Winter is a tough time. We aren’t as active, it’s freezing, many of us tend to gain weight over winter months and it’s just kind of depressing. Research exists that links winter and lack of sunshine to Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. Many of us feel sad in the winter. Although lack of sunshine definitely plays a role, more emerging research suggests that what we eat can also play a role in our mood.
This is not new information. For a few years now we have been looking at studies that seem to show an increase in fruits and vegetables helps boost a person’s mood and even lessen their risk of developing depression. The scientists at the forefront of these studies believed that those on plant-based diets had better moods, mostly due to the intake of a class of phytonutrients in plants that can cross the blood-brain barrier to support a healthy mood. The review of this study, published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience, suggests that increasing dietary intake of fruits and vegetables “may present a noninvasive natural and inexpensive therapeutic means to support a healthy brain.”
An enzyme called monoamine oxidase appears to be elevated in those who are depressed. Some drugs that are used to fight depression are are monoamine oxidase inhibitors. What’s interesting about certain fruits and vegetable is that they appear to inhibit this enzyme—monoamine oxidase—so that it doesn’t do the damage to the brain.
Some of the veggies and fruits that contain these vital phytonutrients are kale, apples, berries, grapes and onions. Green tea contains them as well.
These statements and studies have not been evaluated by the FDA. But it definitely couldn’t hurt to eat more fruits and veggies, and it just may even help brighten your outlook. Seems like it’s worth a try, right?
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