Monday, November 9, 2009

Munching Away to Happiness (3)

Minerals like vitamins are classified as micronutrients. They are required in small quantities for healthy functioning. As with vitamins, certain minerals contribute to a positive mood. Deficiencies in minerals are sometimes implicated in certain mental health problems. The main minerals implicated in affect on mood are magnesium, zinc, selenium and iron.

These nutrients appear to have a role in neurotransmission. Levels of magnesium and zinc have been shown to be lower in the blood of patients diagnosed with depression. Low selenium levels have been associated with poor mood. Supplementing the diet with selenium can lead to a subsequent improvement. Iron deficiency has also been implicated in poor mood and attention.

Minerals which can impact mood and their food sources include:

Veg - spinach, watercress, avocado, peppers, broccoli, brussle sprouts, green cabbage, watercress
Nuts - Almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts, macadamias, pistachios, walnuts, pecan
Seeds - pumpkin, sunflower, poppy
Wholegrains - oatmeal, wheatbran, long grain rice, buckwheat, barley, quinoa
Dairy - plain yoghurt
Legumes - baked beans
Fruit - banana, kiwi, blackberries, strawberries, orange, raisins
Sweet - chocolate

Veg - mushrooms, garlic, spinach
Wholegrains - wheat germ, brewers yeast, barley, rye, oats, long grain brown rice
Meat - turkey breast
Fish/seafood - Cod, Tuna, Halibut, Salmon, shrimp
Legumes - tofu
Nuts - brazil nuts
Dairy - mozzarella cheese
Seeds - mustard, sunflower

Cereals - fortified breakfast cereal
Nuts - cashews, walnuts, almonds
Dairy - mozzarella, Swiss, cheddar cheeses, low fat yoghurt
Pulses - chick peas, kidney beans, baked beans, lima beans
Legumes - lentils, miso
Seafood/fish - oysters, mussels, shrimp
Meat - chicken (dark meat), turkey, lamb, pork
Seeds - pumpkin, sesame
Vegetables - spinach, mushrooms, squash, asparagus, broccoli
Fruit - blackberries, kiwi
(The concentration of zinc in plants varies based on levels of the element in soil.)

Cereals - fortified breakfast cereal
Veg – spinach, peas, broccoli
Fruit/dried fruits - blackberries, kiwi, pomegranate, prunes, raisins, apricots
Pulses - kidney beans, baked beans, lima beans
Meat – red meat. chicken, turkey
Fish/seafood - Cod, Tuna, Salmon
Legumes- tofu
Nuts - almonds
Wholegrains – wheat, millet oats, brown rice

It has not been proven unequivocally that people with a low mood affect have a lower mineral status than the general population. However, a sensible diet is sure to bring some zing in the routine.


1. Sanstead HH. A brief history of the influence of trace elements on brain function. Am J Clin Nutr. 1986;43:293-8. [PDF]

2. Kaplan BJ, Crawford SG, Field CJ, Simpson JS. Vitamins, minerals, and mood. Psychol Bull. 2007;133:747-60. [Abstract]


VSB said...

Good Lord has made the pursuit of happiness quite an onerous task. Boy! first I thought it was all about mind over matter, now it comes that even my palette needs to be reined in if I value my highs more than my lows (talking of mood here). The Almighty certainly doesn't endorse the dictum eat, drink and be merry!

VS said...

Eat and drink right and be merry is perhaps the way. :o)

Mridula said...

Or is it that eat all this and gain a lot of weight? :D

VS said...

Ahem..of course merriness is not supposed to be a light issue. :o)