Want To Be In A Good Mood? Eat These Foods

A number of lifestyle factors can contribute to depression, but one that’s often overlooked is what you put in your mouth. “Diet plays a huge role in depression,” says with Christopher Calapai, D.O., a New York City Osteopathic Physician board certified in family and anti-aging medicine.

Do you crave sweet, salty, and fatty foods when you’re feeling blue? You’re not alone. But, says Dr. Calapai “If we eat better foods like lean proteins, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and fish, we short-circuit the junk food cravings and have higher energy levels and sharper mental focus.

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Vitamin D (sun exposure; fortified breakfast cereals, breads, juices, milk):

Vitamin D is required for brain development and function. Deficiency in this “sunshine vitamin” is sometimes associated with depression and other mood disorders.

“Smart” Carbs Can Have a Calming Effect

Carbohydrates are linked to the mood-boosting brain chemical, serotonin. Experts aren’t sure, but carb cravings sometimes may be related to low serotonin activity. Choose your carbs wisely. Limit sugary foods and opt for smart or “complex” carbs (such as whole grains) rather than simple carbs (such as cakes and cookies). Fruits, vegetables, and legumes also have healthy carbs and fiber.

Tryptophan (protein sources including turkey, beef, eggs, some dairy products, dark, leafy greens):

An amino acid, tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin. It’s not well understood, but low tryptophan seems to trigger depressive symptoms in some people who have taken antidepressants.

Increase your Intake of B Vitamins

People with either low blood levels of the B-vitamin folic acid, or high blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine (a sign that you are not getting enough B6, B12 or folic acid), are both more likely to be depressed and less likely to get a positive result from anti-depressant drugs. In a study comparing the effects of giving an SSRI with either a placebo or with folic acid, 61% of patients improved on the placebo combination but 93% improved with the addition of folic acid.

Boost your Serotonin with Amino Acids

Serotonin is made in the body and brain from an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan is then converted into another amino acid called 5-Hydroxy Tryptophan (5-HTP), which in turn is converted into the neurotransmitter serotonin. Tryptophan can be found in the diet; it’s in many protein rich foods such as meat, fish, beans and eggs. 5-HTP is found in high levels in the African Griffonia bean, but this bean is not a common feature of most people’s diet. Just not getting enough tryptophan is likely to make you depressed; people fed food deficient in tryptophan became rapidly depressed within hours.

Up your Intake of Chromium

This mineral is vital for keeping your blood sugar level stable because insulin, which clears glucose from the blood, can’t work properly without it. In fact it turns out that just supplying proper levels of chromium to people with atypical depression can make a big difference.

Select Selenium-Rich Foods

Studies have reported a link between low selenium and poor moods. The recommended amount for selenium is 55 micrograms a day for adults. Evidence isn’t clear that taking supplements can help. And it’s possible to get too much selenium. So it’s probably best to focus on foods:

• Beans and legumes
• Lean meat (lean pork and beef, skinless chicken and turkey)
• Low-fat dairy products
• Nuts and seeds (particularly brazil nuts – but no more than one or two a day because of their high selenium content)
• Seafood (oysters, clams, sardines, crab, saltwater fish, and freshwater fish)
• Whole grains (whole-grain pasta, brown rice, oatmeal, etc.)

Caffeine and Sugary Foods

Caffeine may be difficult for many people to completely eliminate from their diet. However, it is good to only have caffeinated drinks in moderation, particularly when you are experiencing depression-like symptoms. Caffeine can disrupt sleep patterns and make you feel anxious, both of which won’t help your depression. People who drink more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day, the equivalent of four cups of brewed coffee, should consider cutting back.

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Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O. is an Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine, and anti-aging medicine. Proclaimed as the “The Stem Cell Guru” by the New York Daily News, Dr. Calapai is a leader in the field of stem cell therapy in the U.S. His stem cell treatments have achieved remarkable results in clinical trials on patients with conditions as varied as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, frailty syndrome, heart, kidney and liver failure, lupus, MS and Parkinson’s.

Dr. Calapai started his practice in New York City in 1986 and for over 25 years he has hosted nationally syndicated radio shows, including his two weekly call-in shows on WABC 770-AM, where he offers health and medical advice. He has a show on Saturday morning 8-9am and Sunday evening from 6-7pm. He has consulted with numerous high-profile individuals including Mike Tyson, Mickey Rourke, Steven Seagal, and Fox series Gotham’s, Donal Logue and worked as a medical consultant for the New York Rangers hockey team as well as various modeling agencies.

Dr. Calapai received his medical degree from New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and he consults in Manhattan with practices on Long Island, in East Meadow and Plainview. He has appeared on News12 and in the pages of 25A Magazine and Social Life Magazine.

He is the author of E-books Heavy Metals and Chronic Disease, Reverse Diabetes Forever! Seven Steps to Healthy Blood Sugar, Top Ten Supplements You Can’t Live Without, and Glorious Glutathione. Learn more about Dr. Calapai on his website: http://www.drcal.net

Sleep Deprivation Could Be Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Efforts

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Not catching enough zzz’s at night? Sleep deprivation could be sabotaging your weight loss efforts! A recent study published in the Journal Sleep found that those who get 4-5 hours of sleep a night consume significantly more calories and gained more weight than individuals getting at least 8 hours of sleep.

Tips for a Great Nights’ Sleep”

1.       Stick to a similar routine, this will allow your body to get on a regular sleep / wake cycle.

2.       Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening and limit yourself to 1 or 2 cups a day.

3.       Set an electronic curfew and turn off all screens at least 1 hour before bed.

4.       Avoid a high sugar diet, this causes spikes and drops in blood sugar and ultimately energy levels.

5.       Staying active and getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days.

6.       Try meditating for 15 minutes before bed; clearing your mind can help you get to sleep faster and help you sleep better.

Set yourself up for success by following these tips to feel better rested and boost your weight loss efforts!

unnamed-1Amanda is a registered dietitian with a Masters in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. As a dietitian at Selvera, she works one on one with clients developing personalized weight management plans that address nutrition, activity and lifestyle.

12 Health and Fitness Tips You Need to be Aware of

running-stairs-300x199We are constantly bombarded throughout the day with health and fitness facts and tips from media outlets that may or may not pertain to us. Here are a few of the more meaningful ones that we should become more aware of.

6 – The number of hours, prior to bedtime, that you should avoid all forms of caffeine. Watch out for hidden caffeine in chocolate, health supplements and other products.

8 – Climbing at least 8 flights of stairs a day increases longevity (Harvard Alumni Study).

14 – The amount of daily fiber (in grams) needed for every 1000 calories you consume.

17 – The number of ounces of water needed to raise your metabolic rate by 30%.

24 – The maximum amount of added daily sugar (in grams) for women.

30 – The average decline in muscle strength (%) between age 20 to 70.

36 – Calories expended per minute of all-out rowing on a ergometer for 6:00, one of the highest ever reported.

38 – The maximum amount of added daily sugar (in grams) for men.

150 – The number of weekly minutes of moderate-intensity exercise that helps keep disease at bay.

400 – The maximal amount of caffeine (mg) that you should consume each day. A great app to help monitor your intake can be found here.

450 – The average amount of daily calories consumed by Americans via soda, sports drinks and alcohol.

31,000,000 – The number of Americans who don’t eat breakfast every day!