Eat & Be Happy!

As the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers have left your refrigerator, we hope you are feeling GREAT about making all healthy choices and not having over eaten at all last week (wink wink). If this is not you (it surely is not us here at Life on happy), that is okay-we’re glad you’re here. 🙂

We agree that sometimes the holiday season can be stressful. Did you know food can uplift your spirits? Here are some awesome food items that are known to make you Happy! Thanks to Men’s Health for the 29 foods that make you happier!

CALL FOR RECIPES! Please post your recipes that make YOU happy and we will add them to our upcoming recipe section of this blog!

1. Green beans: A study by the Institute of Psychiatry found that magnesium levels are lower in those suffering from depression. Green veggie- green beans in particular-can boost them and ensure you stay the right side of happy.

2. Ginseng tea:
This herb has been shown to improve the body’s response to stress and decrease feelings of anxiety; it can also help to give your mood and energy a lift. Apparently Buddha was partial to a cuppa-and who are we to question the master of serenity?

3. Tofu: Research in The New England Journal of Medicine shows a lack of trytophan can lead to depression. With its high levels- 747mg per 100g-tofu is ideal to keep your levels up. If you’re not convinced by the wobbly stuff, blend it into a smoothie-you can still enjoy the benefits without knowing it’s there.

4. Butternut squash:
This veggie is high in zinc. Research from the Polish Academy of Science showed it helps keep nerve cells alive and ward off the blues. It’s needed to convert trytophan into serotonin, the happy hormone. Peel, chop and roast in olive oil with mixed herbs and chilli for bliss.

5. Red snapper:
Researchers from Finland’s Kuopio University Hospital found people with low levels of vitamin B12 are more likely to be depressed. One serving of red snapper has almost three times your RDA and is great barbecued or grilled.

6. Chocolate:
High in phenylethylamine (PEA), chocolate enhances endorphin levels. According to a study by John Hopkins University in Baltimore, its sugar and fat has moodaltering effects, familiar to anyone who has soothed a tetchy girlfriend with Temptations.

7. Grapefruit:
Rich in folic acid, crucial for oxygen delivery to the brain, grapefruit is also key in serotonin production. A study by Tufts University in Boston found that blood levels of folate were lower in people with depression. Try grilled with brown sugar and angostura bitters.

8. Wheat: Trimethyglycine (TMG) helps in the production of several brain chemicals which improve mood, energy, well-being, alertness, concentration and visual clarity. Key sources are wheat bran and wheat germ, so opt for whole meal bread when making your sandwiches.

9. Sesame seeds:
The Princeton Brain Bio Institute found people with depression have low levels of the amino acid threonine. Sesame seeds are one of the best food sources of this nutrient. Add them to salads, or try adding sesame paste to your salad dressings.

10. Goat’s milk: This is packed with moodbalancing calcium- 500ml provides around 70 per cent of your RDA-needed for the transmission of nerve impulses. A lack of this calming mineral will really get your goat as it increases edginess and irritability.

11. Butter beans: The neurotransmitter noradrenaline gives us feelings derived from dopamine, found in butter beans. If you’re feeling fl at or apathetic, blend a can of these beans with some olive oil and mustard for a tasty dip. You’ll feel butter in no time.

12. Cottage cheese:
Low-fat cheese of the cottage variety can guarantee you some decent sleep. It’s a good source of trytophan which is used in the production of melatonin, which helps you nod off. Try a late-night snack of cottage cheese on oatcakes.

13. Portobello mushrooms: A defi ciency in their vitamin B3 (niacin) can lead to depression. When levels are low, the body uses up trytophan to manufacture B3, leaving little left to convert to serotonin. Maintain your “fun-gi” status by eating these mushrooms-brush with olive oil and grill.

14. Liquorice: You never saw Chandler in a bad mood, did you? Liquorice root contains glycyrrhizin that inhibits the breakdown of cortisol, which helps the body deal with stress. It also contains isoflavan and isoflavene, used to treat the symptoms of depression.

15. Cauliflower:
This knobbly veggie is high in vitamin C. Having a low intake of C inhibits the production of dopamine, which gives us feelings of wellbeing, boosts absorption of energy boosting iron. A study by Cornell University found steaming 100g of cauliflower resulted in 70mg of the spirit raising vitamin.

16. Lentils: Feeling down is often a symptom of chronic iron deficiency, as is general weakness, listlessness and exhaustion. A 200g serving of lentils will supply you with half your RDA of iron, so looks like you better start spooning up mom’s dal. Else, just add a handful to a soup or salad.

17. Oranges:
Oranges contain the substance inositol, which regulate serotonin and insulin levels resulting in fewer mood swings and relief from depression. It can also help in the breakdown of fats and reduction of blood cholesterol. Easy-peelers guarantee even fewer mood swings.

18. Tuna: The production of serotonin requires vitamin B6, so a deficiency can affect mood. A study in the Alternative Medicine Review found a fifth of depressed people lack B6. As tuna supplies 59 per cent of your RDA, it pays to have it on your shopping list.

19. Parsley: An excellent source of amino acid L-glutamine, which increases concentration levels. It also helps to combat anxiety and stress by elevating energy levels in your brain and increasing mental alertness. In future, don’t dismiss the garnish: Use it liberally.

20. Mackerel:
Gamma-amino butyric acid or GABA provides mood-elevating effects by blocking feelings of anxiety or stress. Fish is a good source of this compound with mackerel particularly high. So, cheer yourself up with this cheap and plentiful variety.

21. Mutton kidneys:
Rich in phosphatidylserine, kidneys can improve memory and stress response. A study in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience showed high levels were associated with feeling less stressed and having a better mood. Fry in a little butter for three minutes in each side.

22. Hummus:
High in protein and fibre, hummus provides a slow, sustained release of glucose into your blood stream helping you avoid blood sugar fluctuations. Depression and low mood are linked to poor blood sugar control, so snack on.

23. Carrots:
A study in the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research found a deficiency in the vitamin biotin induced depression and fatigue. Although the study was conducted on mice, experts believe the effects would be replicated in humans.

24. Halibut:
According to scientists from University College in Swansea, a deficiency of the mineral selenium may be associated with increased anxiety, low mood with depression. You can get 68 per cent of your RDA of selenium from a mere 100g of halibut.

25. Soya milk: High protein foods like soya milk break down into amino acids such as tyrosine, which increase brain chemicals dopamine and noradrenaline. These help you feel more energetic and positive. Just substitute the milk on your cereals or in your coffee with soya.

26. Walnuts:
Walnut’s association with all things cerebral isn’t restricted to them looking like tiny brains. They’re an excellent source of omega-3s which help brain cells and mood-lifting neurotransmitters to function properly.

27. Cod:
Taurine is an amino acid that helps regulate and generate nerve impulses responsible for our mood, thoughts and actions. Cod contains 108mg per 100g, but it’s probably better to find a sustainable alternative. Pollack is also rich in taurine.

28. Kelp: Sea vegetables are a rich source of iodine which stablises mood and can increase energy, focus and can make you more alert. Don’t worry if the thought doesn’t appeal-you can still benefit by adding dried flakes to your soups or salads.

29. Sweetcorn: These little yellow kernels will put a smile on your dial. In a single serving, you get a quarter of your RDA of vitamin B1. A recent study found subjects enjoyed improved mood, alertness and energy after two months of supplementing with B1, even if they weren’t deficient.

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