Don’t let tax season tax your nerves…keep cool and calm with these good mood foods and exercises

People like to quip that the only two givens in life are death and taxes, and it goes without saying that stress is a big part of both. This is understandable, at least as far as taxes are concerned. Financial stress is a big cause of overall stress and even health and relationship problems. Financial stress is linked to health problems like depression and decreased immunity, and a leading cause of divorce!

Food and the key vitamins and minerals it provides AND exercise can have a big impact on our mood and stress. You may be surprised to learn that some foods contain powerful compounds that positively affect brain chemistry as much as some medications. According to the Mental Health Foundation, a healthy diet and daily exercise can help boost your mood when you’re feeling down.

So how do we begin to combat the blues and stress? 

 First, what you eat has a lot to do with how you feel – limit energy zapping foods like refined sugar and alcohol and try to eat a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods every four to five hours. In fact, eating at regular intervals every few hours stabilizes your blood sugar, increases your energy, decreases stress and improves levels of serotonin – a natural chemical in the body that triggers happiness. 

Vitamin D helps boost your mood!

There are actually specific foods that can help us improve our moods. Look for dairy foods fortified with vitamin D.  This powerhouse vitamin can contribute to a positive mood and help prevent depression.  Our bodies produce vitamin D when exposed to 10 to 15 minutes of sunshine, but if you can’t get outside, drink a glass of milk – it’s an excellent source of vitamin D.  Milk also has whey protein, which studies indicate can decrease stress, improve memory and enhance mood – all perfect complements to vitamin D’s benefits.  

In order to boost your intake of vitamin D, there are easy steps you can take:

1. Serve milk with meals

2. Use milk instead of water when making hot chocolate, soups or sauces

3. Choose vitamin D-fortified yogurts and cheeses whenever possible.

Other foods that are good sources of vitamin D include salmon, tuna, sardines, eggs and fortified cereals.

Another food to include could be fish. Fish provides lean protein and omega 3 fats in one great package. Your muscles need protein to stay strong, and your brain needs omega 3s to properly transmit messages and form healthy nerve cells. The best sources of omega 3s are wild salmon, mackerel or trout – all of which are wonderful grilled. New research shows eating fish twice a week not only keeps your brain sharp, but may cut your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Remember to get 60 minutes of physical activity a day which will help you feel happier because it increases serotonin and is great for your health.

When you are feeling down, turn your mood around with daily exercise, regular meals that include nutrient rich foods such as milk fortified with vitamin D, fish with omega 3 fats, carbohydrates rich in fiber and fruits and vegetables that combat the blues with folic acid!

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