TECH 5 for April 3, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to another Tech 5 program and a five minute trip into the amazing world of technology. This is Ben Harrison.

We have been talking a little bit about the foods we eat and their health benefits. Governments, industry, medical and health research labs and agricultural institutions have been sponsoring significant research projects to determine what foods are good for our health and what foods are bad for our health and longevity.

Recent studies have been investigating any correlation to the foods we eat and whether they may contribute to our personal mood swings. Are there foods that naturally boost our mood and make us feel happier?

If we’re stressed and not getting enough sleep, we can feel down, but there appears to be another big contributor to our mood: what we eat.

The Standard Western diet with its refined sugar and trans fats, is throwing our bodies off balance, and if you feel like you’re really feeling down, it may well relate back to the food that you’re eating. “The smallest choices each day can make a real difference in improving mental and emotional well-being, stabilizing your moods, and improving your focus,” says Dr. Drew Ramsey, author of The Happiness Diet.

Here are 11 foods that help you do just that.

Swiss Chard is high in folate, also known as folic acid. Swiss chard and other leafy greens are good for your mood. In fact, a study by the University of York and Hull York Medical School found a link between low folate levels and depression.

Yesterday we talked about Dark Chocolate: If you need another reason to indulge in dark chocolate, it’s this one: dark chocolate can make you happier. A study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that consuming chocolate high in cocoa flavanols increased levels of calmness and contentedness.

Eggs, with their essential fatty acids, help your body to naturally produce serotonin. Low serotonin levels are linked to depression, anxiety, insomnia and fatigue.

Almonds pack a lot of nutrients, including folate and magnesium. Magnesium is essential to brain health, and studies have linked it to a reduction in depression, but is often deficient in modern diets. So eat more of those almonds!

Lentils are also a good source of folic acid which is essential for your mood, and a cup of cooked lentils provides 90 percent of the recommended daily allowance of folic acid. Lentils also have the amino acid L-tyrosine, which your brain uses to make the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine, therefore helping your brain to combat depression.

A zinc deficiency can trigger depressive moods, but fortunately pumpkin seeds are packed with the essential mineral. Pumpkin seeds also contain L-tryptophan, a natural mood booster.

You may think oatmeal is one of the most boring foods on the planet, Think again! it’s good for your mental state. That’s thanks to a lot of things, including high levels of magnesium, which help your brain fight depression and anxiety. Since it’s also a great source of soluble fiber, it helps stabilize blood sugar levels, which helps you avoid mood swings.

The nutrients in honey produce a calming effect, helpful if you’re feeling anxious, which is why many mix it into a cup of tea in the evening. A natural sweetener, it’s also a good natural energy booster, so if you feel like you’re dragging, pop a spoonful in your mouth. It is Nature’s energy gel.

Flaxseed Oil: Our standard western diet has left us short of omega-3 and that can be bad for your mental state: omega-3 has been shown to be an effective supplement for fighting depression. Flaxseed oil is an easy way to get a large dose of omega-3 essential fatty acids, helping to improve your mood.

A glass of water may be the simplest thing you can consume, but it’s essential. Mild dehydration has been shown to dampen moods, which means if you want to feel mentally stronger, make sure you’re getting enough water throughout the day.

Finally, include some asparagus in your diet. Asparagus is also very high in folic acid, which as we have already said, Folic acid deficiency is common in people with depression.

Eat well; Be Happy.