Let Turkey Improve Your Mood - Naturally!

Regular sleep, exercise and proper diet can make an enormous difference both physically and mentally. Good athletes benefit most from proper training, adequate rest and a high-protein, high-carbohydrate diet just before a big event. This type of meal provides extra oxygen to the bloodstream, which in turn supplies the heart, brain and lungs. A similar principle applies to maintaining energy and stamina throughout the day for regular activities. A well-balanced diet that is high in protein and carbohydrates helps the body produce the energy that it needs to perform at its highest level.

This same diet is also critical for good mental health. During the winter months, shorter day lengths and cold weather may keep us cooped up inside. Cabin fever may set in. Understanding how food affects mood may help you eat your way to a better attitude.

Protein and carbohydrates stimulate production of amino acids in the brain. By eating certain foods, we can control how we feel throughout the day. Amino acids dictate how the body responds to stress, hunger and other stimuli. For example, carbohydrates trigger the production of seratonin, which is known to elevate moods and promote calmness.

Knowing how different foods cause the body to produce certain amino acids can be a useful way to plan a nutritious, low-fat, tasty meal. Enjoying a turkey sandwich before a meeting is much more likely to boost alertness than a plain bagel or a candy bar. Adding chopped turkey to a lunchtime salad will set the proper mind-frame for a productive afternoon at the office or in school.

A diet high in protein and carbohydrates and low in simple sugars and fat is one that will lead to a healthy life-both physically and mentally. All bodies react to food differently, so it may take experimentation and time to figure out the best balance. That, however, is worth the thought to bring about healthy results.

For example, start this experimentation with turkey: For starters, try Turkey and Avocado in Orange Sauce or Turkey Baked with Beans and Pasta. From there, substitute turkey for higher fat meats in other recipes that combine protein and carbohydrates to eat your way to better physical and mental health.  Look for new recipes - you can choose the ingredients and the turkey selection from over 1,000 recipes in the National Turkey Federation's online cookbook.