Happy Food

The best foods to be happy

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Seasonal depression, fatigue, loss of energy, motivation. Feel-good foods help you find a good mood and enthusiasm. Explanations from a dietitian-nutritionist and a psychiatrist.

"To boost morale and fight depression that is characterized by having less desire to do things, it is advisable to pay attention to your diet, because there is a link between what you eat and the functioning of the brain", reports Dr. Florian Ferreri , psychiatrist. It is important to have sufficient levels of serotonin and dopamine in the body.

Some foods contain micronutrients that act on these two neurotransmitters and help keep you smiling, even in gray winter. "By changing your diet, but also your general lifestyle, you can get the first positive effects in 8 to 10 days," says Dr. Ferreri.

Foods rich in omega-3 and 6 to stabilize the mood

Omega-3 fatty acids are not made by the body. Therefore, we must look for them in food. "They are useful for cells to communicate well with each other," says Dr. Florian Ferreri. The recommended daily nutritional intake is estimated at 1.6 g of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and at 500 mg in total of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

Several studies show that people with depression or postpartum depression have lower levels of omega-3s than those who are well. This is due to the fact that essential fatty acids have several actions at the moral level: they are part of the constituents of the cell membranes of neurons and affect their fluidity, interfering with communication between neurons. "Omega-6 fatty acids are also necessary. The total intake of both should be around 10 g for an adult," says the psychiatrist.

What foods are rich in omega-3 and 6?

"To fill up on omega-3s, you can turn to fatty fish and vegetable oils. Omega-3s of animal origin are better absorbed than those of vegetable origin," warns Aurore Lavergnat, dietician-nutritionist.

As for omega-6 fatty acids, they are found in eggs, butter, grapeseed oil.

In what proportions and when to eat it?

"We put blue fish on our menus at least twice a week, preferring the small ones, such as herring, mackerel, less loaded with heavy metals, and we use 1 teaspoon of oil per meal to season our dishes and salads", recommends the dietician.

Magnesium-rich foods for depression

"Magnesium is necessary for the synthesis of serotonin, a brain hormone found in too small amounts in depression", specifies Dr. Florian Ferreri. In fact, the lack of magnesium promotes the feeling of irritation, especially in the dead of winter. The reaction to stress is also less good. This deficiency can cause anxiety and promote anxiety attacks.

The SU.VI.MAX study shows that 77% of women have insufficient magnesium intake. The average intake for women is 280 mg per day and 369 mg for men. However, it is recommended that women consume around 360 mg per day and 420 mg for men. Especially since each individual metabolizes it differently. Indeed, "its absorption varies depending on the greater or lesser intestinal porosity, the degree of acidification of the organism ", reports the dietician.

What foods are rich in magnesium?

The foods richest in magnesium are the following (per 100 g): wheat bran: 611 mg, pumpkin seeds: 550 mg, sardines: 467 mg, cocoa and Brazil nuts: 376 mg, chia seeds: 335 mg, almonds: 270 mg, buckwheat: 230 mg, dark chocolate 70% minimum cocoa: 228 mg, spelled: 136 mg, oleaginous fruits (pine nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts): between 77 and 108 mg, spinach: 54 mg, lentils: 35 mg, banana: 34 mg.

In what proportions and when to eat it?

Unfortunately, "chocolate is no more than 2 squares a day, after lunch, for example" warns the dietitian.

As for the oleaginous fruits, they are consumed once a day. At breakfast between 15 and 20 walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds or 2 large tablespoons if it is an almond or hazelnut puree.

Cereals (spelled, buckwheat) can be taken 1 to 2 times a day, for lunch and / or dinner, at a rate of 40 to 50 g raw or between 100 and 130 g cooked, which represents 3 to 4 soup spoons.

As for vegetables, it is all you can eat. The banana is once a day, preferably as an afternoon snack, because physiologically it is at this time that the sugar best follows the insulin curve and prevents the blood sugar spike.

Foods High in Vitamin B6 to Help Tryptophan Work

It works in association with magnesium. "The combination of magnesium / vitamin B6 allows tryptophan, a essential amino acid, is transformed into serotonin, "says Dr. Ferreri." This amino acid has a calming and sedative effect. "The daily requirement of vitamin B6 is estimated at 1.3 mg in adults.

What foods are rich in vitamin B6?

"The richest foods are meats, fish, whole grains, nuts, oilseeds", reports the dietician. A 100 g turkey cutlet provides 1.3 mg, a 100 g portion of tuna, 1 g of beef or lamb liver, a 100 g portion of salmon: 0.9 g, a medium potato or 100 g of hazelnuts: 0.6 g, a banana or 1/2 cup of pistachios: 0.4 g.

In what proportions and when to eat it?

Proteins like meat and fish should be eaten once or twice a day, depending on the serving size, as do starches, and bananas are among the recommended two to three fruits a day.

"The oilseeds can be taken for breakfast at a rate of 20 g or 10 to 15 hazelnuts, as a snack at a rate of 10 to 15 hazelnuts, pistachios or almonds," suggests the dietician.

Foods rich in vitamin D to improve

Vitamin D is not only good for bone health. "The link between vitamin D deficiency and depression is well documented," says Dr. Florian Ferreri.

What foods are rich in vitamin D?

"Mainly in fatty fish", says the psychiatrist. There are 11 micrograms of vitamin D in a 100 g serving of trout, about 7 micrograms in a 100 g serving of cooked salmon or herring, 3 micrograms in a 250 ml glass of milk (cow).

In what proportions and when to eat it?

"We can eat fatty fish twice a week or even three times, suggests Dr. Ferreri. And the glass of milk can be had before going to bed."

Foods rich in amino acids for morale

"Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is not produced by the body, but is only provided by food. It contributes to the joy of living, helping to manufacture serotonin that has a sedative effect and acts as a natural antidepressant, limits stress, anxiety. Tryptophan is therefore important for emotional balance ", specifies the psychiatrist.

"Another amino acid is also important: tyrosine, which is part of the composition of dopamine," adds Dr. Ferreri. Lack of dopamine can lead to depression.

What foods are rich in amino acids?

"Foods rich in tyrosine are the same as those containing tryptophan such as eggs, meat, fish, but also nuts, cashews, almonds, avocado", warns Dr. Ferreri.

In what proportions and when to eat it?

"Meat, fish, eggs are eaten once or twice a day for lunch and / or dinner, suggests the dietitian. Avocado can be taken once a day to replace a serving of lipids or instead of oilseeds As for the latter, they are between 15 and 20 walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds for breakfast or 10 to 15 for afternoon tea. "

Foods rich in vitamin C for energy

"Vitamin C is important to provide energy to the body," says the psychiatrist. It also helps fight oxidative stress that damages the brain.

What foods are rich in vitamin C?

In citrus, of course, they provide between 40 mg per 100 g. You also have to think about kiwi: 92 mg / 100 g, Brussels sprouts: 103 mg / 100 g, parsley: 177 mg / 100 g.

In what proportions and when to eat it?

"As vitamin C is stimulating, we consume foods rich in it rather in the morning or at noon, knowing that its effectiveness is immediate", advises the psychiatrist.

Foods to avoid

If some foods make you smile, others, on the contrary, can make you lose control. "We avoid drinking more than 3 cups of coffee or tea a day," advises Dr. Florian Ferreri. "Caffeine, a psychostimulant, can cause some irritability, bad in the long term. Also beware of psychostimulant drinks that should be drunk only occasionally, such as alcohol. They cause chronic stimulation that keeps the brain awake when it also needs to relax. "

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