In A Bad Mood? Eat Some Food!
August 20, 2012

Some Foods Can Help Enhance Your Mood

Lee Rannals for - Your Universe Online

Researchers presented new evidence about mood-enhancing foods at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Sunday.

Scientists said they found more than 1,700 substances that make up flavors of common foods, including some flavors deriving from natural ingredients, that could potentially resemble a prescription mood stabilizer.

“Molecules in chocolate, a variety of berries and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids have shown positive effects on mood. In turn, our studies show that some commonly used flavor components are structurally similar to valproic acid,” said Karina Martinez-Mayorga, Ph.D., who is the leader of a research team and with the Chemistry Institute at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Valproic acid helps smooth out the mood swings of people with manic-depressive disorder and related conditions.

"The large body of evidence that chemicals in chocolate, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, teas and certain foods could well be mood-enhancers encourages the search for other mood modulators in food," Martinez-Mayorga said.

Researchers are trying to identify the chemical compounds that moderate mood swings, help maintain cognitive health, improve mental alertness and delay the onset of memory loss.

The new study used techniques of chemoinformatics to screen the chemical structures of over 1,700 food flavor ingredients for similarities to approved antidepressants, marketed drugs and agents with reported antidepressant activity.

So far, the main result in the project involves valproic acid, and in the future the team wants to move from the area of analyzing the database to begin testing the flavor/mood hypothesis.

According to Martinez-Mayorga, the team may find new dietary recommendations or new nutritional supplements that could help enhance your mood.

However, despite the indications that could be implied by having food as a substance to help enhance mood, Martinez-Mayorga warns it doesn't mean it is something you should necessarily completely rely on.

"It is important to remember that just eating foods that may improve mood is not a substitute for prescribed antidepressive drugs," she said.

Also, for those who do not wish to wait for the end results of the scientists future findings, she said that eating specific foods and living a healthy lifestyle can generally boost your mood.

Stay tuned to to keep up with what is happening at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).