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Consumer Reports: What you eat can make you happier

Posted at 4:00 AM, Nov 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-01 09:10:12-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - A Mediterranean diet that includes olive oil, nuts, fatty fish, and whole grains contain lots of folate and vitamin B12, which have been associated with a reduced risk of depression! Why your food choices may affect mood isn’t totally clear, but some scientists have a “gut feeling” it may be related to your microbiome: the ever-changing mix of good and bad bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract.

“The healthy bacteria in your digestive system actually produces neurotransmitters which are chemicals that help control your mood," says Consumer Reports Health Editor, Trisha Calvo. "In fact, about 90% of serotonin, which you normally think of as a brain chemical, is actually produced in your digestive system!”

Yogurt is great to include because it contains probiotics, the good bacteria, and make sure you eat food that feeds good bacteria such as garlic, leeks, onions and asparagus. And veggies. They may boost your mood in another way!

“Vegetables not only have fiber that help feed the healthy bacteria, but research has shown that the more vegetables you eat, the better your mood," says Calvo. "Spinach, swiss chard, and fresh herbs like basil are among the veggies that have the biggest mood boost effect.”

And research shows, with many nutritionists agreeing, stay away from ultra-processed foods and drinks that contain lots of added sugars and additives!

CR says when it comes to eating for a better mood, it’s about more than what’s on the end of your fork. We’ve got tips from Consumer Reports’ on how to make mealtime more enjoyable.