Thursday, April 1, 2010

5 Foods That Make You Happy

When drawing a connection between food and happiness, most of us automatically think of either decadent desserts like cake and ice cream or greasy indulgences like pizza and french fries. While most of these unhealthy treats certainly do provide a little bit of short-term happiness, they’re only a quick fix. They give you a rush of joy, but it fades quickly.

Brazil Nut

If you want to find foods that make you happy in a sustained way, you might have to give up that short-term rush and instead focus on foods that fortify your mood with healthy ingredients that act as natural equivalents of anti-depressive medications. Believe it or not, there are foods out there that can do this. Just introduce them into your diet and keep them there, and you’ll start to feel the effects.

1. Salmon: Salmon is very abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, which are among the top antidepressant ingredients in the world. No one is quite sure how it works, but study after study has shown that people who consume omega-3 fatty acids daily are much more likely to be in a good mood on a consistent basis. Other fish that have similar effects are mackerel, trout, eel, and tuna. All are known to help fight symptoms of depression from insomnia, to persistent pessimism, to low libido.

2. Brazil nuts:Brazil nuts; Brazil nuts are large tree nuts that originate from, you guessed it, Brazil, and they’re easy to find in any health-food store and many supermarkets. They’re thought to be among the most healthy nuts in the world. While providing all kinds of health effects including cancer prevention, they also provide abundant selenium, a mood-boosting mineral that promotes neuronal growth. Selenium is toxic when consumed in abundance, so try not to get too much. Six brazil nuts are enough to provide your daily recommended intake.

3. Molasses: Molasses is made mostly of sucrose, which is essentially pure sugar, but it also contains minerals such as vitamin B, calcium, and phosphorous. Most notably, molasses is high in uridine, which is a building block of DNA as well as a depression fighter. However, due to its high sugar content, molasses is best consumed in moderation.

4. Spinach: Contrary to popular belief, fresh spinach is one of the best-tasting leafy green vegetables in the world. In addition to containing tons of iron and a healthy dose of vegetable protein, spinach is a great source of the B-vitamin Folate, which helps the brain produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in promoting healthy mood. And one of the best things about spinach is that it’s so versatile and simple. Add a small spinach salad to your dinner, and you’ll be in good shape.

5. Chocolate: It turns out that sweets can’t categorically be ruled out. While many desserts are just quick-fix mood enhancers, dark chocolate actually provides more than just a sugar rush. For one thing, it contains plenty of cannabinoids, which promote relaxation, and it also has a stimulant called phenyethylamine, which is the same chemical that is released when you fall in love. For the best effects, stay away from highly processed chocolate-such as that found in mass-produced candy bars-and stick with organic dark chocolate.

Author by Caterina Christakos, EzineArticles.