Given the dreary economic climate, I thought it might be a good idea to explore foods that activate neurotransmitters in the brain for an immediate mood boost – minus the sugar-high.
Happy Foods include Magnesium-rich bananas, which reduce anxiety and improve sleep patterns; Vitamin-C rich oranges, which help diminish nervousness, bad moods and depression; Selenium-packed walnuts; and whole wheat bread, which contain Amino Acids like Tryptophan that trigger the release of Seratonin. Other Happy Foods include dark chocolate, turkey, hot peppers, papaya, pineapple, yogurt, eggs, milk, beans and spinach.
A bit of research revealed some interesting facts about feeding your mood:
Deficiencies in certain nutrients – including Omega 3, Zinc and Vitamin B-3 (or niacin) – can cause irritability, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and even exacerbate symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorders.
To combat the blues, foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, tuna, walnuts, and canola oil are not only delicious, but as it turns out, natural anti-depressants. The same goes for choices loaded with Vitamin B-3: again, salmon works, so do beets, chicken, and pork. Dried beans are another cheap and delicious source for this vitamin and they’re also loaded with iron, which helps assuage sleep problems . If you’re suffering from a new crop of canker sores or indigestion is suddenly on the rise, you may be deficient in B-3. Alcohol also depletes your body’s stores of B-3.
A deficiency in the mineral Zinc can cause fatigue – and who doesn’t feel tired? Try boosting your energy with wheat germ, whole grain wheat breads and cereals, wheat bran, and high protein foods like fish, fowl, and beef.
As we all know by now, Vitamin C boosts the immune system, which definitely boosts the morale, so fruit is an easy choice and affordable if you follow the seasons. Apples are always a good buy and right now strawberries are available 2 quarts for $4.00 in the Westchester & NYC regions at the A&P, Peapod and Whole Foods!