“You are what you eat,” they say. “You are what you think,” they also say. And the truth is both! In the daily meal plan below, we’ll share with you a full day’s worth of delicious recipes for a better mood. Each meal has various ingredients, herbs, nutrients and antioxidants that have been well-researched for their ability to enhance mental health, protect against stress and anxiety, and improve your sense of happiness, joy and wellness.
1. Breakfast: Apricot Yogurt Smoothie
Your gut is like your “second brain,” reports researchers, and the bacteria in your gut help produce mood-regulating hormones. By eating a diet rich in probiotics and gut-nourishing ingredients, you help to feed your nervous system and enhance your mood and your mental health.
This breakfast smoothie is teaming with healthy bacteria for your gut. Likewise, the apricots add both soluble and insoluble fiber. Not only does this fiber help to regulate your cholesterol and blood sugar levels all day, but the fiber feeds beneficial gut bacteria.
1 cup frozen apricot slices (fresh or packaged)
6 ice cubes
1 cup plain yogurt (a vegan alternative also works well)
Blend all the ingredients until frothy and enjoy this refreshing breakfast!
2. Lunch: Bean Bolognese
Whole grains are one of the top sources of B vitamins, which is absolutely critical for your mental health. For instance, your body needs vitamin B5 to produce acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter); vitamin B12 helps produce mood regulators like serotonin and dopamine; and vitamin B1 is needed for brain energy.
This bolognese is high in whole grains, plus fiber-rich beans for enhanced gut health. It’s also very rich in protein while being completely vegetarian!
1 14-ounce can of your favorite beans
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, minced
1/2 cup carrot, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup white wine
1 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced and divided into two portions
8 ounces whole-wheat fettuccine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or a vegan alternative)
With a fork, take 1/2 cup of the beans and mash them up. Set aside.
In a frying pan, saute the onion, carrot, celery and salt until the vegetables are tender. Toss in the bay leaf, garlic and wine. Raise the heat to a boil and stir constantly until most of the broth in the frying pan has boiled off. Once most of the liquid is gone, add the tomatoes, a couple tablespoons of parsley and the beans you mashed earlier.
Stir for 5-7 minutes then add the rest of the whole beans and stir until they’re heated through.
Now it’s time to cook the pasta! Boil the fettuccine according to its package directions until al dente, then drain.
Serve the pasta topped with the bean sauce and a sprinkling of Parmesan and parsley.
3. Dinner: Miso Salmon
There’s nothing fishy about these health benefits: An analysis of more than two dozen different published research studies found that people who ate more fish are less likely to experience mood disorders like depression. Researchers theorize that this is due to the high omega-3 levels in fish, and that omega-3s help improve most markers of mental health.
Wild salmon from sustainable fisheries is one of the best whole food sources of omega-3s in your diet. Other great options include walnuts, flax, the purslane herb, and sardines.
This delicious mood booster dinner seasons fresh salmon with miso. Miso is a fermented soybean paste popular in Asian cuisine that is both salty and sweet. Because it’s fermented, it’s also great for your gut and thus brings additional mental health benefits for you.
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoon white miso paste
2 tablespoon Japanese rice wine (also known as “mirin”)
1 tablespoon tamari sauce
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1-1/4 pounds salmon fillet, cut into four individual steaks
2 tablespoon scallions, sliced
2 tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced
Line a baking pan with parchment paper or greased foil.
Position oven rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler. Line a small baking pan with foil. Coat
Saute the sesame seeds in a frying pan (dry, no oil needed) for a few minutes until toasted and fragrant.
In a mixing bowl, combine the miso, rice wine, tamari and ginger until well-mixed.
Brush the marinade on all sides of your salmon and place on your baking pan. If your salmon fillet still has skin on it, position it skin facing down.
Boil the salmon on the top rack of your oven for 5-8 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through.
Remove from the oven and garnish with the sesame seeds, cilantro and scallions. Enjoy on its own, or with rice, a green salad or your favorite sides.
More Ways to Support Your Health
Your diet is just one piece in your immune system’s wellness puzzle. Thymic proteins are another piece. It is the job of these thymic proteins to train the body’s immune system to effectively seek and identify diseased cells. Unfortunately, your levels of thymic proteins fall as you get older. BioPro-Plus 500 offers a full dose of thymic proteins to help restore your body’s natural levels. Maximize your health by combining these mood booster foods with healthy supplements!