'Happy foods' for International Day of Happiness
Mussels, chicken and almonds contribute to wellbeing hormones
20 Marzo 2017
Rome, March 20 - Three in four Italians believe that they can find happiness around a dinner table, according to study released on the occasion of the UN International Day of Happiness on Monday. The study, conducted by the Federation of Italian Fishing Cooperatives (Federcoopesca) together with the Federation of Italian Cooperatives (Confcooperative), revealed that 85% of women prefer first course dishes and sweets to help improve their moods, while 75% of men prefer fish or red meat, especially when grilled. Corrado Piccinetti, a biologist and diet expert, specified foods that can help improve mood, ranging from mussels, sardines, eggs, chicken, spinach and asparagus. Fish is one of the top choices, from sardines to salmon rich in omega-3 and vitamin D, as well as mollusks like mussels for vitamin B12, selenium, iodine and zinc, which stimulate the thyroid and improve mood. Chicken is a natural antidepressant due to the amino acid tryptophan that it contains. Vegetables are also good for improving mood, especially dark green leafy ones such as spinach, which is rich in vitamin C and magnesium. Vitamin C and magnesium are both important in transforming tryptophan and thyroxine into serotonin and dopamine, which are the neurotransmitters responsible for happiness and wellbeing. Beets also have a natural antidepressant effect due to their magnesium content. Asparagus improves mood through folate and tryptophan. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which can protect the brain, while eggs give a sense of euphoria for their vitamin B content as well as iodine, zinc, and the fatty acid omega-3. Citrus fruits and fruits in general are also good for moods because of the carotenoids they contain, which promote a more optimistic view of life. Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts and seeds like sunflower, linseed and pumpkin seeds all help mood thanks to the fatty acid omega-3. Almonds also contain zinc, which is a true mood stabilizer, as well as iron to fight mental fatigue and healthy fats that help with anxiety. Honey is also a good mood enhancer because it contains a flavonol called quercetin, while raw cocoa is rich in antioxidants and substances that release endorphins, the wellbeing hormones.