The HAPPY Diet

If the Standard American Diet, deplete of micronutrients and packed with overly processed fats, sugars and salt is SAD which diet is HAPPY? How about, Healthy And Primarily Plant-based, Yes! (Runner up was healthy and primarily plant-based (just for) you.

The connection between food and mood is a hot topic in the media and research. Science is uncovering how what we eat influences our mood and how our mood can sway our food choices. Did you know that we have more serotonin receptors in our gut than we do in our brain? Serotonin is one of our mood regulating hormones and many experts feel that our complex intestinal system is our “second brain.”

Here is a quick overview of some interesting new information about how our happiness and eating intertwine.

  • Certain smells can elicit happiness
  • Your perception of the health value of a specific food or meal can influence your mood and body image
  • Low blood levels of Vitamin D have been linked to depression, fatigue and poor mood. Vitamin D supplementation can help improve depression in teens who have deficient levels.
  • Many nutrients found in plant foods are linked to mood regulation including
  • Omega-3 fats found in mint, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flax
  • Magnesium and folate found in dark green leafy veggies like kale, spinach, mustard greens
  • B vitamins found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds
  • Combining healthy proteins with whole grain carbohydrates can help regulate serotonin in the brain.

Does eating nutritious foods make us happy or does being happy help us make better lifestyle choices? I recently saw the exhibit, What the World Eats, and had the pleasure of listening to and meeting photo journalist/reporter husband/wife team, Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio. They traveled the world capturing photos of families and the foods they eat. They also report the amount of calories each person or family consumes per day. They shared many words of wisdom about diets and health but summed it up as: plants, moderation, and mindful eating.

This is my favorite picture from the exhibit. Not because of the wide array of unprocessed plant foods this family from Ecuador displays, although that’s really awesome. What struck me most are their radiant smiles that transmit authentic happiness even while sitting in a dark, cave-like room and considering the amount of back-breaking work it takes to cultivate and process these raw ingredients.

Which foods or juices make you most happy? How has doing a Reboot or eating and drinking more vegetables affected your mood?

Sending lots of smiles,

Photo – Dillon eating blueberries