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SUMMER SUPERFOODS - 7 NATURAL INGREDIENTS TO BOOST YOUR MOODFood is all to often a drug of choice to remedy depression. It is comforting, satisfying, and there is something mood-altering about dipping a spoon into an unopened gallon of smooth, sickly sweet cookie dough ice cream. With the first few bites, all of your cares and worries melt away just as literally as the [now half gallon] box of Haagen-Dazs, but what we are ultimately left with is an uncomfortably full stomach and a healthy dose of regret to add to the still lingering depression.

But why always the association of food and depression? Food gives us life, it provides sustenance, and has the unrivaled ability to bring people together... So why not embrace the positives that food brings to our lives and use to enhance our moods rather than keep us on a roller coaster of emotion?

Funny enough, food can actually be more capable of improving our moods than prescription drugs. So the next time you are feeling down, work stress becomes overwhelming, or if you have found simply found yourself in a mental rut, try some of these proven natural mood-enhancing ingredients.

Professional Voice Blog - 7 Foods To Improve Your Mood

For you performers and professional vocalists (that means you lawyers, broadcasters, teachers, politicians, speakers, and doctors with a full day of talking), these foods will not only help your mood, but are voice-friendly and an important part of a busy professional's diet.

1. Carbs

Have you ever been around someone on who just started a carb-restricted diet? If you have, you know what we are getting at. Our bodies need carbohydrates for adequate production of serotonin - feel-good chemical in the brain. Carbohydrates are also a vital source of energy, and a lack of carbs can cause a decrease in blood sugar levels, which can cause you to become irritable. Luckily, for those who are eliminating carbs to lose weight or maintain a lean physique, the carbohydrates that are best for the brain and our mood are also the best for our bodies. Slow-burning carbs like whole grains and vegetables are high in fiber, which gives the body a long-lasting energy source and helps to you feel full and maintains blood sugar levels throughout the day.

[caption id="attachment_81620" align="aligncenter" width="470"]Professional Voice Blog - Why Carbs Can Improve Your Mood The Archives of Internal Medicine found that after a year on a carb-restricted diet (20 to 40 grams of carbs per day), led to increased levels of depression, anxiety and anger compared to subjects on a low-fat, high-carb diet that included low-fat dairy, whole grains, fruit and beans.[/caption]

The key behind the science of carbs and their improvement on our mood is the nonessential amino acid - tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin. Carbs are essential for moving tryptophan to the brain, which naturally increases seratonin levels and helps to regulate and improve our mood.The Program in Women's Health at the MIT Clinical Research Center found that when you stop eating carbohydrates, the brain stops regulating serotonin, a chemical that elevates mood and suppresses appetite, and only carbohydrate consumption naturally stimulates production of serotonin.Further research from Arizona State University concluded that a very low carbohydrate (ketogenic) diet actually enhanced fatigue and reduced the desire to exercise in overweight adults after just two weeks.

[caption id="attachment_81621" align="aligncenter" width="470"]Professional Voice Blog - Fatty Fish to Boost Your Mood Research has linked depression with low levels of the brain chemicals called eicosapentaenoic (i-koe-suh-pen-tuh-e-NO-ik) acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (doe-koe-suh-hek-suh-e-NO-ik) acid (DHA). DHA and EPA can both be found in fish oil.

3. Saffron

Clinical studies are still being conducted to prove the prove the efficacy of saffron to fight depression, but plenty of research has discovered significant results that suggest saffron may be just as effective as prescription antidepressants.A review of double-blind clinical trials conducted until 2014, investigated the antidepressant qualities of saffron as compared to Rx medications fluoxetine (Prozac) and imipramine (Tofranil). The studies, which focused on 230 clinically depressed subjects, found that saffron was even more effective than the prescription meds.


Professional Voice Blog - Saffron For Depression

Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the "saffron crocus". Saffron is the world's most expensive spice, costing as much as $1,162.24 per pound, or $72.95 per ounce in the United States.

In one double-blind trial, researchers divided 30 depressed patients into two groups. One group received 30 milligram capsules of saffron 3 times daily, while the other received 100 milligrams of Tofranil 3 times daily.

After six weeks, the saffron dose was declared to be equally as beneficial as Tofranil in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Additionally, the Tofranil group reported suffering from dry mouth and unwanted sedation.

Professional Voice Blog - Saffron

The same researches yielded similar findings when comparing saffron to Prozac in the treatment of mild to moderate depression.

All subjects complied with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, criteria for major depression. There are side-effects for taking saffron, particularly if you are pregnant - always consult a physician before introducing making any dietary changes.

4. Yogurt

Vitamin D is key in regulating your mood, and a vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression - especially in northern latitudes that experience a lack of sunlight. Luckily, there are more sources of vitamin D than natural sunlight - like yogurt.

[caption id="attachment_81625" align="aligncenter" width="470"]Professional Voice Blog - Yogurt & Vitamin D A vitamin D deficiency can lead to serious physical and mental health conditions such as depression, osteoporosis, SAD (seasonal affective disorder), heart disease and even cancer.[/caption]

5. Cherry Tomatoes

These adorable little tomatoes are full of cherry tomatoes add more than pops of color and flavor to an everyday meal. In fact, the same compound that makes tomatoes red - lycopene- helps improve your mood by preventing the formation of the pro-inflammatory compounds associated with depression like interleukin-6. Organic tomatoes have three times as much of this molecule as conventionally produced ones.
Professional Voice Blog - Cherry Tomatoes

Tomatoes are also a rich source of essential mood-regulating compaounds iron, tryptophan, and vitamin B6, all of which are needed by your brain to produce mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.

6. Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is packed with magnesium, which improves your mood by helping to regulating blood sugar. A dietary lack of magnesium, especially when combined with stress, can result in depression, anxiety, irritability, and insomnia.

[caption id="attachment_81629" align="aligncenter" width="470"]Professional Voice Blog - Swiss Chard The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of magnesium for young adults is around 400 mg/day for men and 310 mg/day for women. For adults over 30, the RDA is 420 mg/day for men and 320 mg/day for women.[/caption]

Magnesium is essential for the the release of seratonin in our brain, which we have learned by now is the mood-enhancing chemical that effects our mood. A deficiency in magnesium can suppress the ability of the hippocampus to stimulate the release of stress hormones, can reduce the release of ACTH (the hormone that tells your adrenal glands to pump out cortisol and adrenaline neurotransmitter) by brain cells, and ultimately lead to depression and anxiety.

For more superfood tips, subscribe to the Professional Voice Blog and get weekly emails that will help keep your professional body and voice in top shape!

For ENT health-related questions or concerns, contact your local ENT specialist. If you live in Colorado, contact the Colorado Voice Clinic.

Akhondzadeh S, Fallah-Pour H, Afkham K, et al. Comparison of Crocus sativus L. and imipramine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression: a pilot, double-blind randomized trial. BCM Comp Altern Med. 2004;4:12.

Sat, Jun 13, 2015 @ 5:53 AM MDT Posted by
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