Food and mood - Blog - Persona Nutrition

Food and mood

A bowl sitting on top of a table is full of blueberries and raspberries.

Dark leafy green vegetables

As a dietitian, it’s difficult to understand how anyone can be happy without dark leafy greens in their daily diet. From spinach, chard, and collards to romaine lettuce and broccoli, these are the very best sources of the B vitamin, folate. Your brain cells won’t turn on without it. It’s no wonder that poor intake of folate increases the risk for depression, fatigue, poor memory, and possibly even more serious mental problems like schizophrenia.

Packed with vitamins and minerals, one serving of dark greens supplies an entire day’s requirement for vitamin A, more than 3 milligrams of iron, almost a third of your daily need for folate, and hefty amounts of calcium and B vitamins, all for about 20 calories. A one-cup serving of cooked Swiss chard supplies more than half of a woman’s daily recommendation for magnesium, a mineral that helps her cope with stress, curbs symptoms of PMS, and aids in sleep. Phytonutrients, such as sulforaphane in broccoli and the carotenoids in spinach, clear toxins from the body and strengthens your resistance to colds and infections.

 

Citrus

Sweet and tart, fresh and clean. If morning sunshine had a scent, it would be citrus. That aroma also holds the secret to a happy mood and weight loss.

Mood-wise, vitamin C is important in boosting energy, since it helps absorb iron and maintain healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen to every cell in the body, including the brain. Without iron, your brain literally suffocates, leaving you groggy, depressed, too pooped to appreciate life, and totally unmotivated. The vitamin C in citrus also helps curb the stress response, lowering stress hormone levels and possibly reducing blood pressure. People even report they feel calmer during stress when they consume enough vitamin C.

Oranges are brimming with folate (a B vitamin essential in brain and mood function), while all citrus are overflowing in phytonutrients, fiber, and potassium, a mineral essential for energy and preventing fatigue. Just one cup of any citrus juice supplies about a quarter of your daily potassium needs (you’d have to drink twice as much apple juice to get the same amount of potassium). Hundreds of different phytonutrients have been identified in citrus, with names like terpenes, flavonoids, coumarins, and carotenoids. Most of these phytonutrients protect the brain and improve memory.

 

Wheat germ 

The heart of the wheat kernel is a gold mine of nutrition. Half a cup of toasted wheat germ supplies 100% of your daily need for folic acid and 50% of your magnesium, zinc, and vitamin E requirements. Vitamin E-rich diets help prevent and slow the progression and might even lower the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to 70%. Wheat germ also supplies decent amounts of trace minerals, such as iron and zinc.  You also get a truckload of phytonutrients, including octacosanol, a compound that improves endurance and helps the body cope with stress.

 

Berries

 These sweet and juicy fruits are the perfect water and fiber combination for weight loss. They also are loaded with B vitamins, vitamin C, and antioxidants, such as the flavonoids, resveratrol, and more than 40 different anthocyanins. These potent antioxidants strengthen tissue defenses against oxidation and inflammation, which are underlying factors in most age-related diseases, from heart disease and cancer to memory loss, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. The antioxidants in berries might even help reverse memory loss. Best of all, frozen is just as antioxidant-packed as fresh, so enjoy these nutrient gold mines all year around.

Berries are more than just antioxidants. Research from Tufts University shows that these little fruits regulate our genes! They turn on the cells’ production of disease-fighting chemicals that then work 24-7 to protect the brain and all the body’s tissues from damage. No wonder they improve cell communication, stimulate nerve cell growth, and enhance brain cell connections.

If I told you I had a pill that would take 20 years off your age. You would drop weight, improve your mind and concentration, boost your mood, have all the energy you need or want, and sleep and handle stress better, would you take it? You’d be a fool not to, right?

Well, it isn’t a pill, it’s a plate. Grace your meals with piles of mood-boosting superfoods and you will look, act, feel, think, and sleep better.

If it doesn’t hit your plate, make sure you’re supplementing the following:

  • Ashwagandha + DHA w/ Vitamin D
  • Fermented Ginseng
  • 5-HTP

 

References:

Andres-Lacueva C, Shukitt-Hale B, Galli R, et al: Anthocyanins in aged blueberry-fed rats are found centrally and may enhance memory. Nutrition andNeuroscience 2005;8:111-120.

Bodnar L, Wisner K: Nutrition and depression. Biological Psychiatry 2005;58:679-685.

Christensen L, Somers S: Adequacy of the dietary intake of depressed individuals. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 1994;13:597-600.

Engelhart M, Geerlings M, Ruitenberg A, et al: Dietary intake of antioxidants and risk of Alzheimer disease. Journal of the American Medical Association 2002;287:3223-3229.

Galli R, Shukitt-Hale B, Youdim K, et al: Fruit polyphenolics and brain aging. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 2002;959:128-132.

Gilbody S, Lightfoot T, Sheldon T: Is low folate a risk factor for depression? Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2007;61:631-637.

Jacka F, Overland S, Steward R, et al: Association between magnesium intake and depression and anxiety in community-dwelling adults. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 2010;43:45-52.

Jacka F, Pasco J, Myketun A, et al: Association of Western and traditional diets with depression and anxiety in women. American Journal of Psychiatry 2010;167:305-311.

Joseph J, Skukitt-Hale B, Denisova N, et al: Reversals of age-related declines in neuronal signal transduction, cognitive, and motor behavioral deficits with blueberry, spinach, or strawberry dietary supplementation. Journal of Neuroscience 1999;19:8114-8121.

Lombard C: What is the role of food in preventing depression and improving mood, performance and cognitive function? Medical Journal of Australia 2000;173:S104-S105.

Maes M, deVos N, Pioli R, et al: Lower serum vitamin E concentrations in major depression. Journal of Affective Disorders 2000;58:241-246.

Owen A, Batterham M, Probst Y, et al: Low plasma vitamin E levels in major depression. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2006;59:304-306.

Patterson A, Brown W, Roberts D: Dietary and supplement treatment of iron deficiency results in improvements in general health and fatigue in Australian women of childbearing age. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2001;20:337-342.

Rogers P: A healthy body, a healthy mind: Long-term impact of diet on mood and cognitive function. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 2001;60:135-143.

Shukitt-Hale B, Lau F, Joseph J: Berry fruit supplementation and the aging brain. Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry 2008;56:636-641.

Silalahi J: Anti-cancer and health protective properties of citrus fruit components. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2002;11:79-84.

Taylor C, Hampl J, Johnston C: Low intakes of vegetables and fruits, especially citrus fruits, lead to inadequate vitamin C intakes among adults. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2000;54:573-578.

The relationship between depression and serum ferritin level. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007;61:532-535.

Young S: Folate and depression: Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience 2007;32:80-82.

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