I am sure you have heard the saying, “You Are What You Eat”. This statement is in fact very true. What we nourish ourselves with on the inside, most definitely reflects on the outside. I am not just talking about your body figure, but in your attitude and moods as well. Rather than a general eat healthy talk, I have compiled a list of the 10 most important nutrients scientifically proven to make you the best you can be.
Calcium is normally found in dairy, but for all of you that do not consume dairy it is abundant in collard greens and kale as well. Calcium is a great way to help with mood swings especially when it comes to PMS in women.
Iron is very important to our diet and many of us are born anemic (with a lack of iron). It is important to get this nutrient in any way possible to keep yourself healthy. Fatigue is one of the worst side effects of iron deficiency which is never exciting. Oatmeal, lentils, and beef are all great sources of iron. Wow, you can even incorporate iron into each meal of the day with that short list!
Folate not only helps treat depression when paired with the nutrient B-12 but is also recognized for enhancing the efficiency of anti-depressants. Foods groups famous for folate include spinach, Brussels sprouts, black eyed peas, asparagus, and avocado.
Chromium plays a large role in brain function when it comes to seratonin, melatonin, and norepinephrine which all affect your emotions and mood. Some great sources of chromium include broccoli, turkey breast, and grape juice.
Zinc plays a huge role in keeping our internal organs healthy, immune system strong, preventing hair loss, and keeping our emotions balanced. Zinc can be found in pumpkin seeds, cashews, crab, and pork. Make sure to get a good amount of zinc into your diet, especially if you are vegetarian because your plant based diet may lack this nutrient. Often times vegetarians may need up to 50 percent more zinc than non-vegetarians.
The sun’s rays are a natural forms of Vitamin D, which associates happiness with sun and gloomy times when it is dreary in the midst of a cold winter. This lack of natural Vitamin D can be alleviated by consuming this nutrient in the food and drinks you eat. Milk is the most obvious source of Vitamin D but we can also get it from eggs, mushrooms, salmon, and swordfish.
Vitamin B6 assists the neurotransmitters in the brain. With a lack of this vitamin you may suffer from anemia, a weakened immune system, confusion, and low spirits. The best ways to keep these levels balanced is to incorporate foods such as chickpeas, chicken breast, and salmon into your diet.
Vitamin B12 helps to create the red blood cells in our bodies. If we are suffering from a deficiency of B12 we face chances of paranoia, slowed reasoning, and tiredness. Vitamin B12 is most commonly found in eggs, meat, and animal byproducts. For those of you that are vegan, your best option for obtaining B12 would be from almond or coconut milk.
Unlike other nutrients such as calcium, Omega-3s can only be produced by outside sources and does not naturally occur in our bodies. These fatty acids actually take up 18 percent of our brain weight and are extremely beneficial when it comes to our happiness. It is most commonly found in fish, such as salmon. If you do not eat fish, the next best way to obtain this nutrient is through chia seeds, broccoli, or spinach.
Serotonin is the chemical in our brain that affects our happiness, magnesium is a main contributor of this chemical. Along with over 300 other functions, magnesium is a critical nutrient to our health. Edamame, almonds, spinach, cashews, and peanuts are all great snacks and sources of magnesium.
- “Calcium.” University of Maryland Medical Center. N.p., 26 June 2014. Web.
- “Role of Iron in the Body.” – Nelsons UK. N.p., n.d. Web.
- Rao, T. S. Sathyanarayana, M. R. Asha, B. N. Ramesh, and K. S. Jagannatha Rao. “Understanding Nutrition, Depression and Mental Illnesses.” Indian Journal of Psychiatry. Medknow Publications, Apr. 2008. Web.
- Marano, Hara. “A Mineral for Mental Energy.” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, LLC, 14 Oct. 2003. Web.
- “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” Zinc and Immune Function: The Biological Basis of Altered Resistance to Infection. N.p., n.d. Web.
- “Vitamin D Deficiency and Depression.” Psychology Today. N.p., 11 July 2013. Web.
- Thompson, Dennis. “The Facts on Vitamin-Deficiency Anemia.”EverydayHealth.com. N.p., 24 Mar. 2010. Web.
- “Omega-3 Supplements: In Depth.” NCCIH. N.p., 2009. Web.
- “Magnesium.” University of Maryland Medical Center. N.p., 6 Aug. 2015. Web.