Brain Foods

Brain Foods

Posted by Safe In4 Hub

What you eat affects your mood


1/13/2005
By: Casey Taylor, News 14 Carolina


The relationship between food and mood is a two-way street, according to Wendy Kohatsu, an assistant professor of family medicine at Oregon Health & Science University.

She says what people you affects your mood, and your mood affects what you eat.

In fact, Kohatsu says she has been able to reduce her own premenstrual syndrome symptoms by 50 percent by adjusting her diet to include more omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and fiber ?which are all known to help PMS symptoms.

Nuts are great sources of fiber and magnesium, Kohatsu said. Magnesium eases cramps associated with PMS, and the fiber actually helps to bind the excess estrogen.

Other good foods for PMS symptoms are flaxseeds, sunflower seeds and hazelnuts, she said.

These same types of foods also help both anxiety and depression. Depressed people have low energy, while those with anxiety have too much energy, but their mind is not in balance. Vitamin B and omega-3 fats can help people mentally, and they allow the nervous system to do its best job.

A "power lunch," heavy in protein, iron, and water, can help combat fatigue, she said. Amino acids in these seem to increase the neurotransmitters in your brain that increase alertness and mental function. Whole grains and tofu are good sources of protein and iron.

Many people believe a glass of milk before bed will put you to sleep because it contains tryptophan. However, this is not the case. Tryptophan competes with amino acids for entry into the brain. Because tryptophan is the least abundant amino acid in proteins, competition from other large amino acids will prevent it from rising after consuming a high-protein meal.

Kohatsu also recommended cutting back on caffeine to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

If you eat a healthy diet and are very conscious about food choices, you can get all the vitamins and minerals you need from a healthy diet, Kohatsu said. However, food nowadays is not grown "in the same quality soil" that it once was. So, many people with medical conditions may actually need to take supplements, she said.

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