What you eat can cause chemical and physiological changes in the brain. Here are some interesting findings about foods that boost your mood.
Foods That Boost Your Mood
Fish and Fish oil
Studies by Grosso have proven that daily fish oil treatments of at least 1000 mg of DHA and EPA for mildly- to moderately-depressed individuals significantly eased symptoms of depression. It is recommended that you consume three to five 4-ounce servings of fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, trout, and shellfish weekly. Fatty fish are also a great source of vitamin D, a proven mood stabilizer. Vitamin D helps maintain the levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. Spending too much time indoors may be keeping you out of the sun, while sunscreens block out the needed sun rays to activate vitamin D. Daily supplements of 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D-3 are recommended.
Selenium deficiency has also been associated with poor moods. A Texas Tech University study found that just 200 microgram supplements of selenium helped decrease symptoms of mild-to-moderate depression. If you use supplements, use l-selenomethionine, not sodium selenite.
Seafood and organ meats are the richest sources of dietary selenium. Other good food sources of selenium are nuts, eggs, beans, whole grains, and meats.
Adequate carbohydrate intake is important to make sure your blood sugar levels don’t drop too low. Low blood sugar can cause irritability and impaired mental function. Carbohydrates also stimulate serotonin production. Serotonin is sometimes referred to as the “happy hormone.” Serotonin has a calming effect. It can stabilize your mood, help maintain healthy sleep patterns, and make you feel full and satisfied. Serotonin is synthesized by the body from an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan needs carbohydrates in order to get into the bloodstream. We normally have an adequate supply of tryptophan in our bodies. Without carbohydrates, it cannot pass into the bloodstream to reach the brain.
According to a study by Soenen, a diet with less than 40% calories from carbs increases your risk of depression. People who consumed very low amounts of carbs reported low moods and sleep disturbances. So make sure you get about 40% of your calories from good carbs like vegetables and sweet potatoes.
According to a study by Maughan, the loss of as little as 1% or 2% of body fluid can significantly affect alertness and concentration. Fatigue and headaches were also reported. To avoid dehydration, drink 8 to 12 cups of water each day. If you’re pregnant, lactating, ill, or trying to lose weight, it’s best to add 2 additional cups to your daily intake of fluid. It’s the same for people living at high altitudes, or in hot and humid conditions. Drink 2 1/2 cups of water before engaging in rigorous exercise. Kleiner recommends a ratio of 3 cups of fluid for every pound lost in exercise.
Egg yolks are an important source of protein, carotenoids, and choline. According to a study by Demirkan, low choline levels are linked to depression. A daily intake of one or two eggs increases choline consumption by 50%.
Food from plants
Many plants contain chemicals that help the brain to function optimally. Polyphenols and flavonoids are chemicals found in plant sources that act as antioxidants and have been found to have neuroprotective properties. They protect our cells from free radical damage. Foods from plants such as tea, cacao, grapes, and olives are great sources. Other recommended foods are parsley, onions, leeks, broccoli, celery, oregano, berries, citrus fruits, kiwis, plums, mushrooms, and apples. Basically, if it grows in the ground, it’s probably good for your brain!
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