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Link Between Food and Mood

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Friday, 12 Sep 2014 03:11 PM Current | Bio | Archive

I was recently on my way to a meeting when I realized that I was famished. I’d missed lunch, so I quickly stopped by the cafeteria for a bite on the go. I was tempted to get the barbecue ribs, but I knew they would be greasy and full of unhealthy fats, so I made a healthier choice: a turkey sandwich on rye.
 
That quick meal satisfied my hunger and lifted my mood — and I was glad I didn’t order the ribs.
 
Believe it or not, daily food choices not only influence your ability to think and remember, they also affect your mood. You can even experience immediate changes in mental state, as I did the other day when I grabbed that turkey sandwich.
 
A brain-healthy diet includes fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are known to bolster cognitive health. Numerous studies indicate that omega-3s also help to stabilize mood in people with mild to moderate depression.
 
The American Psychiatric Association recommends that depressed patients consume adequate amounts of omega-3 fats in their diets.
 
In countries where people eat fish more frequently, rates of depression are significantly lower than in countries where less fish is eaten. For example, depression is less common in many Asian countries than in the U.S. and Canada, where people eat less fish.
 
However, all fish are not created equal. Salmon has 10 times the amount of omega-3 as tilapia, and wild salmon has more omega-3 than farmed salmon.
 
If you don’t like fish, you can get your omega-3 fats from other sources, such as:
 
• Kidney beans
 
•Pinto beans
 
•Flaxseed
 
• Pecans
 
• Pine nuts
 
• Walnuts
 
• Canola, cod liver or soybean oil
 
But be careful not to eat too much fish — only about two to three servings a week — because of concerns about excess mercury consumption. Larger predator fish such as shark and swordfish tend to have higher mercury concentrations than smaller fish, such as catfish and trout.
 
I also recommend limiting consumption of processed foods and corn or vegetable oils, which are rich in omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 fats counteract the brain health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.
 

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I was recently on my way to a meeting when I realized that I was famished. I’d missed lunch, so I quickly stopped by the cafeteria for a bite on the go. I was tempted to get the barbecue ribs, but I knew they would be greasy and full of unhealthy fats.
depression, diet, mood, omega-3
359
2014-11-12
Friday, 12 Sep 2014 03:11 PM
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