Foods that heal include those that positively impact your mood. And new research shows that certain foods that carry specific flavors do indeed enhance your mood. Even to the level that some mood-stabilizing drugs do.
RECOMMENDED: Get moving toward a better mood.
The health breakthrough comes from a major scientificÂ conference that ended in mid-August. Basically,Â researchers found that some flavors in our food have theÂ ability enhance our moods. They contain naturalÂ ingredients that were found to mimic “valproic acid,”Â which is a prescription drug that stabilizes moods. CouldÂ this effect be at the root of the “comfort foods” that put usÂ in a good mood?
The study was of over 1,700 substances that contribute toÂ how the most common foods taste to us. Previously,Â researchers have found that natural chemicals in chocolate,Â blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and foods like fishÂ that are high in omega-3s impact mood positively. Now theÂ studies show that the flavors themselves are structurallyÂ similar to valproic acid.
This drug is a common treatment for mood swings thatÂ afflict patients with mental disorders such as manicÂ depression. For many years, we have known that variousÂ foods have properties that can alter our moods. NowÂ researchers are seeking to identify the chemical compoundsÂ in these foods that moderate mood swings, help maintainÂ cognitive health, improve mental alertness, and delay theÂ onset of memory loss.
They screened the chemical structures of over 1,700 foodÂ flavor ingredients to see if there were similarities to theÂ structures of antidepressants, and any agents that haveÂ reported antidepressant activity. The study’s main result soÂ far is linked to valproic acid. The researchers have not yetÂ approached dietary recommendations or new nutritionalÂ supplements with beneficial mood effects, but this is theirÂ next step.
The takeaway message here is that there is a bundle ofÂ foods out there that can increase your mood-related qualityÂ of life. There are many ways that foods can do this. TheyÂ can help increase levels of serotonin, they can alleviateÂ stress, they can energize the body, they can help ensure aÂ digestive system that is strong and not sluggish, and simplyÂ the knowledge that you are eating healthy foods can raiseÂ your mood and relax the body.
Here are some foods that may help in these ways: whole-grain oats; milk; avocado; a handful of nuts; lentils;Â chocolate; and a spectrum of fruits and vegetables. Also,Â simply avoiding the bad foods can also be a tactic. Candy,Â cakes, cookies, processed foods, and anything full ofÂ simple sugars will spike your blood sugar, then cause it toÂ fall, leaving you very sluggish.