Friday, February 11, 2011

Casual Friday: Foods That Make You Happier

You are what you eat! Don't you want to look
like this? Portrait by Giuseppe Arcimboldo.
From Wikipedia.
Today I thought it would be nice to highlight diet tips that can improve your mood, using this article by Elsa Jones from and this article by Mary Bourgeois from Top Wire XS as guidance. As most of you probably know, food can have a big effect on levels of your serotonin, also known as the "happiness hormone" (even though it's a neurotransmitter, not a hormone). But what kind of diet is best? Let's find out!

  1. Eat folate-rich foods. A study by the University of York and the Hull York Medical School showed that low folate levels can lead to depression, so eat foods like peas, bananas, oranges, broccoli, and others like them.
  2. Eat protein with every meal. Protein-rich food keeps blood sugar balanced and contains tryptophan, which is necessary for serotonin production. Some good foods in this category are turkey, cottage cheese, and bananas.
  3. Eat B vitamins, especially B6. B vitamins help with serotonin production, but B6 also helps in the metabolism of red blood cells. B-vitamin foods include oats, leafy green vegetables, and eggs.
  4. Eat omega-3 foods, like fish. A study by the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry showed that eating fish capsules three times a day improved bipolar and depression patients' moods after eight weeks. This makes sense because omega-3 helps create dopamine (another neurotransmitter related to happiness) and slows the breakdown of serotonin.
  5. Eat vitamin D. Most of us don't get enough vitamin D from sunlight, especially in the winter, which can cause problems because this vitamin is a mood booster. Some good vitamin-D foods are oily fish, leafy green vegetables, and eggs.
So there you have it. Give some of these tips a try. You'll probably be glad you did!

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