Considering the vital importance of breakfast, it stands to reason that what you eat first thing in the morning can also influence your mood and mental state. Unsurprisingly, board-certified psychiatrist Aparna Iyer, MD, operates according to this notion, sticking to three mental health–boosting staples to start each day off on a positive note. "Much of our mental well-being is within our control," she writes on MindBodyGreen. "A healthy lifestyle, including a carefully balanced diet, exercise regimen, and adequate sleep, is essential to our overall wellness, and a good breakfast is a great place to start." In her own words, read up on what you should eat every morning to support your mental health.
Oatmeal and fresh berries. "I cook oatmeal in almond milk, add a dash of cinnamon, and top it with a handful of organic blueberries," she writes. "I've been eating a combination of oatmeal and blueberries since I learned how beneficial they are for cardiac health. In addition to adding a subtle and sweet flavor, cinnamon also has blood-glucose-stabilizing properties. Blueberries are part of the MIND diet, which helps protect against Alzheimer's disease."
Green smoothie. "My green smoothie breakfast typically consists of a coconut-water base, spinach, Greek yogurt, half a banana, nuts, and strawberries," she explains. "Spinach (and other green leafy vegetables), nuts, and strawberries are staples in the Mediterranean diet, which is beneficial for both mental and cardiac health. The Greek yogurt adds more protein and makes it a little smoother and more refreshing."
Omelet with superfoods. "One of my favorite morning meals is an omelet with spinach, mushrooms, and a sprinkle of turmeric. Once the omelet is mostly cooked, I'll add some raw onion to it and serve it with a side of whole wheat toast with avocado spread," writes Iyer. She turns to the raw onion for a source of gut-healthy probiotics and turmeric for its help with anxiety and depression. "I use whole wheat bread and avoid white bread in order to minimize simple carbohydrates, which can contribute to irritability and agitation," she adds.
Head over to MindBodyGreen for more from Iyer, and share your go-to mood-boosting foods in the comments.