There are foods delicious to eat, make you happy and nourish your brain. These foods are very likely that you consume every day. What are they?
Bananas: Bananas are an excellent source of starchy carbohydrate which promotes the production of serotonin, the happy hormone. Bananas also contain tryptophan, which the body cannot make itself. It is a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin. According to Dr. Caroline Longmore, author of the book The Serotonin Secret, she suggests eating between four to 11 bananas a week. No wonder monkeys are the happiest animals in the world. Research has also shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.
Chocolate: Theobromine, which has the same effects as caffeine, is the active ingredient in chocolate and it occurs only in cacao. Cacao beans, the main ingredient for chocolate, are rich in antioxidants and other brain-enhancing elements. The chemical compounds in dart chocolate promote positive mood by raising serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain.
Coffee: The main ingredient in coffee that gives us the kick is caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant. Caffeine is found naturally in coffee beans. Caffeine also increases dopamine levels in the same way that amphetamines do. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that activates pleasure centers in certain parts of the brain.
Seeds, nuts and grains: Sunflower seeds, almonds, pistachios, macadamia nuts, peanuts and oats promote brain functioning. They are a great source of magnesium. Magnesium is found to be needed for the proper performance of serotonin.
Berries: Berries possess antioxidant, vitamin and brain benefits but also contain essential fatty acids. Two thirds of our brain is made of fats. Fatty acids are key building blocks to a healthy brain. Certain fatty acids have been shown to actually boost intelligence and an imbalance of fatty acids may be linked to hyperactivity and depression. So fatty acids are an essential part of our diet.
Green tea: EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) is a compound found only in green tea which possesses many health benefits such as anti-cancer and anti-aging. Research by the University of San Francisco and the State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science in China has shown that green tea promotes brain health through protecting brain cells at risk for damage, such as from Parkinson's disease and stroke. You will be happy to note that L-Theanine, an amino acid naturally found in green tea, promotes relaxation.
Vegetables: Green leaves such as broccoli, cabbage and spinach which contain folate act against depression. Anti-depression nutrients that come most into play with vegetables are the B vitamins, particularly B-9, also known as folic acid. There has been evidence connecting a deficiency of folic acid in the diet to depression. Lettuce, for example, is high in potassium, which is important for brain neuron function. Vegetables are simply the best source of most of the vitamins your body needs including a happy brain.
Fish: Fish such as mackerel, tuna, sardines, herring and wild salmon are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Lack of omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to depression by researchers. Fatty acids are necessary for human health but the body cannot make them.
Avoid sugar which uplifts your mood temporarily and makes you worse off when the effect wears out.
Healthy foods mean positive moods and lasting happiness.
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