December 15, 2010 13 Comments
Food and its cooking styles has strong impact on health and mood of individuals.Human taste is dependent on local food chain, traditional trends and standard of cooking maintained by family of a person.Overall good food has strong influence on human mood and expressions.It is important to keep in mind that food and balance diet greatly influence the brain’s behavior. Therefore, a poor diet, particularly one that includes a lot of junk foods is a common cause of depression.
There are five major nutrients found in natural food that contribute a lot in producing good mood of people.
These neuro active food parts are
- Omega 3 fatty acids.
- B complex vitamins and Zinc content.
Omega 3 Fatty Acid
A diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids may help to lower triglycerides and increase HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). Omega 3 fatty acids may also act as an anticoagulant to prevent blood from clotting. Several other studies also suggest that these fatty acids may help lower increased blood pressure.Good blood flow as carrier of maximum oxygen contributes in fresh and healthy setup even in long working hours.
Omega 3 fatty acids can protect against the accumulation in the body of a protein believed to be linked to Alzheimer’s disease.Its symptoms include confusion, irritability and aggression, mood fluctuation, language breakdown, short and long term memory loss.
Source of Omega 3 fatty acids?
- All fish contain omega 3 fatty acids, but they are more concentrated in fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines .
- Many commercial food products, such as bread and baked goods, yogurt and infant formula are now fortified with omega 3 fatty acids.
- Soybeans and tofu
- Some nuts and seeds like walnuts, and pumpkin seeds
- Cooking oils such as flax-seed oil, canola oil, and soybean oil
- Some eggs such as omega-3 enhanced eggs
Cod liver oil is not a good source of omega 3 acids. It may cause toxicity in excess amount due to its high levels of Vitamin A and Vitamin D.
Dopamine is a chemical naturally produced in the body. In the brain, dopamine functions as a neurotransmitter.Dopamine is commonly associated with the pleasure system of the brain, providing feelings of enjoyment and reinforcement to motivate a person proactively to perform certain activities. Dopamine is released by naturally pleasures such as food, sex, and neutral stimuli that become associated with them. Oysters are known as a storehouse of dopamine, the brain’s pleasure chemical.
Low dopamine levels can cause depression, loss of mood control, loss of satisfaction, addictions, cravings, compulsions, low sex drive, poor attention and focus. When dopamine levels are elevated symptoms may manifest in the form of anxiety, paranoia, or hyperactivity.
Dopamine levels are depleted by stress, certain antidepressants, drug use, poor nutrition, and poor sleep. Alcohol, caffeine, and sugar all seem to decrease dopamine activity in the brain.
Foods that increase Dopamine
Food sources of dopamine increasing tyrosine include almonds, avocados, bananas, dairy products, beans, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds.
Dopamine is easily oxidized. Foods that are rich in antioxidants such as fruits and vegetables may help protect dopamine-using neurons from free radical damage. Many health care professionals recommend supplementing with vitamins C, vitamin E, and other antioxidants.
Foods such as sugar, saturated fats, cholesterol, and refined foods interfere with proper brain function and can cause low dopamine.
It is hormone found in the pineal gland, blood platelets, the digestive tract, and the brain. Serotonin acts both as a chemical messenger that transmitsnerve signals between nerve cells and that causes blood vessels to narrow.
Changes in the serotonin levels in the brain can alter the mood. For example, medications that affect the action of serotonin are used to treat depression
An ounce or two may be just enough to release the feel-good brain chemical serotonin.
Caffeine must also be avoided by persons with depression. Caffeine is a stimulant which initially speeds up neuro transmission, raises the amount of serotonin, and temporarily elevates mood.
One can boost serotonin with some supplements to cure depression and eat foods rich in tryptophan that turns into a natural source of serotonin; such as turkey, tuna, salmon, cheese and bananas.Walnuts, sunflower seeds, dark chocolate pumpkin seeds are natural source of serotonin.
One should avoid artificial sweetener , which can block the formation of serotonin and cause headaches, insomnia, and depression in individuals who are already serotonin-deprived .
Peppermint (Mentha piperita), a popular flavoring for gum, toothpaste, and tea, is also used to soothe an upset stomach or to aid in digestion. Because it has a calming and numbing effect, it has been used to treat headaches, skin irritations, anxiety interlinking with depression, nausea, diarrhea, menstrual cramps, and flatulence. In viruses, suggesting it may have antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Peppermint tea is prepared from dried leaves of the plant and is widely available commercially.
B complex vitamins and Zinc
Both nutrient play a major role in the normal functioning of the brain and the nervous system. In fact, the B vitamins are often known as the stress and energy vitamins.Furthermore, irritability, fatigue, poor concentration, anxiety and depression can all be signs of a B vitamin deficiency. Studies show that clinical depression sufferers often have low levels of one or more of the B vitamins (especially B6, B12 and folic acid) .
Best food sources of the B vitamins: whole grains, all seeds, nuts, liver, kidney, eggs, bran, lentils, beans, soybeans, peas, dairy products, and leafy green vegetables.
Zinc is an essential trace mineral that every cell in the body needs and hundreds of body processes rely on it. It has an arsenal of important functions, including it is essential for energy production and brain health. Zinc has been found to be deficient in depression sufferers .One can get surplus zinc from Blue Point oysters to fuel production of testosterone — the hormone that keeps both men and women in the mood for love.
Other variable food sources of zinc: meat, liver, seafood (especially oysters), wheat germ, , pumpkin seeds, eggs, ground mustard, and nonfat dry milk.