Eat Your Way to Health and Happiness
If a single food was guaranteed to make you instantly slim or happy, or end your allergy woes, stores would have to fight back the feverish shoppers. OK, we're not quite there yet, but there are foods and nutrients that science says benefit your well-being.
"Diet has tremendous effects on our short-and long-term health, especially when it comes to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease," says Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, associate professor of cardiovascular medicine at Harvard Medical School. Just remember, he adds, to "eat a variety of healthy foods, rather than focus on one magic bullet." Next time you're shopping, add these picks to your nutritionally balanced grocery cart.
Watch the video: 7 Foods That Boost Your Mood
A deficiency may cause you to fizzle out more easily. Workout queens need to be extra vigilant (you lose some magnesium through sweat). Legumes will help you fulfill the RDA of 320 milligrams: One cup of white beans has 134 milligrams; even a cup of frozen peas delivers 35 milligrams.
"When you build muscle mass, you can also increase your energy reserves and potentially your endurance," says Darryn S. Willoughby, PhD, director of the Exercise and Biochemical Nutrition Laboratory at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
Although it was an animal study and more research is needed, eating concentrated sources of lycopene (cooked tomatoes are a better source than raw ones) may help allergy sufferers breathe easier.
Besides fortified milk and OJ, salmon and tuna are good bets.
"We found people who reported low mood, irritability, and worrying generally had decreased levels of EPA and DHA," says Matthew F. Muldoon, MD, professor of medicine and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. Adding foods high in these fatty acids (typically along with other treatments) actually improved the mood of depressed patients, Dr. Muldoon says.
Today, many cereals are fortified with folic acid, making it easier to meet the 400 microgram RDA than it was when the best source wasyechliver.
"In our study, people who met the recommended levels of choline performed better on memory tests than those who didn't," says Rhoda Au, PhD, a research professor of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine. The daily recommendation is 425 milligrams; two eggs have about 300 milligrams.