Good Mood Foods

I like the types of foods that would boost moods in these recessionary (and uncertain) times. Recent research has confirmed the existence of a link between eating certain types of foods and the act of feeling better, relaxed and even happy. Further research from the University of Cambridge in England found regularly skipping, or skimping on meals can mean you’re not getting enough serotonin, a brain chemical that helps keep anger in check. Serotonin needs the amino acid tryptophan (also known as the turkey drug, more on that below) to work, and it only comes from food.

Eating for a better mood boils down to this simple exercise: control your blood sugars by eating every 4 to 5 hours throughout the day, eat a diet rich in soluble fiber, and incorporate foods rich in omega 3 fats, folic acid, B12 and Vitamin D – four nutrients that all researchers have found to be mood lifting. Comfort food pic below!

Eating “good mood foods” need not be an expensive exercise. Of course you can spend a lot of money eating freshly caught wild salmon (rich in vitamins A, D, B6 and B2, as well as niacin and riboflavin. Calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium and phosphorus are also present in appreciable amounts in this choice but super expensive seafood) so I’ll select a few “feel good” products that are widely available and that will not break the bank.

Stress and the lack of magnesium are so closely related that it is advisable for those who lead a very busy (and stressful) life to add foods rich in magnesium, such as bananas. Eating a couple of bananas a day increases the intake of magnesium and reduces anxiety, and as a bonus you may sleep better. Other sources of magnesium are walnuts, legumes, vegetables and wheat germ (two tablespoons on your breakfast cereals does the job).

A glass of fresh orange juice or two whole oranges per day can diminish nervousness, bad moods and depression. A lack of vitamin C can provoke irritability and dejectedness.

The “wonder nuts”, Brazilian nuts are rich in selenium, your immune system cannot do without it, your cells need it to protect themselves, it can relieve painful joints, and some even claim it can prevent certain forms of cancer. Other sources of selenium are fish, seafood, beef and whole-wheat bread.

Whole wheat bread
: the majority of foods contain one or several of the 20 amino acids (which are the principal constituents of proteins, both animal and vegetable) These substances compete with one another to feed the brain. Eating a few slices of whole wheat bread makes us happy as once it reaches the brain, the tryptophan increases the serotonin, a cerebral substance which tranquilizes and enhances the mood.

Chilies: the taste for spicy sauces apparently is not only due to its flavor. Capsaicin (the substance through which the pepper acquires its power) stimulates the nervous terminals in the mouth and as it causes a burning sensation, the brain segregates endorphins which can produce temporary euphoria. Mince a few fresh chilies in your food on a regular basis and see how it affects you. I don’t buy the very hot ones, there would be little point as you’d lose whatever subtlety the food has to offer. Personally I love the little Thai green chilies which can be found in most Asian food stores or good supermarkets.

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Of course everyone knows about the wonders of chocolate! Some experts believe that like many other foods sweet and rich in carbohydrates, chocolate can have a soothing effect; others, however, consider that the caffeine and other substances contained in chocolate could act as stimulants. Be that as it may, the very pleasure to the palate suffices to make one feel happy. The darker the chocolate the better it is. Goes well with a glass of red wine!

And here’s the best and cheapest: water. Low dehydration is a common and often inadvertent cause of weariness. When the body is lacking liquids the blood flow in the organs lessens and the function of same slows down. Only drink water when you are thirsty, I don’t subscribe to the notion that one has to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day.

Refreshments, teas and coffee are NOT substitutes for water since they may cause diuretic effects and increase dehydration.

Nutrition Twins, Tammy Lakatos Shames and Lyssie Lakatos gave Parenting Magazine a day’s worth of so-called “feel-good” foods that pack the biggest mood-boost per bite: each combo balances a healthy dose of tryptophan with carbs and protein to keep you satisfied and smiling.

Breakfast: Oatmeal and eggs. Their fiber and protein give you a long-lasting energy blast to start the day.

Snack: Banana and yogurt. Yogurt contains mood-lifting vitamin D.

Lunch: Baked potato and cheddar cheese. This duo also offers B vitamins to soothe your stress.

Snack: Pistachios and prunes. Rev up with this protein-fiber powerhouse.

Dinner: Salmon and brown rice. The brain-boosting omega-3′s and mood stabilizing fiber help make this meal the ultimate happy fix.

There are of course a lot more good mood foods than described here but they comes with a higher price tag. And lastly, this site here will give you the heads up on natural vitamins found in foods.

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