Published on July 11, 2008
Foods can boost your mood Text from: http://www.lacrossetribune.com/articles/2008/06/10/health/02lifecoach.txt
Make yourself happier and healthier without therapy, medication or even exercise. Does this sound like an impossible task? What if you could feel more optimistic, enjoy your friends and family more and improve you self-confidence in a matter of weeks? Recent clinical studies show that there are mood-boosting foods that can improve your life.
British research reveals that chocolate contains up to 300 natural health-boosting compounds. Several of these compounds are also stimulants to make you feel more alert and happier. The highest concentration of these substances is found in dark chocolate, so it's the best choice when you're feeling blue. If you prefer milk chocolate, don't worry: the sheer pleasure of eating the sweet treat makes any type of chocolate and uplifting experience, says Ava Cadell, author of 12 Steps to Everlasting Love. For a morning lift, add cocoa powder to your morning coffee. This gives you all the benefits of chocolate, plus lots of iron to help support your mood. Iron deficiencies, even small ones, can make you feel blue. CHOCOLATE
Harvard researchers have found that walnuts have an immediate anti-depressant effect. The combination of omega-3 fatty acids and a natural compound called uridine are the active antidepressant ingredients in walnuts. Each ingredient is shown to have anti-depressant effects and together they are even more effective. Allergic to walnuts? Try eating sugar beets instead. This same Harvard study found omega-3s and uridine in sugar beets. WALNUTS
According to Harvard researcher, Dr. James Hudson, "The brain needs these fats(omega-3s) to help anxiety-fighting chemicals like acetylcholine and serotonin, penetrate cell membranes and do their job of keeping us calm." Tuna is a great source of omega-3s which decreases your risk of experiencing depression by 50 percent. It has also been found that as little as three ounces of canned light tuna contains 95 percent of your RDA of selenium, a trace mineral that studies show is necessary for good mood. As a bonus, researchers found that eating two or more servings of fish a week can cut your risk of stomach, colon and pancreatic cancer in half most likely by inhibiting cancer-cell growth. TUNA
University of Pennsylvania psychologist Paul Rozin says that the rush you get after hot peppers come in contact with your tongue is due to a rush of endorphins, amazing molecules that can reduce stress and significantly lift your spirits. Chili peppers are a wonderful source of fiber, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamins A, C, K and B6, folic acid, iron and potassium. They are also low in calories and sodium. Maybe this is why some people are addicted to spicy foods. HOT SAUCE
The complex carbohydrates in popcorn trigger the production of the "happiness" hormone, serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps prevent anger, depression, insomnia, food cravings and sensitivity to pain. Nutritionist Lyssie Lakatos says that unlike sugary foods, the carbs in popcorn are complex so they keep your mood on an even keel longer. Other good sources of mood-boosting complex carbs include beans, oatmeal, barley, brown rice, whole wheat pasta and bran cereal. Complex carbohydrates also help to boost energy, increase concentration and stabilize your blood sugar. POPCORN
Eggs are loaded with folic acid, a B vitamin. Researchers in England found that one-third of depressed patients they studies were deficient in folic acid, and that their conditions improved markedly when they were given supplements. In addition to eggs, other good dietary sources for folic acid include most dark green vegetables, including spinach, romaine lettuce, kale and broccoli, peas, lentils, chickpeas and papayas. EGGS
A UCLA study found that women who eat salad regularly have higher than average blood levels of the infection fighting vitamins: C, E, B6, and folic acid. SALADS
Studies suggest that antioxidants in onions help prevent blood clots and lower blood pressure. Aim to eat a ¼ cup daily. ONIONS
Brewed tea contains more antioxidants than bottled and instant tea. Dutch research suggests that it can cut your levels of cell-damaging free radicals in half. TEA
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