02.15.2013

Smart, Happy Food!

Eating is one of my favorite past times. Unfortunately, that (along with strong genetic factors) is likely what made my cholesterol high. One year ago, when my doctor told me that I needed to start eating better and exercising more consistently, I took it to heart. The thought of being a 23 year old on Lipitor not only humiliated me, but also terrified me to my core. So, I joined a new gym and completely transformed my diet. And guess what? One year later, my cholesterol levels are WAY down and I’m healthier, leaner, and HAPPIER than ever. I want to emphasize that last point for this post-FOOD CAN MAKE YOU HAPPY!

According to researchers at USC, one in four people are prone to a mental illness in their lifetime. This includes Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, and Schizophrenia. The likelihood of these neurodegenerative diseases has been closely associated with dysfunction in the nerves and nerve connections in the brain, as well as low levels of molecules essential in daily brain function. Foods high in dietary polyphenols (those helpful molecules), found in colorful fruits, vegetables, spices, teas, and wines (did someone say wine?), are becoming popular with their powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities in the brain. In addition to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, polyphenols have also been suggested to play a part in the reversal of cognitive and behavioral deficits. In other words, eating this list of foods can actually increase cognitive functioning and PREVENT/TREAT mental disorders! Of course, this is not to suggest that other factors, such as genetics, environment, etc. don’t play a significant role in the development and treatment of these disorders, but this just goes to show that eating is no longer exclusively associated with bodily functions! It is quickly gaining recognition for its impacts on brain function and consequently, cognition, mood, and associated illnesses. As if we needed more reasons to eat healthy and exercise!

FOODS THAT IMPROVE COGNITION AND MOOD

Green and white tea
Grapes
Cocoa
Soy
Oranges
Grapefruit
Lemon
Green Vegetables
Apples
Berries
Onions
Grape skin
Red wine
Tumeric
Almonds
Mustard
Strawberries
Apricots
Cherries
Cinammon
Walnuts
Cranberries
Blackberries
Guava
Grapes
Nettles
Mango
Rhubarb
Kiwis
Plums

Yum!! Now you have an excuse for that extra serving of fruit salad, or, in my case, wine!

-Allison

Source: Gomez Pinilla, F. & Nguyen, T, 2012. Natural mood foods: The actions of polyphenols against psychiatric and cognitive disorders. Nutritional Neuroscience, 15(3).

Comments

  1. Annette Roberts says:

    Great information….we can all profit from this, can’t we !!!!!

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