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Quick Good Mood Food

Posted on 22 August 2013 by Stefanie

Quick Good Mood FoodWe often feel down (low energy, depressed, and/or foggy-brained) because of a drop in blood sugar! Since that is the fuel that runs your glucose-hungry brain, you can remedy that feeling with a dose of carbohydrate, the source of glucose. While a doughnut may seems to work , it’s deceptive: you get a quick sugar high, followed by a big dip in blood glucose an hour or so later, and you are even worse off than before! On the other hand, a piece of fruit will provide higher quality glucose (blood sugar), and other phytonutrients (vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants). The fruit’s fiber helps the “sugar hit” to last longer in your system since it releases it’s sugar more gradually than refined sugar (eg a doughnut) or even fruit juice. Any whole grain will do the same.

Which brings us to sandwiches: a tuna, chicken, or cheese on whole grain brain — provides carbohydrate which is converted to glucose which fuels the brain. The combination also helps activate serotonin, a calming feel-good neurotransmitter(chemical messenger); Meat, fish, dairy, soy (tofu) provide protein which is converted into the neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers, and carbs act like a ‘boat’ that carries the tryptophan right to the brain. There it’s converted to serotonin.

Here is the whole story:
Did you know that some foods have a mild tranquilizing effect, while others alleviate depression? Still others give you an energy lift and feeling of happiness that lasts for hours without bringing you down with a crash.

We call these Good Mood Foods.

Natural Highs: Supplements, Nutrition, and Mind/Body Techniques to Help You Feel Good All the Time (Penguin Putnam), presents the latest scientific findings about how mood, behavior, energy, and mental performance all depend on a variety of nutrients that both make up and fuel the brain, nervous system, and neurotransmitters.

By incorporating Good Mood Foods into your regular diet, you can calm jangled nerves and fight anxiety, achieve mental clarity and improve memory, beat the blues, and feel optimistic and energized. For example:

* Energy boosters: Foods that score below 50 on the glycemic index, or low-GI foods, are complex carbohydrates that release their energy-giving glucose into the bloodstream slowly, like a time-release stimulant. They improve your alertness, memory, energy levels, mental clarity, and moods, and enable you to cope with stress. Best foods: beans and legumes, yogurt and skim milk, plums, oranges, apples, pears, dried apricots, grapefruit, cherries, barley, peanuts, and whole grains.

* Natural blues busters: Foods that contain the essential amino acid tryptophan help your body produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that, when depleted, causes depression and quarrelsomeness. Oxford University researchers fed female adults a diet devoid of tryptophan. Within just eight hours, the women began to feel depressed. Their mood improved as soon as tryptophan-containing foods were reintroduced into their diet without their knowledge. Best foods: fish, turkey, chicken, cottage cheese, avocados, bananas, and wheat germ.

* Happiness foods: Foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, the “good fats” (also called essential fatty acids, or EFA’s for short) which your body cannot produce, support the activity of the good-mood neurotransmitter, serotonin. EFA’s provide the some of the building blocks that make your brain cells. As fats, they help you feel satisfied and cut cravings for the wrong kind of fatty foods, like chips and rich desserts. Best foods: seeds of hemp, pumpkin, and sunflower, flaxseeds, tuna, salmon, cod, and mackerel. Or a handful of nuts—cashews, filberts, walnuts or almonds.

* Tranquilizing foods: Foods that contain taurine, an amino acid that plays a major role in the brain as an inhibitory neurotransmitter, help calm an overstimulated or excited brain. Best sources: animal and fish protein, specifically organ meats such as beef or chicken liver. Foods such as turkey and milk are high in the amino acid tryptophan which produces the calming neurotransmitter, serotonin.

* Mind and memory boosters. Probably the single most common cause for declining memory is a deficiency in the brain chemical acetylcholine, which is derived from the nutrient choline. Eating rich sources of choline has been shown to dramatically improve mental clarity, alertness, retention, and comprehension. Eggs, sardines, and soy beans are major sources.

Article Author: Hyla Cass M.D. is a physician practicing integrative medicine and psychiatry. She combines the best of natural medicine with modern science in her clinical practice and appears regularly on TV, radio, and has been quoted in many national magazines. A member of the Medical Advisory Board of the Health Sciences Institute and Taste for Life Magazine, she is also Associate Editor of Total Health Magazine, she has served on the boards of California Citizens for Health and the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM). She graduated from the University of Toronto School of Medicine, interned at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, and completed a psychiatric residency at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center/UCLA. She is the author of several popular books including: Natural Highs, 8 Weeks to Vibrant Health, and Supplement your Prescription: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Nutrition.

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Article Image: Microsoft Clip Art

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Quick Good Mood Food

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