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Foods that Make Us Happy

Smilephoto © 2010 stefg74 | more info (via: Wylio)Some of you may be saying… “well, ice cream makes me happy!” And we won’t deny the momentary happiness that comes from treating yourself. However, there have been recent studies about the correlation between the types of food we eat and our moods. So the next time you are ready to pick up your choice comfort food, check these out instead:

Fruits & Vegetables (and other whole foods)

I know, I know. Healthy just has to be the thing that makes you happy. But, guess what, it is! You can’t fight science!  In a recent study of close to 3,500 men and women published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, those who reported eating a diet rich in whole foods in the previous year were less likely to report feeling depressed than those who ate lots of desserts, fried foods, processed meats, refined grains and high-fat dairy products.

To top that off, previous studies strongly support that fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants and  the  omega-3 fatty acids in fish are associated with lower risk of depression. Further, folate which is found in dark green vegetables like spinach, beans and citrus, affects neurotransmitters that impact mood. Perhaps the cumulative effect of all this goodness produces that happy feeling.

Carbs

Calm down, we aren’t saying eat the whole bread basket. However, starchy carbs do have a role in our moods. A new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that over the course of one year, people who followed a very-low-carbohydrate diet which allowed only 20 to 40 grams of carbs daily, about the amount in just 1⁄2 cup of rice plus one piece of bread—experienced more depression, anxiety and anger than those assigned to a low-fat, high-carb diet that focused on low-fat dairy, whole grains, fruit and beans. Researchers suspect that carbs promote the production of serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical. Further, the difficulty in restricting yourself to such a low carb diet might just make anyone a wee bit peevish. Just sayin’.

Chocolate

MMMhmmm, that is correct! Eating dark chocolate (1.4 ounces of it, to be exact) every day for two weeks reduced stress hormones, including cortisol, in people who were highly stressed, a study done at the Nestlé Research Center in Switzerland recently found. Experts believe it could be thanks to the antioxidants in chocolate. (One may want to think about the company that produced this study, however). You will want to be sure to account for the 235 calories that 1.4 ounces of chocolate delivers—or you mood may plummet as the pounds creep on.

Sources: http://www.caloriecount.about.com

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