Top 6 Mood-Boosters

It’s no secret that foods and beverages can help you feel good – or bad – in the short- and long-term.

For one, eating healthy balanced meals everyday keeps your blood sugar levels normal, and your gastrointestinal tract moving along smoothly. Surging blood sugar levels can make you feel out of sorts, while an upset gastrointestinal system – perhaps due to hung from fad diet – can also make you feel bad.

Keeping your body healthy and disease-free makes good moods more possible. Also, important nutrients in some foods increase the levels of feel-good hormones such as serotonin. Others prevent inflammation, thus enabling blood to circulate optimally to all your organs.

Diane M. Becker MPH, ScD, director of the Center for Health Promotion at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, says "Eating a heart healthy diet — high in fiber and low in saturated fat — is a great place to start to boost your mood."

On the other hand, "a high-fat, high-glycemic load meal can make you physically feel dysfunction in your body. People who eat this type of meal tend to feel bad and sleepy afterwards," she says.

That said, here are the top 5 mood-boosters:

Vitamin B12- and folic acid-rich foods

Foods rich in vitamin B12 and folic acid help prevent conditions that affect the central nervous system, dementias, and of course, mood disorders.

A recent study involving Japanese men showed a link between high food intakes of folate and a lower occurrence of depressive symptoms.

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are great sources of several important nutrients as well as antioxidant phytochemicals that directly contribute to your health and health-related quality of life.

One study showed that eating two more servings of fruits and vegetables per day was linked to an 11 percent chance of good functional health. People who ate the highest quantity of fruits and vegetables felt better about their health.

Selenium-rich foods

Selenium is a mineral that functions like an antioxidant in the body. Research indicates that oxidative stress in the brain is associated with some cases of mild to moderate depression in the elderly population.

A study examined the depression scores of elderly people whose daily diet included 200 micrograms of selenium per day or a placebo. Although further research is needed to validate the findings, the group taking selenium had higher amounts of selenium circulating in their blood and considerable reductions in their depression syndromes. The recommended daily allowance for selenium is 55 micrograms for both men and women.

Fish

A number of recent studies indicate that men and women who eat a lot of fish, particularly fatty fish like salmon which is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, have a lower risk of having depression symptoms.

According to Jay helan, PhD, head of the department of nutrition at the University of Tennessee, Omega-3s from fish appear to have positive effects on the clinically defined mood swings such as postpartum depression.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is probably the easiest nutrient to obtain. Just a short period of time under the sun is enough to get your daily fill. The sun’s UV rays let our bodies synthesize and regulate vitamin D.

Four recent studies showed a link between low serum levels of vitamin D and higher occurrences of four mood disorders: PMS, seasonal affective disorder, nonspecified mood disorder, and major depressive disorder.

According to Researcher Pamela K. Murphy, PhD, at the Medical University of South Carolina, people can manage their moods by getting at least 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D a day. 1,000-2,000 IU is significantly more than the RDA for vitamin D which is 200 IU for adults under 50, 400 IU for ages 51 to 70, and 600 IU for people over 70. Few foods naturally contain Vitamin D. Murphy recommends getting vitamin D from different sources, including short periods of sun exposure, vitamin D supplements and vitamin D fortified foods such as breakfast cereals, breads, juices, and milk.

Chocolate

Chocolate is probably one of the most indulgent foods available. It is also one of the best mood-boosters. According to Becker at Johns Hopkins, "Small amounts of dark chocolate can be a physical upper. Dark chocolate has an effect on the levels of brain endorphins." On top of that, dark chocolates also have a heart-healthy anti-clogging effect in the blood vessels.

A study from the Netherlands showed that Dutch men who ate 1/3 of a chocolate bar each day had lower levels of blood pressure and lower rates of heart disease. Eating chocolates also improved their sense of well-being.

Source: WebMD