22 Foods of Happiness

Antidepressant for Every Meal

Healthy Living Magazine 22 foods of happiness

Healthy Living Magazine 22 foods of happiness

Some ingredients in food bear a strong similarity to valproic acid, a prescription mood-stabilizing drug, says scientist Karina Martinez-Mayorga, PhD, leader of a research team that has been studying the effects of flavors on mood, at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

Now at the Chemistry Institute at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, she detailed findings on some 1,700 flavoring compounds in foods she studied while at the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies.

“Molecules in chocolate, a variety of berries and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids have shown positive effects on mood,” she says. “In turn, our studies show that some commonly used flavor components are structurally similar to valproic acid.”

Containing valproic acid, Depakene, Depakote and Stavzor smoothe mood swings in persons with manic-depressive disorder and augment anti-psychotic drug treatment

Read: Processed Food Addiction

Food Mood Enhancers

Healthy Living Magazine 22 foods of happiness

Healthy Living Magazine 22 foods of happiness

“The large body of evidence that chemicals in chocolate, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, teas and certain foods could well be mood-enhancers encourages the search for other mood modulators in food,” she says.

Although warning that foods are not substitutes for prescribed drugs, she and other scientists say there’s plenty of emerging evidence foods can change mood.

Mental Alertness

Healthy Living Magazine 22 foods of happiness

Healthy Living Magazine 22 foods of happiness

Fish is brain food, especially anchovies, a source of the brain chemical precursor dimethylaminoethanol (sold as a nootropic agent called DMAE).

High protein meals are popular for breakfast for a quite practical reason. Meals with protein counter fatigue and increase brain activity, according to Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, assistant director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Protein sources she recommends include Greek yogurt and beef from grass-fed cattle.

Healthy Living Magazine 22 foods of happiness

Healthy Living Magazine 22 foods of happiness

Aromatic coffee in the morning adds energetic alertness. Inhale the rich aroma’s flavorful antioxidants to raise brain levels of superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase and counter age-related dementia that brings on the blues.

Read: Truth About 6 Major Diets

Depression

Recent studies led by Dr Robert Krikorian at the University of Cincinnati, suggest that regular consumption of the anthocyanins in blueberries may slow the loss of cognitive function and decrease depression in the elderly.

Healthy Living Magazine 22 foods of happiness

Healthy Living Magazine 22 foods of happiness

Folate, a B vitamin, fights off depression, so eat plenty of romaine lettuce, asparagus, beets and beans.

Healthy Living Magazine 22 foods of happiness

Healthy Living Magazine 22 foods of happiness

Green leafy veggies like spinach, chard and mustard greens contain magnesium, also a depression antidote, say doctors in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry.

The other aspect of staving off the “black dog” (melancholia) is maintaining steady brain blood flow.

Just two cups daily of hot chocolate, rich in flavonoids that are found in cacao (the source of chocolate), will keep the brain’s thinking skills intact while increasing blood flow to this vital organ, offering a simple method of improving neurological function, say researchers in the online issue of Neurology.

Concentration and Relaxation

Healthy Living Magazine 22 foods of happiness

Healthy Living Magazine 22 foods of happiness

Green tea contains the amino acid theanine, sold as a dietary supplement, for focus and concentration. Theanine relaxes brain waves so is thought to increase focus.

Bipolar Disorder

Coldwater fish such as herring, mackerel and salmon supply omega-3s; in dietary supplement form, omega-3s are as effective as lithium for bipolar disorder patients, according to clinical research.

Epidemiological studies show that people who eat the most seafood, particularly salmon, trout and other sources of omega-3s, have the best mood scores.

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