The sun is making a good comeback, letting people get more vitamin D and improving their overall mood and happiness. With a beautiful mix of more fresh air and sunlight, it helps relieve depression and helps change your brain chemistry to make you feel happier.
Did you know that sunny-looking fruit and vegetables can do the same thing? They can help improve your mood and help cut depression.
Some studies found that women tend to be deficient in some of the nutrients below in bright orange and yellow vegetables. That means if you eat more of these types of vegetables, you're probably going to feel better.
List of orange & Yellow Veggies
- Yellow Apples
- Cape Gooseberries
- Yellow Figs
- Golden Kiwifruit
- Yellow Pears
- Yellow Watermelon
- Yellow Beets
- Butternut Squash
- Yellow Peppers
- Yellow Potatoes
- Yellow Summer Squash
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Potatoes
- Yellow Tomatoes
- Yellow Winter Squash
Let's take a look at the nutrients:
What makes a yellow and orange vegetable so bright and sunny is the carotenoids. Nutrients like beta-carotene are bright orange, and the richer the orange color within a vegetable, the more carotenoids it has in it.
Vitamin A is very good at helping your eyes see, but it's also a powerful antioxidant involved in energy production.
A particular interest is the nutrient lutein. This carotenoid only found in plants, is exceptionally good at protecting your eyes. It's a powerful antioxidant and studies link it to help protect the body protein, fats, and DNA from oxidative stress, by helping recycle glutathione. This helps reduce LDL cholesterol, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and dementia.
B6 is one of those nutrients that helps your brain. It helps in converting acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that helps you form memories, recall information, and do it quickly. Also known as pyridoxine, B6 is essential for metabolism and the creation of red blood cells.
Its role in the conversion of acetylcholine helps regulate emotions, helping to balance serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid. It helps balance hormones and helps regulate homocysteine, an amino acid linked to Alzheimer's, heart disease, and several other diseases.
This antioxidant gives pink and red coloring to food, even though it is one of the major members of the carotenoid family. It's one of the most potent antioxidants we can get into our body, linked to helping protect the body from the oxidative stress of nearly every disease out there.
Interestingly, consuming foods high in lycopene help lower the risk of certain cancers. In several studies, people who had two servings of lycopene rich tomato sauce per week were 9% less likely to develop prostate cancer.
But where it really shines is in your heart. If you want about a 25% lower risk of heart disease, consume more lycopene. The 31% lower risk of stroke, that's lycopene, too.
Everyone knows vitamin C is great for helping reduce coughs and colds, But did you know that most people just don't get enough. Although this is one of the easiest to get antioxidants, it's one the body uses very quickly.
Aside from your immune system using high amounts of vitamin C, your heart needs it to keep your blood pressure low, reduce the risk of heart disease, prevent gout, keep your iron levels high, and protect your memory.
Nearly every orange and yellow vegetable is extremely high in fiber. In particular are the carrot, sweet potato, and squashes. Fiber helps improve your digestion, and carrots, sweet potatoes, and squashes are all well known to help improve your digestion and regularity.
Fiber itself does not affect your brain, but what it does is help maintain healthy gut flora. More and more research is coming out that shows that your whole body is healthy when you keep your gut bacteria healthy. And some of the latest emerging research shows that some symptoms of depression and memory issues can link to an imbalance of gut probiotics.
Some studies show reduced symptoms of depression just by taking a healthy probiotic supplement.
Eating fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, kombucha, and kimchi can introduce many healthy probiotics. And these probiotics help you feel better and think clearer.
Various (and Lots of) Fats
Fish oil, DHA, EPA, and other omega-3 fatty acids are very healthy for your brain. Omega-3s are a type of fat that helps regulate our inflammation and cell membranes. We need these fats to help maintain normal brain health and the integrity of the cell membranes of our neurons. When the cell membranes of various neurons start to get damaged, Alzheimer's, memory problems, and dementia follow.
But you also need omega-3 fatty acids for your hormones. Serotonin, dopamine, and estrogen all play a part in keeping you happy and healthy. But if you lack the omega-3 fatty acids, your body cannot produce enough of these hormones to keep you happy and healthy.
Although many websites claim folate and folic acid (the synthetic version of folate) is a nutrient that is a miracle for your brain, it's not going to change things by itself. It does play a significant role in your brain's health, however.
Low levels of folate increase depression, epilepsy, and other psychiatric disorders. It's a protective agent for memory and recall that can help boost your mood and memory.
It's best to get folate from your diet, as folic acid, the most common additive to supplements, is not well absorbed by the body and has to be converted into a usable form first. If you choose to supplement, be sure to check your supplement, so you're getting folate, not folic acid.
Your best bet for getting these nutrients is to eat lots of yellow and orange fruits and vegetables. But, if you choose to supplement, be sure to get quality supplements your body can use well.