Food and Mood

Americans eat way too many foods that “love you and leave you,” says Dietician Rachel Jones. She recommends five foods high in B6 vitamins when eaten on a regular basis, can lead to better focus and concentration, satiety, and a sense of calm.

The top five foods that Americans eat boost mood short-term (very short term), but quickly lead to agitation, anger and guilt. Soda, white bread, fries, cookies/cakes/donuts, syrups/jam/jelly are highly processed and offer little nutrition. Without real food value, they trigger more hunger and cravings.

Keep in mind that carbohydrates are a necessary brain fuel, but the form of carbohydrate you choose can either give you a micro burst of energy combined with possible abdominal fat or beneficial nutrients combined with cleansing properties for a lean, mean burning machine.

Eating the right breakfast is also key to keeping stress hormones at bay. Your body adapts to an overnight fast, but feels burdened to continue without food after beginning the day. To keep stress hormones from kicking in, eat a mix of protein, whole grains and nuts or other healthy fat.

Vitamin B6 is necessary for feeling and looking good. Foods that are B6 power hitters include sunflower seeds, bananas, broccoli, spinach and salmon. Including these foods daily during times of stress can have a calming effect while providing tons of fantastic nutrients that keep you sharp all day. Try a banana dipped in peanut butter and rolled in sunflower seeds for breakfast. Enjoy a spinach and salmon salad for lunch and make sure to include broccoli for dinner.

For those who include exercise in their daily routine, make sure you include a post workout recovery option. It should include quicker acting carbohydrates with a dose of protein. Eight ounces of chocolate milk will do the trick to help muscles get ready for tomorrow’s workout.

When Rachel Jones, MPH, RD isn’t teaching Nutrition at the University of Utah or working on nutrition projects with colleagues and organizations, you might find her among the rocks, dirt and sagebrush of Utah’s hiking and biking trails.

You can reach Rachel at

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