Foods That Boost Your Moods – Grain & Meat

Someone may not recognize it, their carbohydrate cravings may actually be her body's way of helping her to feel hap pier. In the past two decades, a number of studies have confirmed a link between certain foods and our ability to feel more alert, calm, and even upbeat. "We've found that some foods influence the production of brain chemicals that are directly involved in determining our mood, mental energy, performance and behavior says Judith Wurtman, a nutrition researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Many good-mood foods may already be silting in your kitchen. Here are some of the most important ones.

Whole-Grain Bread.

Most foods contain one or more of 20 different amino acids, molecules found in animal and plant proteins necessary for good health. Like the lobbyists, amino acids compete to deliver messages to the brain. In this case, eating a few slices of plain, whole-grain bread helps the amino acid tryptophan's message be "heard": relax, be happy. Once it enters the brain, tryptophan boosts levels of serotonin, the soothing, mood-elevating brain chemical also stimulated by the anti-depressant Prozac.

The trick is to eat the bread ahead of any protein rich meal or cheese. This allows tryptophan to enter the brain before other amino acids can crowd it out.


This low-fat protein source is rich in an amino acid called tyrosine, which boosts levels of the brain chemicals dopamine, and norepinephrine, and in turn improves motivation and reaction time. U. S. military research has indicated that tyrosine lifts energy levels and helps the body to cope belter with stress.

A turkey sandwich or turkey noodle soup may produce the same results. Effective alternatives to turkey are tuna and chicken.


Complete avoidance of red meat may do more harm than good. People on low cholesterol diets may experience iron deficiencies that make them feel tired and blue. Iron keeps the body's cells fueled with oxygen and, thus, energized.

Illinois State University nutrition professor Jan Shane discovered that those who ate as little as three ounces of beef, a small hamburger, per day absorbed 50 percent more iron than those on a vegetarian diet, suggesting that a little bit of beef may be a good energy source, "Consumers need to change their thinking about beef as something that is terrible for them, "says Shane.  "You need to eat only about three ounces of it each day to significantly improve your iron absorption.  "


Mild dehydration is a common but often overlooked cause of fatigue, says Elizabeth Somer, author of Food Mood. When the body dehydrates, blood flow to the organs decreases and the body slows down. Drinking enough water each day can prevent you from feeling lethargic.

But don't rely on thirst, Somer says. Most adults should drink eight to ten glasses of water per day. Caffeinated soft drinks and coffee, however, are no substitute. They may act as diuretics and increase dehydration.
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