As you’re planning your 4th of July picnic and hoping for a happy event, know this: a new study says high fat foods are linked to depression by changing the chemicals in your brain and shifting your behavior.  If you flip that thought, a healthier diet can send your body and mind in a more positive direction.

We’ve long known that high fat foods can lead to illness like heart disease, but this new information suggests high fat foods can drop our sunny outlook on life as well, because they remix the bacteria in our guts called “gut microbiome,” the “peacekeepers” in our healthy bodies. When the right balance of bacteria exists, the gut – and you – are at peace.

Smile from the inside, out, with these five easy steps to stay or get happier through food.  Try them out at the 4th of July picnic, or daily:

  1. Eliminate refined sugars and dairy, like the ice cream sundaes and sugary cakes right in front of you. Bacteria loves these two categories of foods, plus it also makes it hard to maintain a healthy weight.
  2. Add to your beverages peppermint oil, which can reduce small intestinal bacteria. You might bring it in your bag and add it to your water while you nosh with your family and friends.
  3. Sprinkle some cinnamon in your morning tea; cinnamon can kill bacteria and yeast. You might do this before heading to the big event.
  4. Eat more green veggies to retain important chemicals, which keep your immune system strong. Pile on the spinach and kale Let’s say it again. Pile on the salad.
  5. Eliminate white rice and most starches from your diet; your body has a harder time digesting them, so they ferment in your tummy. Hold off on the white loaf garlic bread from the grill and refer to #4 instead.

Further research is necessary on this is high-fat and bad mood connection is necessary, the scientists say, but in the meantime, consider these five steps as pretty good ideas to support your health, overall, too. You might also investigate foods that are great for boosting immunity, as extra insurance. At the same time, these five easy steps will hopefully keep your smile from fading, even as the sun fades on your holiday picnic.