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Eat to stabilize blood sugar.
Eat to stabilize blood sugar. / Jeff Oshiro/Getty Images

You know diet can improve your health. Did you know it can build a good mood, too?

Absolutely, says registered dietitian Joy Bauer, author of the just-revised Food Cures, a hefty field guide to using food to treat health concerns.

Good mood foods stabilize your blood sugar, which helps prevents spikes and plunges that can leave you irritable and cranky.

On your plate, focus on high-quality carbs (fruit, vegetables, whole grains) and high-quality protein (lean meat, dried beans). Important nutrients are brain-influencing omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins D and B.

Bauer offers these specific foods as mood-boosters:

Oatmeal. Soluble fiber and slow-release carbs.

Lentils. Good carbs, good protein. Use in soup, stew, chili.

Chickpeas (garbanzos). Try on a salad or as a side dish.

Wild salmon and sardines. Canned is OK.

Everybody seems to have a favorite tuna salad recipe, but it is just as easy to create fabulous salads using canned salmon, which has much more omega-3 fatty acids than tuna. This recipe can also be made using leftover fresh salmon. Serve over a bed of lettuce or in a sandwich with whole wheat bread.

Makes 3 servings, about 1 cup each

1 can (6 ounces) wild salmon, well-drained (remove skin)

1 can (19 ounces) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

In a medium bowl, mash the salmon. Mix in the chickpeas, onion, and red pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil and vinegar. Pour the dressing over the salmon mixture and stir thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.

Per serving:
339 calories, 19 g protein, 33 g carbohydrate, 14 g fat (2 g saturated), 26 mg cholesterol, 60 mg sodium, 9 g fiber; plus 203 mg folate (51% DV), 2 mg vitamin B12 (35% DV), and a hearty dose of omega-3s and vitamin D

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