Tags: mood | food | stabilizer | drug

Some Foods Found to Stabilize Moods

Tuesday, 21 August 2012 01:54 PM

In a finding that gives new meaning to the phrase “comfort foods,” researchers have found some food flavors have the power to boost and stabilize moods nearly as effectively as a prescription medicine.
Chemists at the University of Mexico have determined the mood-enhancing effects of some foods stem at least in part from natural ingredients that bear a striking chemical similarity to valproic acid, a widely used prescription mood-stabilizing drug.
The finding, presented at a national meeting of the American Chemical Society this week, is based on an analysis of more than 1,700 substances that make up the flavors of common foods and may explain why chocolate, teas, berries and some other known comfort foods can have a beneficial effect on mood.
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“Molecules in chocolate, a variety of berries and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids have shown positive effects on mood. In turn, our studies show that some commonly used flavor components are structurally similar to valproic acid,” said lead researcher Karina Martinez-Mayorga, with the Chemistry Institute at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
"The large body of evidence that chemicals in chocolate, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, teas and certain foods could well be mood-enhancers encourages the search for other mood modulators in food."
Sold under brand names that include Depakene, Depakote and Stavzor, valproic acid is used to stabilize the mood swings of people with bidisorder and related conditions.
Martinez-Mayorga noted the hunt for mood modulators is fostering research not just in the drug industry, but in the food and beverage industries as well. Her team is seeking to identify chemical compounds that moderate mood swings, help maintain cognitive health, improve mental alertness and delay the onset of memory loss.
"It is important to remember that just eating foods that may improve mood is not a substitute for prescribed antidepressive drugs," Martinez-Mayorga cautioned. But for people not requiring medication, eating specific foods and living a healthful lifestyle can generally boost mood.
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Some food flavors may boost and stabilize moods nearly as well as a prescription medicine.
Tuesday, 21 August 2012 01:54 PM
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