found that patients with the highest vitamin B12 levels were most successful in combatting depression. (7) Salmon also packs a punch of mood-stabilizing essential fatty acids. These bad boys keep your brain operating in tip-top shape by helping you producing the right chemicals so you can turn that frown upside down. (8)

Try it. This Salmon Stir Fry recipe comes together in minutes and pairs my favorite fish with a heap of fresh veggies.

6. Sesame seeds

Not just a topping, sesame seeds are powerful in their own right. This ancient crop has been keeping happy levels up for thousands of years. Its benefits stem from tyrosine. This amino acid boosts the brain’s dopamine levels, kicking the feel-good hormone into high gear, while balancing out the others. Pretty impressive for such a small seed!

Try it. Sprinkle sesame seeds on salad or in smoothies. You can also roast them and make this Tahini recipe, a delicious alternative to the usual hummus.

7. Strawberries

Last in this list of mood-boosting foods? Probably the most beloved of berries: the strawberry, which proves the berries are rich in an array of vitamins and nutrients like vitamins A and C and manganese. Because of this, strawberries serve as a strong line of defense against brain degeneration, while also boosting the happy chemicals your brain produces. And who can argue at how good they taste?

Try it. My Strawberry Rhubarb Chia Seed Pudding is dairy-free, full of berries and makes an excellent breakfast or dessert.

Mood-Boosting Foods: 7 Foods for Greater Happiness

It’s A Green Thing

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“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”                                                                                   1 Corinthians 10:31

A couple of months ago when my Nutribullet arrived from Amazon, I dived head first into the juicing and smoothie craze.  It has had an amazing impact on my journey for healthy mind, body and spirit.  I have a lot more energy, my digestive system is happy, my skin is happy and the few pounds that I have lost are just an added bonus.  I usually try to have at least one green smoothie a day and my 2nd smoothie will still include kale and or spinach, but various berries that alter the color from green.  Pictured above are the ingredients that I mix with water and ice for my daily basic green smoothie. Listed below are just a few “green” recipes that I have tried to keep it exciting and from becoming monotonous.  For that extra boost, you can always add a touch of cinnamon, fresh or dry ginger, cashews, walnuts, almonds, flax seeds, etc.  The sky is the limit.  Enjoy! ~P

Pina Colada

Pina-Colada-Green-Smoothie

INGREDIENTS


2 cups spinach, fresh
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
2 tablespoons coconut flakes, unsweetened (optional)
3 cups pineapple, fresh

Tropical Mango-Rita Green Smoothie

TropMangoRita_Logo_560

Ingredients


2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup coconut water, unsweetened
1 orange, peeled
2 cups mango, frozen
1 cup pineapple, frozen
Juice of 1/2 lime, plus lime slices for garnish
Coarse salt for rim of glasses (optional)


This tropical smoothie is so yummy, it’s hard to believe it’s packed full of nutrients that does a body good.  This tropical fruit combo packs a big Vitamin C punch and the coconut water base will keeps you hydrated all day long. Oh, and coconut water is great for replenishing lost electrolytes.   // serves 2

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Peachy Green Smoothie

Ingredients

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 orange                                                                                                          1/2 cup frozen peaches
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1/2 banana
2 cups spinach
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (optional)

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TROPICAL SKIN CLEANSER GREEN SMOOTHIE


Antioxidants help to prevent and repair damage to body tissues, our skin included. Vitamin C is one of the greatest antioxidants we have available, and it’s abundant in pineapple. The addition of avocado brings with it other skin-specific nutrients such as vitamins E, A and zinc. In fact, you could probably use this smoothie on your face as a beauty treatment! // serves 1

INGREDIENTS


1 1/2 cups fresh spinach

1 cup coconut water, unsweetened

1 cup pineapple, frozen

1/4 avocado

DIRECTIONS


1. Blend spinach and coconut water until smooth.

2. Add remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

*Use a frozen fruit to make smoothie cold

Fall Back & Pump-kin Up!

Pumpkin bread, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin beer — from savory to sweet, the options are endless. It’s finally pumpkin season, and the reasons to celebrate are many.

Not only is fall’s signature squash versatile enough to fit into all the above and more, it also packs some powerful healthy perks — like keeping heart health, vision and waistlines in check, as long as you take it easy on the sweets, that is.

Below, are a few favorite health benefits of pumpkin.

1) Pumpkins Keep Eyesight Sharp
2) Pumpkins Aid Weight Loss
3) Pumpkin Seeds Can Help Your Heart
4) Pumpkins May Reduce Cancer Risk
5) Pumpkins Protect The Skin
6) Pumpkin Seeds Can Boost Your Mood
7) Pumpkins Can Help After A Hard Workout
8) Pumpkins Can Boost Your Immune System

http://dailyburn.com/life/health/pumpkin-health-benefits/

For a healthier way to add pumpkin into your diet, adding pumpkin chunks to a roasted vegetable medley, or sprinkling pumpkin seeds on top of your salad. You can also try pumpkin puree in place of nut butters as a spread. And for an energizing morning smoothie, blend a high-quality vanilla protein powder with coconut milk, chia seeds, pureed pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice.

Other than pumpkin seeds and pumpkin muffins, I’ve never been much of a pumpkin lover, but the recipes below and the health benefits have definitely sparked my interest and taste buds.  Although pumpkin-laced desserts decrease in the health benefits, these recipes look and sound too yummy to resist!  I can’t wait to try them all.  Because GraceFace is all about “trying to get it to healthy” a few substitutions have been made to lighten the calories and the sugar content.  If you have any other healthier alternatives to making these treats even lighter, please feel free to share with us!

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Pecan-Crusted Pork with Pumpkin Butter

1 (14 ounce) can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup apple juice
3/4 cup sugar
1 pinch ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup pecans
3/4 cup bread crumbs
4 (1/2 inch thick) boneless pork chops
1/4 cup oil for frying

Whisk together pumpkin puree, apple juice, sugar, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon in a saucepan until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the mixture has reached the consistency of applesauce. About 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, pulse pecans and bread crumbs in a food processor until the pecans are finely chopped. Pour into a shallow dish, and press pork chops into the mixture to coat.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add breaded pork chops and cook until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Remove and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Serve the pork chops with a dollop of pumpkin butter.

 

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Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Enchiladas

Yield: 9-12 servings

1 pkg. (8 oz.) low fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2½ cups Lite Cool Whip, thawed
18-24 Flour tortillas
6 tbsp. butter, melted
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
Caramel sauce

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar and pumpkin pie spice with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently stir in the whipped topping. Divide the cream cheese mixture evenly between the tortillas. Roll each tortilla up and put on serving plates. In a small bowl, combine the butter, sugar and cinnamon. Brush the mixture over the rolled tortillas. Top with caramel sauce.

 

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This recipe is fairly simple to make. If you’re looking for a great Fall recipe, be sure to give these Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Bars a try – you’ll be glad you did!

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Bars
Printable recipe
Yield: 18-24 bars

For the crust:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses

For the cheesecake layer:
1 pkg. (8 oz.) low fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2½ cups Lite Cool Whip, thawed

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13-in. baking dish lightly with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine first 6 ingredients crust ingredients in a medium bowl; whisk to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar, shortening and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and beat until well blended. Add the flour mixture and mix just until blended.

Press the dough into the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool.

Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar and pumpkin pie spice with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently stir in the whipped topping.

When the crust has cooled off, spoon the cream cheese mixture into crust. Level with an off-set spatula or the back of a spoon.

Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Store leftover cheesecake bars in refrigerator.

 

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Decadent Pumpkin Muffins
Original recipe makes 24 muffins
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups canned pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup fat free vanilla yogurt
4 egg whites
1 egg
2/3 cup water
1 cup raisins

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line two 12 cup muffin pans with paper muffin liners.
In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves. In a large bowl, beat together the pumpkin, white sugar, brown sugar, applesauce, yogurt, egg whites, and egg. Blend the flour mixture into the sugar mixture, alternating with the water, to form a smooth batter. Fold in the raisins. Transfer to the prepared muffin pan.
Bake 16 to 18 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool on wire racks.

I’ll drink to that!

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OH YUMMY!!!! Healthy Hawaiian Blizzard 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk 1 banana 1/4 cup ice cubes 2 teaspoons honey, optional pineapple wedges, for garnish Directions In a blender, combine the pineapple chunks, coconut milk, banana, ice and, if desired, honey. Puree until smooth. Pour into 2 large glasses. Garnish each serving with a pineapple wedge.

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Banana Bonkers Original recipe makes 6 servingsChang 3 bananas 3 cups fresh grapefruit juice 2 cups lemon sherbet 1 cup crushed ice Directions Puree bananas in a blender or food processor. In a gallon pitcher combine pureed bananas, grapefruit juice, lemon sherbet and crushed ice. Stir and serve

.   imageimage Raspberry  Coconut Smoothie Needed: Unsweetened coconut flakes, greek yogurt, coconut water (frozen in ice cubes), fresh raspberries, 1/2 frozen banana. Optional: Truvia. Directions: For the coconut layer blend 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, 1/4 cup greek yogurt, 6 coconut water cubes. Add to glass and rinse blender. Next, blend 1 cup raspberries (frozen if possible), 1/2 a frozen banana and 1/4 cup greek yogurt. This layer will be very tart. If you prefer a sweeter taste add 1 teaspoon Truvia before blending. Add to glass. Garnish with coconut flakes. Enjoy!

 

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Ideas for flavoring your water

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Spice up your light lemonade and iced tea!

 

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Frozen Yogurt Covered Strawberries

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Warning: These are addicting! They are cold and sweet and refreshing and just delightful to pop in your mouth on a hot summer day! Try them…they’re so easy to make!

Frozen Yogurt Covered Strawberries

1 container Vanilla Yogurt (Use Greek Yogurt because it’s thicker)
Fresh ripe strawberries

Slice strawberries in half. Spoon Greek yogurt onto a shallow dish and dip the strawberries in the yogurt. Place dipped strawberries in a plastic container lined with parchment paper and freeze.

For Us Zucchini Lovers

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Crusty Parmesan-Herb Zucchini Bites

Ingredients 4 medium, fresh zucchini, sliced in half 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated 1-2 tablespoons fresh rosemary & thyme, minced smidge of olive oil salt & pepper to taste Directions Pre-heat oven to 350F, lightly brush both sizes of the zucchini with olive oil and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Mix cheese and herbs together in a small bowl and sprinkle over the zucchini along with salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 15 minutes and place under the broiler for the last 3-5 minutes until cheese is crispy and browned.

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OVEN BAKED ZUCCHINI FRIES

YOU WILL NEED:
1 large zucchini, peeled
1 tbs olive oil
3/4 cup plain bread crumbs (you could use seasoned for extra flavor)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp kosher salt

DIRECTIONS:
1. Line a baking sheet with foil (you can spray it lightly with cooking spray) and preheat your oven to 425 deg F. Peel your zucchini, cut off the ends and cut it into “fries”. Toss with the olive oil, making sure that every piece is well coated.

2. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and salt. Cover the olive oil coated zucchini pieces with the bread crumb mixture (shake off excess breadcrumbs), then place them on your baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, until the zucchini looks crispy and golden, and is soft when pricked with a fork. Serve warm!

 

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Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

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1 lb. zucchini or squash (about 2 medium-sized)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan (heaping)
1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs (heaping)
… 1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with foil and spray lightly with vegetable spray.

Slice zucchini or squash into 1/4 inch-thick rounds. Toss rounds with oil, coating well.
In a wide bowl or plate, combine breadcrumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper.
Place rounds in parmesan-breadcrumb mixture, coating both sides of each round, pressing to adhere. The mixture will not completely cover each round, but provides a light coating on each side.

Place rounds in a single layer on baking sheets. Sprinkle any remaining breadcrumb mixture over the rounds.

Bake for about 22 to 27 minutes, until golden brown. (There is no need to flip them during baking — they crisp up on both sides as is.)

 

Crisp Cucumber Salsa

 

Crisp Cucumber Salsa:

Note: 1/4 cup is only 16 calories! YES!!!

2 cups finely chopped seeded peeled cucumber
1/2 cup finely chopped seeded tomato
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and chopped
4-1/2 tsp minced fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/4 c reduced-fat sour cream
1-1/2 tsp lemon juice
1-1/2 tsp lime juice
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
Tortilla chips

In a small bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. In another bowl, combine the sour cream, lemon juice, lime juice, cumin and seasoned salt. Pour over cucumber mixture and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately with chips.