Food and Mood: How Diet Affects Depression (Mental Health Guru)

Mood-lifting food

Turkey is high in phenylalanine, an amino acid which the brain converts to dopamine, a brain chemical that elevates mood and motivation and prevents depression. A study published in a German psychiatry journal showed that phenylalanine was as effective as an antidepressant drug. As well as turkey, phenylalanine is found in most protein foods, so eat them when you want to feel sharper.

Liver is one of the richest sources of vitamin B6, which you need to convert the phenylalanine from the protein you eat to mood-enhancing dopamine and buzzy adrenaline. If you don’t get enough vitamin B6, you’ll probably feel low, and stress depletes your levels further. If the thought of liver doesn’t exactly boost your mood, get your vit B6 from brown rice or other wholegrains.

Caffeine is the world’s most popular psychoactive drug. It boosts metabolism and energy levels, making you feel more alert by interfering with the action of drowse-inducing adenosine in the brain. It also manipulates the same channels in the brain as amphetamines, activating the brain’s pleasure centres.

Your brain needs an amino acid called tryptophan in order to make serotonin, a neurotransmitter nicknamed the brain’s Prozac, thanks to its happy-making and calming effect. Prozac works by conserving the brain’s serotonin, but tryptophan helps you make more of your own. Dairy foods are a great low-fat source of tryptophan, but you can also get it from poultry and nuts, especially peanuts.

Eating carbohydrates boosts serotonin levels, and slow-release ‘complex’ carbs like oat and rye flakes keep you sustained, helping you to stay mellow and preventing between-meals rattiness. Protein in nuts and milk further lower the glycaemic index (GI) of that bowlful, so your blood sugar levels don’t spike and plummet, and this prevents the ‘sugar slump’ and accompanying crabbiness you’d get all-too-soon after eating a high GI sugary snack like a chocolate muffin.

Brazil nuts
Brazil nuts are the number one source of the mineral selenium, which helps maintain your mood and prevent depression. Although scientists haven’t figured out exactly how, it seems that selenium is essential for maintaining a happy mood – it’s so important that when the body's stock is being run down, the brain is the last organ to give up its stash. Just six Brazil nuts give you your recommended daily intake. If you don’t like Brazil nuts, you can get smaller amounts from meat or fish. But you’d need to eat nearly a kilo of cow to get a day’s worth – which wouldn’t do your cholesterol levels any good. So, try to eat some nuts, okay?

Curly kale
Green leafy vegetables like kale are high in folate (folic acid). And since low levels of folate  have been linked to depression in many studies, including research following thousands of people in Finland and California, it stands to reason that if you keep your folate levels up, you’re less likely to be down in the dumps.

Chocolate is a source of anandamide, a neurotransmitter that targets the same parts of the brain as THC, the active ingredient in cannabis. But chocolate contains such minuscule levels of anadamide, you’d need to eat kilos of it in order to make any impact on the amount that’s circulating in the brain naturally. So, why does chocolate give us the buzz it does? Scientists believe other chemicals in chocolate cause anadamide to hang around in the brain for longer, enhancing its stimulant effect. The sweet stuff also boosts our levels of endorphins, the brain’s natural happy hormones.

Oily fish like mackerel are the best source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, which help prevent the blues. They boost serotonin levels and also enhance your brain’s receptiveness to the neurotransmitter. High-dose omega-3 supplements can even help patients suffering from clinical depression. Vegetarians can get smaller amounts of Omega-3s from seeds, especially linseeds (flaxseeds) and their oil.

Anything that tastes good
Eating stuff that tastes good stimulates the production of endorphins – the painkilling peptides that bind to the brain’s opioid receptors, triggering the same kind of reaction as opiate drugs such as the painkiller codeine, and heroin.

Video: 10 Foods to Eat to Fight Depression

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Date: 05.12.2018, 10:31 / Views: 55165