Eat Your Way to a Better Mood with Foods Resembling Prescription Drugs
Feeling moody? You may find a little relief from eating raspberries, blueberries, chocolate, or tea. Certain flavors in these foods may possess mood-improving effects, according to new research presented at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
Previous studies indicated that berries, chocolate, and foods with omega-3 fatty acids could boost moods, and recent research took these findings a step further by revealing that some of the flavor components in these foods are structurally similar to valporic acid, a popular mood-stabilizing drug prescribed for people with manic-depressive disorder.
The study, conducted at the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, involved screening the chemical structures of more than 1,700 food flavor ingredients for similarities to antidepressants. "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," said Karina Martinez-Mayorga, Ph.D, the study's lead researcher, in a press release. Her team's ongoing research will try to identify other chemicals that change and improve moods and cognitive health.
While Martinez-Mayora says the end result of her work could be additional dietary recommendations based on this type of research, she also cautions people against self-medicating with food. "It is important to remember that just eating foods that may improve mood is not a substitute for prescribed anti-depressive drugs," she says.
Related: 6 Calming Foods to Zap Stress
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