To understand how foods can make you happy, it’s important to understand how the brain regulates mood. The brain uses neurotransmitters as communication signals to communicate with the rest of your body and to issue its commands: “Beat, heart!” the brain says when it sends octopamine to receptors located in the nerve fibres that make up the cardiac muscle tissue. The same goes for keeping our moods stable. Two types of neurotransmitters are responsible for our moods: inhibitory and excitatory. Excitatory neurotransmitters, like norepinephrine, stimulate our bodies and minds. We get worn out after being amped up for too long, though. So this type of neurotransmitter can actually lead to unhappiness. Inhibitory neurotransmitters, like serotonin, exert a calming influence on our minds, in part by counteracting the effects of excitatory neurotransmitters. Ultimately, the best moods are found when there is a balance between these two types. Here are super foods that can keep you happy through and through!
Peas, beans, and peanuts are stand-up sources of magnesium, a mineral that plays a core role in your body’s energy production. (It’s involved in more than 300 biochemical reactions in your system.) “When you exercise, magnesium is redistributed throughout the body to help energy molecules get to where they’re needed,” explains Forrest H. Nielsen, a research nutritionist in the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. A deficiency may cause you to fizzle out more easily. Workout queens need to be extra vigilant (you lose some magnesium through sweat). Legumes will help you fulfil the RDA of 320 milligrams: One cup of white beans has 134 milligrams; even a cup of frozen peas delivers 35 milligrams.
Here, it’s all about the antioxidant lycopene. “Our research showed that lycopene reduced inflammation in the lungs and the number of cells that secrete mucus—both are responses to allergens,” says co-author Lisa Wood, a nutritional biochemist and senior lecturer at the University of Newcastle in Australia. Although it was an animal study and more research is needed, eating concentrated sources of lycopene (cooked tomatoes are a better source than raw ones) may help allergy sufferers breathe easier.
You might keep memory-loss at bay with scrambled eggs. The yolks are high in choline, a key nutrient required to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (it helps with signalling between memory-supporting neurons). The daily recommendation is 425 milligrams; two eggs have about 300 milligrams.
Ever grab a snack but then feel hungry again 20 minutes later? Next time, reach for a banana. This Super fruit is loaded with potassium, which can lower your blood pressure, and is one of the best sources of Resistant Starch, a healthy carb that fills you up and helps to boost your metabolism.
America’s favourite fruit contains the mighty flavonoid quercetin, an antioxidant that may act as a natural antihistamine and block substances that cause allergy symptoms, according to an article in the Journal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents. Be sure to eat the skin, too, so you’re not peeling away the majority of the quercetin.
Don’t skip that garnish: Fresh or dried parsley is an amazing source of vitamin K, which is needed for healthy blood clotting, reducing inflammation, and keeping up your bone strength to help prevent osteoporosis.
By: Umaru Maryam Hadejia