LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- With all of the junk food available to us, it's hard to not get down in the dumps.
Here are 10 foods that can brighten your mood thanks to Yahoo! Health and the creators of The Happiness Diet.
1. Potato chips. These taters are likely fried in oils laden with omega-6 fatty acids that black out mood-enhancing, braing-building omega-3 fatty acids. They also create the carcinogen acrylamide.
Alternate: Try making easy homemade snacks like mircowavable popcorn. Still craving potato chips? Try baking smaller spuds with red or blue skin. Colored skin potatoes are packed with phytonutrients that benefit you.
2. Conventional holiday ham. These come from factory farms where pigs are pumped full of antibiotics as well as sugar, salt, fillers, and nitrate preservatives. All of these can trigger low moods, migraines, and eve swollen ankles.
Alternate: Try wild-caught Alaskan salmon. They are full of omega-3 fats DHA and EPA. A study found that fish oil containing the same omega-3s are just as effective as Prozac in treating depression. Don't like fish? Try pasture-raised pork loin.
3. Soda. These drinks turn into fat inside our body. After the initial sugar rush, our moods plummet.
Alternate: Try adding a bit of organic fruit juice to soda water.
4. Margerine. In the battle of butter vs. margerine, butter wins. Margerines are made of inflammation-promoting, industrial fats are harmful, and the high levels of omega-6 fatty acids could mess up our mood and heatlhy insulin levels.
Alternate: Use pastured butter (butter from grass-fed cows). It is higher in special kind of fat called conjugated linoleic acid. This fat has anti-cancer properties and is shown to cut down belly fat. It also has omega-3s.
5. Processed pumpkin seeds. These are often coated in a preservative called potassium bromate, which blocks iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid. They thyroid is vital to maintaining good moods.
Alternate: Stick with raw or home-roasted seeds. Also, the seeds from any winter squash can be roasted.
6. Agave nectar. Agave is promoted as a healthy, natural sweetner, but that's a myth. Psychiatrist Drew Ramsey, MD says, "Agave isn't a health food. People have been misled." It's hailed as healthy because it doesn't raise blood sugar, but the excess of fructose increases the risk of metabolic syndrome.
Alternate: All types of sweetners should be used in moderation, but use real maple syrup and local honey for healthier sweetning options.
7. Bagels. These are packed with refined carbs that result in a major energy crash. Plus, these have doubled in size from just a few decades ago.
Alternate: Opt for organic, pastured eggs. They're full of brain and mood-boosting nutrients like B vitamins, zinc, and iodide.
8. Peanuts. Packaged, salted peanuts are high in sodium and questionable food additives including monosodium glutamate. MSG has been linked to migraines, weakness, burning sensations, wheezing, and difficulty breathing in some people.
Alternate: Create a healthy nut mix by combining omega-3 rich walnuts, almonds rich in vitamin E, and a few selenium-rich Brazil nuts. (Selenium deficiencies are linked to depression and suicide.) Toss them with rosemary and sea salt and roast in the oven at 300 degrees for 15 minutes.
9. Vegetable shortning. This has an increase in omega-6 fatty acids that block brain-building, mood-promoting omega-3 fatty acids.
Alternate: It may be shocking, but use pastured lard. The main fat in lard, oleic acid, is a monounsaturated fat linked to decreased risk of depression. You can find this from a local farmer who raises grass-fed livestock. Lard gets a bad wrap because of saturated fat content, but Dr. Ramsey notes that stearic acid, the main saturated fat in lard, isn't linked to an increase in heart disease, nor does it impact cholesterol levels.