Food and Happiness

Research has now proven that we generate energy; its our choice. Just like a power plant, we can choose to generate happiness. Research has also shown that there is a link between what we eat and our mood. Your mood is closely connected to the nutrients you take in and absorb. Anxiety, happiness, depression, mood swings are linked to the food that we eat. When patients with mood imbalances come to me for help, the first thing we do is to check for nutrient deficiencies that may be casing or contributing to the problem.

Let’s now discover the stunning power of some of the mood- boosting foods that are locally available. Here are my first top 3 foods.

1.     Avocado.

Avocados are rich in B vitamins — particularly vitamin B6. And they’re a rich source of folate. One avocado provides around one-third of your daily folate needs. And when it comes to magnesium, one avocado provides around 15% of your daily needs.

The goal of many antidepressants is to increase serotonin uptake. As it turns out, B-vitamins can have a similar effect. Your body needs Vitamin B6 to make mood-boosting neurotransmitters, including serotonin (happy hormone), norepinephrine (corrects hypotension), and melatonin (sleep hormone). Studies have found that B6 deficiency can lead to depression.

Magnesium on the other hand is your relaxation mineral. You must have adequate levels for your cells to make energy, for many different chemical pumps to work, to stabilize membranes and to help muscles relax. Anything that is tight, irritable, crampy and stiff- whether it is a body part or mood- is a sign of magnesium deficiency.

Clearly, Avocado is your locally available super food!

 2.     Chocolate

 Yap.. you knew it was coming; didn’t you? Chocolate’s remarkable effects on our mood is no longer a secret.

chocolate is considered one of the top mood-boosting foods because it contains phenethylamine (hormone), which triggers the release of pleasurable endorphins. When you become infatuated or fall in love, the brain releases phenethylamine. It also potentiates the action of dopamine, a neurochemical associated with sexual arousal and pleasure.

Another substance found in chocolate is anandamide. This is neurotransmitter that stimulates a sense of happiness and mental well-being; its also referred to as ‘the bliss molecule’ because of the role it plays in producing feelings of happiness.

As if that weren’t enough, chocolate also contains polyphenols, which have been shown to have a positive impact on mood. Polyphenols are antioxidants that naturally occur in plants like Vegetables and fruits. Antioxidants are well known for their ability to combat cell damage

Please remember darker chocolates are rich in unprocessed cocoa which comes from the cacao plant has no sugar added and is your best shot in elevating your mood. Choose a chocolate bar that has over 70% unprocessed cocoa.

3.     Green tea

While technically a drink, green tea deserves a spot on the list of mood-boosting foods. Green tea has many benefits. Research has linked it to lower rates of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other neurogenerative conditions.

 A study in animals looked at the effect of green tea polyphenols on measures of inflammation after exercise and the results were stunning. The rates that received the tea polyphenols were able to keep up their activity for longer than rats that did not receive the polyphenols. They also had lower levels of chemicals that signaled inflammation and muscle damage in their blood. Remember low inflammation levels in your body means more vitality, energy, happiness

The Matcha green tea particularly is a rich source of the amino acid- L-theanine which helps you relax and maintain a calm demeanor. That’s a great reason to start sipping your green tea today!

Research has found eight nutrients, that make a significant contribution to supporting healthy brain function — and to fighting depression and mood disorders. Omega 3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Folate, Zinc, Selenium and magnesium. We have covered 3 local foods that contain some of these nutrients. Keep it here as we discuss three more foods that are rich in the rest of the nutrients next month.

So next time you’re feeling blue, try showing your body — and your brain – some love by reaching for dark chocolate, green tea and avocado.