It is a well known fact that you should eat a balanced diet to stay in shape and good health but this is also of great importance to protect the cells in the brain from free radicals and to support important signaling processes. Many nutrients in our food aid a healthy brainfunction which is in fact very essential for an even mood and thus happiness.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Some foods really work well on your brain because of the special nutrients, minerals and vitamins they provide. Therefore they may directly influence how you are feeling. So next time you feel a little run down bring this grocery list to the supermarket and stock up on happiness foods that will help your brain function properly and you feeling great.
THE HAPPY NUTRIENTS
Our brains are mostly made up of fat and the quality of this fat is very important. Vitamin E is one of the most important vitamins for the brain because it plays a huge role in preserving the quality of that fat. It works as an antioxidant that saps up free radicals in the brain. Vitamin E may reduce the risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease and helps stop blood vessels clogging thus improving the supply of oxygen and other nutrients to the brain. How do you get your E’s?
Wheat germ oil contains the highest levels of vitamin E. But don’t heat it or it will lose all its beneficial qualities. Additionally sunflower oil, dry roasted almonds, hazelnuts & sunflower seeds.
is found in almost every cell in your body. It supports a healthy immune system and helps over 300 enzymes to do their work properly which can range from making DNA, to cell division and and other important things. This trace element also has a crucial role in managing how neurons in the brain communicate with one another. Recent studies have implicated that zinc also plays a part in regulating the brain and body’s response to stress. People with depression appear to have low(er) levels of zinc, so you might want to make sure your levels are not depleted. How can you stock up on zinc? The highest levels of zinc can be found in Oysters but not everyone likes these. Other foods are meat, cashew nuts, peanuts, dark chocolate, crab & swiss cheese.
Scientists have recently discovered a link between depression and our sense of smell, and found that the fragrance and aroma of lemons (and also other citrus fruits) help boost serotonin in the brain and serotonin is that famous feel good hormone. Additionally citrus aromas seemingly reduce levels of norepinephrine, a stress hormone. Feeling blue? Sniff a lemon! And if life throws you lemons, make lemonade: lemon juice provides your body with energy when it enters your digestive tract, and it also helps reduce anxiety. And there is an easy way to sniff some happiness. Purchase our Sweet Sunrise Fragrance Sticks for a happiness inducing fragrance all day long.
Recent attention for lycopene has shown that it is great for your heart. But lycopene is also a phytonutrient that protects vital brain fat. The nutrient actually helps to stop the buildup of pro-inflammatory compounds linked to depression. It does this by absorbing toxins and free radicals. All tomatoes are packed with lycopene and because lycopene lives in tomato skins, the best way to get it is through cherry tomatoes whose smaller surface means greater concentration of the goods. Don’t like tomatoes? Try watermelon or grapefruit. Both are high in lycopene as well.
Vitamin D is important for bone health but has also been shown to fight depression. Sunlight is of great importance to your body to create vitamin D so especially in winter it is necessary to catch some extra D’s from your food. It can be found in fatty fish mostly. Salmon, mackerel, trout and eel. Not a fish fan? Try mushrooms. But be selective because only specific ones have the same capacity for providing you with vit. D: Portobello Mushrooms for example. Vitamin D can also be found in egg yolks.
THE VITAMIN B FAMILY
B vitamins are all vital for a healthy brain.
Vitamin B6 is very important for our neurotransmitters which send messages from the brain to the rest of the body. Long term deficiency in B6 can cause a weakened immune system, confusion, and depression. Getting enough vitamin B6 is essential for regulating brain function, which influences our emotions.
Eat: Salmon, chicken breast & canned chick peas.
Vitamin B9 (also known as folate or folic acid) helps the body create new cells and supports serotonin regulation. Serotonin as mentioned before, is the happy vitamin and helps the brain manage a variety of functions that range from determining your mood to regulating social behavior. Too little folate can lower your serotonin levels which has a direct effect on your mood.
Eat: avocados, brussels sprouts, spinach & asparagus .
Vitamin B12 is the brain protecting vitamin, so to speak. It preserves the myelin sheath that insulates your brain cells, helping your brain stay sharp as you grow older. B12 also supports the production of serotonin and dopamine which are both vital for a balanced mood and happy emotions. How do you get vitamin B12 naturally?
By consuming mussels (great source for zinc as well) eggs & dairy products like milk.
Omega-3 is fatty acid and actually a good-for-you fat. Omega-3 is highly concentrated in the brain and maintains nerve cell membrane structure. So to keep your brain healthy and your emotions balanced you need this stuff since it actually acts as a big mood booster. Omega 3 is not made by your own body and is taken from food sources. Foods that contain high Omega 3 levels are
flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, salmon, beef, brussels sprouts & soybeans for example.
Magnesium is an essential mineral in maintaining and protecting the body’s health. Too little magnesium in your system can cause fatigue, mental confusion, and predisposition to stress. Magnesium plays a great part in the production of serotonin, the happiness hormone. Magnesium regulates mood swings and is often used in homeopathy to help balance mood. What to eat?
Spinach, Edamame (Soybeans) & nuts.
transports oxygen to your body’s cells and supports your energy levels. Iron deficiency causes fatigue and mood swings amongst others. What to eat to level up on iron? Mussels, oysters, clams, pumpkin seeds & squash will deliver the goods.
Now that you know what to look for in the supermarket we wish you happy shopping and a great mood!