By Homaira Badr
We’re all hoping for happiness. Even in tough times, we’re searching for the silver lining. We can’t always positively control our environment and some events, but we do have the opportunity to control the happiness we’re feeding ourselves. We can eat our way into happiness! It’s all about what we consume and how it benefits us. Fill your breakfast, lunch, and dinner with these “happy” foods and feel your happiness flourish.
Magnesium helps to increase our energy production: spinach, kale, collards greens, almonds, peanuts, pecans, cashews, black-eyed peas, lentils, pinto beans, quinoa, wild rice, and avocado.
Iron increases our oxygen and energy levels: 3 oz. of cooked beef, chicken, salmon, tuna; ½ cup tofu, 1 cup dried apricots, broccoli, and medium potato.
Amino Acids (high levels of carbohydrates can cause a quick drop in blood-sugar) boost your immune system: 3 oz. chicken or turkey, 1 oz. mozzarella or parmesan cheese, 1 cup yogurt, and eggs.
Vitamin D supports strong bones and a healthy immune system: mushrooms, milk, and sunshine!
Serotonin, as levels rise, is a chemical in the brain that helps with calmness and happiness: eggs, pineapple, tofu, salmon, and turkey.
Lycopene is an antioxidant: watermelon, cooked tomatoes, and guava.
Quercetin boosts energy levels: apples plus and skin.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids lowers irritability: halibut, oysters, salmon, tuna, soy milk, flax seed, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, kale, mint, spinach, and walnut oil.
Folic Acid reverses depression: spinach, romaine lettuce, asparagus, broccoli, grapefruit, strawberries, and papaya.
Vitamin C produces collagen and helps to reduce that “tired” look: yellow and red bell peppers, guavas, and kale.
Vitamin B12 assists in normal brain function: oysters, smoked salmon, and tuna.
Vitamin K helps with bone strength: basil, sage, thyme, parsley, coriander, chives, kale, spinach, mustard greens, endive, radicchio, and arugula.
Some foods provide more than one benefit and those are the priority foods. Try to include those foods in every meal, if possible. When you consume “happy” foods you will not only feel the difference, but you will live the difference. You will find yourself with increased energy to keep you going throughout the day. Your posture will improve with healthier and stronger bones. You’ll find yourself more patient and less irritable during times when patience is needed most. You will smile more often knowing you are keeping yourself happy from the inside out. What better way to spread happiness than with your smile! Happy eating!