Mood Boosting The Natural Way!
PUBLISHED: 08:31 08 July 2010 | UPDATED: 17:31 20 February 2013
You are what you eat. Your diet can affect your general mood so let's turn those frowns upside down, with some top natural mood boosters.
Eat happy foods
Yes, there is such a thing as a happy food. Certain foods contain natural elements which boost brain levels of the happy chemicals endorphin and serotonin.
Bananas contain tryptophan, which the body uses to make serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, a molecule of happiness, which regulates mood, sleep, memory and learning. Bananas are also packed with potassium and B6. Stress can deplete potassium levels and B6 helps to regulate blood sugar and stabilise mood.
Capsicin, the chemical that causes the hot sensation of chillies, stimulates the nerves in the mouth and causes the brain to release endorphins in response to the mild, pain-like feelings. This is also why ointments containing chilli extracts can help relieve joint pain.
Complex carbohydrate foods such as wholegrain pasta, are better than high protein meals as they give you sustained energy and are more likely to promote good vibes.
Avoid over-stimulating the body with caffeine or depressing the system with alcohol. Excessive sugar will also cause mood swings as the body tries to balance the blood-sugar seesaw.
Natural highs from plants
Rhodiola rosea: Researched in Russia since the 1930s, Rhodiola, is the king of all stress-busting herbs and researchers have found Rhodiola to go above and beyond ginseng in its scope and activity. Rhodiola, a native herb of Siberia, has been shown to enhance the systems that regulate stress and help the body maintain fuel reserves to cope. It is an effective anti-depressant and has a reputation as an aphrodisiac, probably due to its ability to lift mood and improve stamina.
Vervain: a gentle relaxing traditional herb ideal for those suffering stress, anxiety, melancholia or depression. It is a nerve tonic and can be recommended for those who suffer with over-excitability, panic attacks or nervous anxiety.
The B complex vitamins, particularly vitamin B5, are vital for the bodys conversion of food into energy and aid mood elevation. Vitamin B5 supports the function of the adrenal glands, which can become exhausted from chronic stress.
Essential fatty acids
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may influence mood, personality and behaviour, according to University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers. In a study of 106 healthy volunteers, researchers found that participants who had lower blood levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids were more likely to report mild or moderate symptoms of depression, a more negative outlook and be more impulsive. Conversely, those with higher blood levels of omega-3s were found to be more agreeable. Flax seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. People suffering with depression and sleep disorders are often found to be deficient in these important fatty acids.
Exercise has long been touted as a way to maintain physical fitness and help prevent high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases. A growing volume of research shows that exercise can also help improve symptoms of certain mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. Research suggests that it may take at least 30 minutes of exercise a day for at least three to five days a week to significantly improve depression symptoms. But smaller amounts of activity as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time can improve mood in the short term. It is thought that exercise boosts the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and endorphins.
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