Food and mood are only one letter apart, although so is rapist and artist if you do some rearranging so take that with a grain of salt. Semantics aside, there some nutrients that have been linked to improved mood and cognitive ability, also, deficiency in some nutrients has been found to decrease overall mood.
So here`s the thing, I figured the best way to rate each foods mood enhancing abilities was not through graphs and diagrams but rather the late, great Alfonso Rebeiro (Carlton Banks of Fresh Prince of Bel Air). Carlton is the epitome of straight up cheer and glee. Be honest, the second you saw that name you immediately wanted to do that wonderful limp armed, finger snappin Carlton Dance. A Rating of 5 Carlton`s means the food is essentially Zoloft dissolved in raspberry vodka and 1 Carlton means that it leaves you feeling emptier than a hipsters wallet at a 2 for 1 fedora sale.
While further studies are required for the exact mechanism of these foods, the evidence is promising. It goes without saying it should never be used to replace medicine but making note to include it in your diet is certainly worth doing.
1) Saturated Fats:
So here`s the thing, if Carlton consumed too much of these saturated fats normally found in all your favorite fast food meals and bacon wrapped bacon, the best dance we`d get out of him is a few head nods followed by an exhausted “woo”. You know what else, he`d be the most depressed rich kid living in Bel-Air (although, that`s like the poor kids version of utter happiness). You see, despite finally having an awesome stage name for his rap career ,”2 CHINZ”, he would have to blow all his rap money on therapy for his sad ass. It`s pretty well established a diet high in saturated fats will increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes and therefore a hell of a lot to worry about but its also been directly correlated to depression as well. A study done by Dr. Sharma and Dr. Fulton, which was published in the International Journal of Obesity (http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ijo201248a.html) has shown that a high fat diet, specifically a tasty high fat diet is linked to depression in an animal model. Rats fed a high fat diet for only 3 months had increased anxiety, and decreased mobility in the forced swim test which is a sign of hopelessness. They put these guys in a situation where they had to swim for their life and they said to hell with it like they were molested by their rat step fathers. Furthermore, it was found that a high fat diet basically rewired the reward part of their brain, increasing their depressive behaviors. It is clear that these fats are worthy of only a single Carlton. Lame.
Here`s a comforting thought, you no longer have to worry about what natural catastrophes may befall us in the future because statistics suggest that many of you will be too depressed to care anyway. Think about how common heart disease is, well the World Health Organization says that major depression will be on par with that by the year 2020. Why is that? Do they know something we don`t? Are all of Seth Macfarlanes cartoons getting cancelled in 2020!? Hell if I know but both of those problems have a pretty strong correlation to magnesium deficiency (not the cancellation of Seth`s cartoons, the heart one). It appears we`re pretty hurting for some magnesium in our diet. The RDA is between 320 mg and 420 mg daily and most are lucky to get 250 mg. So what gives? Well it gets filtered from our tap water for the most part, the soils our food is being grown in is getting depleted of it, and if you don`t bother to substitute your refined flours for some whole grain every now and then your`e only getting 16% of what you should get. Some, like George Eby who published a number of case studies on magnesium supplements, (http://george-eby-research.com/html/magnesium-for-depression.pdf) even go as far as to suggest magnesium as a preferential treatment for depression, due to its wide role in brain biochemistry and its safety. Eby documented One 59 year old man who had struggled with severe depression and messed up sleep patterns for years. He had his sleeping pattern semi restored after one day of supplementation with magnesium and with the help of a pro-biotic to increase magnesium absorption he was able to control his depression. A 23 year old woman who suffered brain trauma resulting in a lowered IQ and depression had both her IQ and normal mood restored with short term magnesium supplementation. It would appear magnesium is the Jesus of minerals (magjesium?). O and magnesium levels happen to be lowered by chronic stress which is linked to lowered IQ. Here’s the IQ levels of kids raised in a home vs. raised in an orphanage (aka Stressful as hell) and how it affects their magnesium levels and IQ.
So with all that being said magnesium gets a fresh five Carltons!
3) Omega 3 Fatty Acids:
Omega 3, it even sounds like one of the X-Men. You better believe this ones going to get quite the Carlton count. Omega 3 has already been linked to decreased depression in both the elderly and teens (Astorg, P. et al. (2008) Association of fish and long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intakes with the occurrence of depressive episodes in middle-aged French men and women. Prostaglandins Leukot. Essent. Fatty Acids 78, 171–182.) So how exactly does this work and to what extent? tune in next week to find out…something completely different, for now…lets focus on omega 3. You see, a Mr. Dr. Moranis decided to see exactly what the hell was going on here, so he published a paper in Brain, Behaviour and Immunity which looked at long term omega 3 adequate and inadequate diet (Moranis, A. et al. (2011) Long term adequate n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid diet protects fromdepressive-like behavior but not from working memory disruption and brain cytokine expression in aged mice. Brain, Behaviour, and Immunity.26. 721-731). He found that animals on an inadequate diet just sucked at the forced swim test like our saturated fat rats up there in entry 1 and also showed significantly more anxious behavior and a big decrease in spatial memory (that`s how they measure intelligence in mice). Even more disturbingly, these little guys had a decline in enzymes responsible for lowering inflammation. The animals who were lucky enough to be on the adequate omega 3 diet had more less inflammation, found a reason to actually live when forced to swim, were less anxious, and had better memory. Still not reason enough to get more omega-3`s in that diet?
And with that Omega 3`s earn themselves 4 points of the big C(arlton…not ock)
Tryptophan is an amino acid which is needed to make the chemical responsible for balancing out your mood (serotonin). On top of that its needed for the synthesis of the B vitamin, Niacin. Tryptophan depletion has been associated with an increase in aggressive or depressive like symptoms while supplementation of tryptophan has been found to increase how agreeable and overall pleasant a person is, in a social situation (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23440461). A diet with good levels of tryptophan has been found to normalize serotonin levels better than certain drugs because the drugs are incapable of regulating just how much serotonin is in the nervous system and may interact with other drugs for depression, resulting in some nasty side effects (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0197018612004123). This further promotes a the concept of a tryptophan rich diet. Turkey and chicken tend to be the best sources of tryptophan. So remember, dont trip! Get tryptophan ;)! Tryptophan is certainly a key player here but there are other forces at work that can influence depression, so we`ll clock it in at 3 Carlton`s , not bad.
This is a rock, it gets no Carlton`s…
Well that does it for now folks, this post was brought to you by the 90`s, Alfonso Rebeiro and food.
Hope you learned a thing or two but preferably 5.