MOOD FOODS - Feel fantastic by simply eating the right foods
Scientists are proving that the foods you eat can affect the chemistry of your brain - and your mood. Not exactly "you are what you eat" but nutrition can affect your mood, including your alertness and your pain threshold.
Food's ability to alter the production or release of neurotransmitters is what makes what you eat so important. Neurotransmitters are chemicals which relay, amplify and regulate signals between a neuron and another cell' they are responsible for pain response, appetite signals and suchlike.
How are you feeling?
Sage tea. 1tsp dried sage leaves to a cup of boiling water leave to infuse for a couple of minutes and sweeten with honey if desired.
Seeds (Pumpkin, sesame or Sunflower)
Eating nuts, beans, chicken, fish or cheese will help take the anxiety away.
Unable to sleep?
Consuming milk, eggs, meat, nuts, beans, fish,and cheese can be helpful. Cheddar and Swiss cheese are particularly rich in tryptophan which is a sleep inducing chemical. Also foods high in carbohydrates eaten a couple of hours before bed will help with insomnia. Try: cereal, milk, cakes, sugar, ice cream, dried fruits, chocolate, cakes, sweet pies, potatoes, spaghetti, honey or fruit preserves.
Fish - Salmon or Mackerel are particularly good.
Spinach and peas are high in folate (folic acid) which plays a key role in the production of Serotonin. People who are depressed have low levels of Serotonin. Folic acid deficiency causes serotonin levels in the brain to decrease. The recommended amount is easily obtained in a cup of cooked spinach or a glass of orange juice.
Caffeine can be an effective anti-depressant
Despite bad press, caffeine can be useful in mild cases of depression which do not need the services of a physician. A couple of cups of caffeine rich coffee can be an effective anti-depressant. Excessive consumption though, can have counterproductive effects in some people.
Some foods can actually make you feel depressed
Junk foods such as fries, soft drinks (especially with Aspartame sweetener) and Monsodium Glutamate contain Excitotxins which can cause a depressed mood by overstimulating the neurons in your brain.
Chocolate contains Anadamine which has a mood brightening effect.
If you are constantly forgetting things; try increasing your intake of riboflavin (found in dairy products), iron (found in potatoes, tomatoes, and beans/peas) and zinc (found in meat and seafood).
Berries, dark green vegetables, and orange fruits and vegetables contain beta- carotine which can help with memory.
Foods rich in sugar are not to be recommended if you are trying to remember something as sugar can disrupt brain chemicals which control memory formation.
Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin can affect your mood if you are deficient. People who live in the northern hemisphere can be particularly at risk as the sun doesn't shine so often. Rather than take supplements why not try to get some sunshine from the food you eat. There aren't that many foods that contain vitamin D but those that do are:
- Oily fish
A few foods are now being fortified with Vitamin D so look out for them at the supermarket:
- Margarine spreads
- Powdered Milk
- Fruit drinks
© Susan Bailey 2008 All Rights Reserved
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