12-03-2014 by 

The old saying is often true: 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away' - but why is that the case? The reason is that natural foods like fruits and vegetables and some choice cuts of meat are rich in nutrients and vitamins that the body needs. Numerous studies show that these foods and the nutrients in them can also improve feelings of happiness, lessen symptoms of depression, reduce symptoms of anxiety, and stimulate more productivity. These nutrients can also give you a better and calmer outlook on life. So what are some of these miracle nutrients? Here are six to get you started!

Calcium

As one of the most abundant minerals found in the human body, calcium is extremely important to the maintaining healthy strong bones and blood vessels. Recent studies have also shown that calcium may also be helpful in reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Calcium also helps protect teeth and makes bone strong against disease like osteoporosis. Women seem to be more likely than men to suffer from calcium deficiency and can benefit more from adding more calcium to their diets. [1]

Folate (B9)

Also commonly referred to as B9 or folic acid, this important nutrient helps with the creation of new cells and supports a healthy system of serotonin regulation. Serotonin is the element that helps pass messages from one set of nerve cells to another. It is also important for major brain functions and some behaviors. Folate deficiency often results in major fatigue a lowering levels of serotonin. Both men and women are equally susceptible to folate deficiencies. [2]

Iron

Iron is necessary for proper body functions. It plays a crucial role in transporting oxygen, is known to be helpful in supporting high energy levels, and also helps with the development of muscle strength. Low iron levels most commonly result in feelings of fatigue and depression. Iron deficiency is common in both sexes but women seem to be slightly more prone to it- especially during pregnancy.

Magnesium

Magnesium is often overlooked and under appreciated by many and most people are shocked to learn that this nutrient is necessary for over 300 different functions and roles in keeping and protecting the body’s health. When someone does not have enough magnesium, common symptoms include fatigue, mental confusion, irritability, mood swings, and predisposition to stress. Both sexes seem to be equally prone to this deficiency.

Omega-3

Omega-3 is one of the most well-known and widely talked about essential fatty acid. It plays a critical part in brain health and development. A large part of the brain's organic matter and neurological network is made up of Omega-3s. The body cannot produce omega-3 naturally, so it all has to be consumed from the foods humans eat, which is why deficiency is so common in many areas of the world. Deficiency symptoms can range from fatigue and mood swings to severe memory decline and deep depression. Men seem to be slightly more prone to this deficiency but it is common in many women too. [3]

Zinc

Zinc can be found in most cells in the human body and it plays an important role in the immune system and in keeping the body healthy. Low levels can weaken the immune system, affect appetite an hunger, lead to anemia, cause hair loss in men and women, and severe deficiencies can lead to depression. It is important to note that most zinc comes from beats and protein so vegetarians need as much as 50 percent more zinc because the human body cannot process plant based zinc as effectively.

These nutrients can improve feelings of happiness, lessen symptoms of depression, reduce symptoms of anxiety, stimulate more productivity, and give people a better and calmer outlook on life.

Mood Keywords: health, self-image, fatigue, appetite
 
Sources:
2. “Diet tips: eat foods that boost your mood.” http://www.prevention.com/weight-loss/diets/diet-tips-eat-foods-boost-your-mood March. 2012.
 
Image Credit: choreograph © 123RF.com (used under license)
 
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