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Foods that put you down... And others that will lift your spirits!

Alimentos que nos ponen down… ¡Y aquellos que nos levantan el ánimo!

Everyone knows there are days when being in a good mood feels like climbing a mountain. You may have fatigue, listlessness, and maybe even a little sadness. Did you know that this all begins with what you eat? That's right, our food choices have a lot to do with, not only our energy level but also, the mood we're in. The good news is that just like there are products available that put us down, there are others we can munch on that will lift us up, bringing out the best in us. We’ll provide the breakdown on each below, so you can get more than just a smile out of what you eat. (1)

Foods that negatively affect mood:

  • Refined sugar and sweeteners. Whether in ice cream, sodas or coffee, sugar negatively affects the nervous system (2). Sugar replacements aren’t any better, either. Aspartame, for example, interferes with dopamine and serotonin production, hormones that keep us feeling in a good mood.

  • Cakes and cookies. They say yummy food will either make you fat or feel bad-tempered, and these types of snacks do both as they destabilize the level of sugar in the blood and negatively alter mood.

  • Processed foods. They contain chemicals for preservation as well as to increase flavor, many of which are harmful because they generate reactions and inflammation that affect the brain and its proper and healthy functioning.

  • Sausages. Everything high in saturated and hydrogenated fats alters the nervous system and decreases the production of serotonin, causing fatigue and listlessness.

  • Dairy. The fat contained in milk and its derivatives can increase the development of depression for the same reason listed above.

  • Refined cereals. White flour increases depressive symptoms due to an inflammatory effect.

Foods that put us in a naturally good mood:

  • Fruits. Due to their provision of carbohydrates and fiber, they provide energy gradually. Bananas and avocados also contain minerals like magnesium, which is important in the support of the production of serotonin and dopamine, among other hormones. The same happens with strawberries that stimulate the so-called happiness hormone. Others, such as quince, dates, and berries, can also elevate mood. (3)

  • Vegetables. They have different positive effects but, in general, vegetables can positively impact the brain's production of serotonin, generating a positive effect on mood (4). Some vegetables, such as lettuce and chicory, help promote relaxation with natural calming effects.

  • Whole grains such as brown rice and oatmeal. They are rich in complex carbohydrates, which get gradually converted into glucose, and contain B vitamins, like B6 and B5, which are essential to the nervous system.

  • Dark chocolate or cocoa. Whether it's endorphins, oxytocin, dopamine, or serotonin, a small piece of dark chocolate a day may be the easiest (and most delicious) way to keep hormones balanced.

  • Basil. An herb you can incorporate in cooking, tea, or take as a supplement. Also known as tulsi or holy basil, this plant is collecting more evidence everyday to support its age-old stance against physical, chemical, metabolic, and psychological stress. Thanks to its combination of pharmacological effects, among other things, basil has been shown to counteract metabolic stress by balancing blood glucose, blood pressure, and lipid levels, while providing anxiolytic and antidepressant properties. (5)

Additional recommended supplements:

  • Among the products you can take is ashwagandha. It has been proven to stimulate GABA, the main neurotransmitter in the brain, and promotes the formation of dendrite (or neuron) extensions that propagate the electrochemical stimulation received cells. Ashwagandha has also been proven to have an anxiolytic effect and improve energy levels. (6)

  • Ginseng, in addition to supporting energy and immunity, has been studied for its role in mood modulation. Some research shows that it can help in the prevention and treatment of depression by intervening the neurotransmitter system, regulating the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, and providing anti-inflammatory effects, among other benefits. (7)

  • Maca has been shown to help reduce psychological symptoms, including anxiety and depression. (8)

  • Various studies have sought to confirm the various ways in which magnesium helps emotional stability. Magnesium deficiencies affect the development of several neuronal processes that manifest themselves as depression, agitation, anxiety, and irritability. Some studies show that a week of supplementation of about 125 to 300 mg of magnesium with every meal and before bedtime may help, as well as reduce anxiety due to its relaxing properties. (9, 10)

Add more joy, optimism, and color to your days simply by making better choices about what you consume. Get one step closer to that full, spectacular version of yourself that we know you can achieve.

Let's get healthier together.

Your Santo Remedio Team


1.Qingyi Huang, Huan Liu, Katsuhiko Suzuki, Sihui Ma,Chunhong Liu. Linking What We Eat to Our Mood: A Review of Diet, Dietary Antioxidants, and Depression. Antioxidants (Basel). 2019 Sep; 8(9): 376. Published online 2019 Sep 5. doi: 10.3390/antiox8090376. PMCID: PMC6769512. PMID: 31491962

2.Joseph Firth, James E Gangwisch, Alessandra Borsini, Robyn E Wootton, Emeran A Mayer.

Food and mood: how do diet and nutrition affect mental wellbeing? BMJ. 2020; 369: m2382. Published online 2020 Jun 29. doi: 10.1136/bmj.m2382. Food for Thought 2020 Food for Thought 2020. PMID: 32601102

3.Hu F.B. Dietary pattern analysis: A new direction in nutritional epidemiology. Curr. Opin. Lipidol. 2002;13:3–9. doi: 10.1097/00041433-200202000-00002.

4.Strasser B., Gostner J.M., Fuchs D. Mood, food, and cognition: Role of tryptophan and serotonin. Curr. Opinion Clin. Nutr. Metab. Care. 2016;19:55–61. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000237.

5.Marc Maurice Cohem/ Tulsi - Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2014 Oct-Dec; 5(4): 251–259. doi: 10.4103/0975-9476.146554. PMCID: PMC4296439 PMID: 25624701

6.Narendra Singh, Mohit Bhalla, Prashanti de Jager, Marilena Gilca An Overview on Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2011; 8(5 Suppl): 208–213. Published online 2011 Jul 3. doi: 10.4314/ajtcam.v8i5S.9

PMCID: PMC3252722 PMID: 22754076

7.Yang Jin, Ranji Cui, Lihong Zhao, Jie Fan, Bingjin Li. Mechanisms of Panax ginseng action as an antidepressant. Cell Prolif. 2019 Nov; 52(6): e12696.

Published online 2019 Oct 10. doi: 10.1111/cpr.12696. PMCID: PMC6869450. PMID: 31599060

8.Nicole A Brooks, Gisela Wilcox, Karen Z Walker, John F Ashton, Marc B Cox, Lily Stojanovska

Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content. Randomized Controlled Trial Menopause. Nov-Dec 2008;15(6):1157-62.

doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181732953. PMID: 18784609 DOI: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181732953

9.George A Eby, Karen L Eby. Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment. Med Hypotheses. 2006;67(2):362-70. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2006.01.047. Epub 2006 Mar 20.

10.Neil Bernard Boyle,Clare Lawton, Louise Dye. The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress—A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017 May; 9(5): 429. Published online 2017 Apr 26. doi: 10.3390/nu9050429. PMCID: PMC5452159. PMID: 28445426

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