4 Foods that Beat the Blues and Take Off the Pounds
It may seem strange that certain foods can help lift your mood and thereby lower your weight, but that’s the way our systems work. As you probably know, I recommend the Pan Asian and Mediterranean (PAM) diet for everyone.
But if you suffer from mild depression, here are four foods I recommend adding to your diet:
1. Eat more eggs. Eggs contain all the basic amino acids necessary to produce essential neurotransmitters, including serotonin. They are also rich in sulfur and magnesium, both good for your heart. Eat as many as six per week, and don’t worry about the notion that eggs contribute to the formation of LDL cholesterol. That’s an unfounded myth.
2. Include 4–5 oz. protein with every meal to stimulate steady production of tryptophan, a building block of serotonin. My top recommendations, in addition to fish, are organic, range-fed meats and poultry, as well as tofu, tempeh, soy milk, and eggs.
3. Get sufficient amounts of essential fatty acids (EFAs). These healthy fats are particularly important for proper brain function. Prime sources are fish and flax. Eat two to three fish meals per week, use 1 tablespoon flax oil, or take in a tablespoon or two of ground flaxseed on a regular basis.
4. Eat a potato. Kathleen DesMaisons, Ph.D., author of Potatoes Not Prozac, has found that eating half a baked potato (with skin) before bed puts your biochemistry in motion to increase serotonin levels naturally. Potatoes, which have a moderately high glycemic index, create a precisely timed “hit” of insulin to escort serotonin- and sleep-inducing tryptophan into the brain. But because potatoes are so satisfying compared with other high-carbohydrate foods, they are not likely to trigger carbohydrate cravings. Research has shown that severe carbohydrate cravings can be a result of serotonin deficiency, often exacerbated by trendy low-carb diets.
Now it’s your turn: Have you found that any of these foods boost your mood?
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Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist and nutritionist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, research, and study. His integrative approach to heart health focuses on reducing inflammation in the body and maximizing the heart's ability to produce and use energy. More About Dr. Sinatra
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