5 good-mood foods - أطعمة للمزاج الجيد منها الشوكلاتة وفيتامين د .
This week's recipe: Chocolate Pudding with Bananas
"Feel-good" fat. A low-fat diet may make you grumpy. British researchers assessed the moods of 20 people, ages 20-37, before and after eating either a daily total of 41 percent or 25 percent of calories from fat. After a month, the lower-fat eaters were rated as more hostile and depressed. Those on the higher-fat diet exhibited better moods and less tension and anxiety. One explanation: Fat stimulates hormones that influence activity of the brain chemical serotonin, important in governing mood. Low serotonin is linked with increased aggression and depression. One solution: Many experts say it's OK to get your quota of feel-good fat if it's mainly monounsaturated fat (olive oil) and fish fat and not artery-destroying saturated animal fat.
Chocolate. One of the most powerful mood elevators is chocolate, says psychologist David Benton of Britain's University of Wales. In studies, he played music that put students into a depressed mood. Then he offered them either milk chocolate or carob, an imitation chocolate. Chocolate improved their moods; carob didn't. Also, chocolate cravings rose as moods sank. Benton says chocolate contains not just serotonin-boosting sugar and mind-soothing fat, but also other chemicals that favorably affect brain messengers controlling mood.
Fish. If you don't eat fish, your chances of becoming depressed rise. Around the world, depression rates drop as fish consumption rises, say Joseph R. Hibbeln and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health. The Japanese, who eat the most fish, are the least depressed. Reason: The omega-3 fat in fish manipulates brain chemicals in ways that boost mood. In a groundbreaking new study, Harvard researcher Andrew Stoll found doses of omega-3 fatty acids improved symptoms of manic depression in 64 percent of 14 patients after four months, vs. 18 percent on a placebo. Stoll theorizes that omega-3 fat affects signaling among brain cells in much the same way as lithium and valproate, drugs for treating manic depression.
Foods high in vitamin D. If dim winter sunlight gives you seasonal affective disorder (SAD), getting more vitamin D may boost your mood. Australian researchers gave 44 healthy adults either 400 IU or 800 IU vitamin D or a "sugar pill" for five days in late winter. Subjects were unaware of which they were getting. It turned out those getting the vitamin D reported feeling better. One possible explanation: Vitamin D, called "the hormone of sunlight," boosts levels of serotonin - a feel-good chemical - in the brain.
Vitamin D can be toxic, so don't overdo it. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends 200 IU vitamin D daily for ages 19-50, 400 IU for ages 51-70, 600 IU after 70. Food sources: salmon, fortified milk, fortified cereal.
B vitamin foods. B vitamins have profound effects on the brain. Much research shows correcting a deficiency of the B vitamin folic acid can relieve depression. Further, in a recent British study of 129 healthy young people, those taking a high daily dose (10 times the recommended daily dose) of nine vitamins for a year reported feeling "more agreeable." Especially effective: thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2) and B6. In thiamine-deficient women, mood improved after three months. Researchers found 20 percent of those in the study had marginal thiamine levels. But thiamine boosted mood even in women not lacking thiamine. Foods high in B vitamins: dried beans, whole grains, fish, dairy products, poultry, eggs, bananas, avocados.