10 Nutrients That Make You Happy

imagesEver heard the phrase “You are what you eat”?

In an article written by Maya Dangerfield written for Greatist, she outlines how foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids are not only super healthy, but can also increase happiness, lessen symptoms of depression, and quell anxiety.

So can eating certain food really improve our mood? Research seems to point to “yes” and that it all comes down to the brain. A healthy cognitive system is essential to regulating mood, and certain nutrients have a profound impact on maintaining normal brain function.

So what are these 10 nutrients that have been proven to combat depression and boost your mood? We outline them below.

1. Calcium: the most abundant mineral in your body. Low levels of calcium may play a role in PMS-related depression in particular.

Foods that have large sources of calcium: kale, yogurt, milk, collard greens

2. Chromium: helps the body metabolize food and plays and important role in increasing the brains’ level of serotonin, norepinephrine, and melatonin, which help the brain regulate emotion and mood.

Foods that have large sources of chromium: broccoli, potatoes, grape juice

3. Folate: helps the body create new cells and supports serotonin regulation. Serotonin helps the brain manage a variety of functions, from determining mood to regulating social behavior.

Foods that have large sources of folate: spinach, black eyed peas, asparagus, brussels sprouts, avocado

4. Iron: transports oxygen to supporting energy levels and aids muscle strength. Low levels of iron can lead to feelings of fatigue and depression.

Foods that have large sources of iron: soybeans, lean red meat, lentils, oatmeal

5. Magnesium: deficiency can cause irritability, fatigue, mental confusion and predisposition to stress.

Foods that have large sources of magnesium: almonds, spinach, cashews, peanuts, edamame

6. Omega-3s: deficiency symptoms include fatigue, mood swings, memory decline and depression.

Foods that have large sources of omega 3s: fish (trout, herring, salmon), chinese broccoli, spinach, chia seeds

7. Vitamin B6: essential for regulating brain function, which influences our emotions.

Foods that have large sources of vitamin B6: chickpeas, chicken breast, yellow fin tuna, salmon

8. Vitamin B12: low levels can cause short-term fatigue, slowed reasoning, and paranoia

Foods that have large sources of vitamin B12: rainbow trout, swiss cheese, mozzarella cheese, tuna

9. Vitamin D: helps regulate cell growth, protects bones. Low levels are associated with depressive symptoms.

Foods that have large sources of vitamin D: egg, salmon, swordfish, milk

10. Zinc: plays an important role in decreasing depressive symptoms.

Foods that have large sources of zinc: roasted pumpkin seeds, cashews, king alaska crab, pork loin

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