If the long and bleak winter ahead has you feeling blue, cheer up! A warmer and sunnier disposition can be found as close as the refrigerator. The effect of food on your physical health is indeed undeniable and studies have shown that it plays a major part in emotional wellness too. "Good mood" foods are those that have essential nutrients that the body needs to help us feel happier and healthier. When you are feeling anxious, fatigued or lonely, try munching on some of these food choices and say goodbye to the lonesome blues.
Salmon. This heart-friendly fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acid and vitamin D. These nutrients have been shown to enhance levels of the serotonin in the brain, a "feel good" neurotransmitter. Salmon is among the dietary sources for vitamin D. There are studies that linked low levels of vitamin D and sunshine to seasonal affective disorder and depression.
Yogurt. For ladies who are feeling PMS-associated moodiness, eating yogurt might just be the cure. A small study revealed that women who ate a daily diet consisting of 1,300 mg of calcium were less weepy, irritable and depressed before their menses.
Walnuts. Popularly known as an antioxidant-rich nut, walnuts are great sources for serotonin boosting magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids. Magnesium is believed to stabilize a person's mood by regulating blood sugar levels in the body. A dietary lack of magnesium, excess calcium and stress may result to symptoms related to depression such as insomnia, irritability, anxiety and agitation. Magnesium is also believed to elevate symptoms related to premenstrual syndrome.
Popcorn. Carbohydrate-rich foods may cause serotonin to soar making us feel more relaxed and happier. But not all carbs are made equal. Nutritionists recommend eating carbs that are high in fiber and have low glycemic content. This includes carbs coming from vegetables, fruits and even whole grains like popcorn. As our brain is fueled by glucose, slow absorbing complex carbohydrates provide a good fuel source that is nutrient-rich and more sustainable compared to those we get from cookies and cakes.
Bananas. Proven to be rich in mood elevating magnesium, energy producing potassium and vitamin B6, a banana for breakfast will definitely give you that good start. Vitamin B6 is necessary for the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. Vitamin B6 is also a popular cure for treating PMS symptoms.
Dark chocolate. Known as the ultimate "comfort food," dark chocolate is made up of high levels phenylalanine. There are several clinical evidences suggesting that phenylalanine is a good treatment for depression as it enhances the production of serotonin and dopamine in the brain.
Oysters. Popularly tagged as an aphrodisiac, oysters are not only good for stimulating those erotic pleasures, but also are high in zinc. This mineral is proven to calm the body and stabilize mood.
Spinach. It may be the iron component of this green vegetable that made Popeye so strong but it is its folate content that kept him happy. There are studies which have linked depression to lack of folate supplementation in the body.
Turkey. Turkey isn't just made for the holidays anymore. Its low fat and high protein composition is a good source for tryptophan, selenium and vitamin B6. Tryptophan is needed for the production of 'mood enhancing' niacin and serotonin. It also acts as a mild sedative that helps promote sleep and rest.
Charmaine Ann Enerio is a registered nurse and a freelance writer in Manila, Philippines. Currently, she specializes in neonatal intensive care and in health & wellness. As an advocate of women's health, Charmaine is planning on pursuing a degree in midwifery that would focus more on helping women before, during and after their pregnancies. Writing has always been her passion and has been an editor ever since her high school years. A good thing about Charmaine is the way she balances her career as a health care professional and as a writer. Nursing has given her the chance to serve her fellow countrymen and also write about her various experiences. As a medical professional, she focuses more on holistic and patient centered care. Charmaine is blessed with a wonderful family and a loving fiancé. Check out her blog site at troika1987.wordpress.com.