We’ve all heard the saying, “You are what you what you eat.” So what in the world are the brides-to-be featured on Bridezillas eating? Since research has indicated that diet may influence our mood by altering our brain chemistry, these women are most likely consuming foods that, well… bring out their unpleasant side. “Too much sugar, including artificial ingredients and processed foods, along with too much caffeine, can contribute to adrenal fatigue, a major problem among stressed out Americans,” says Laura Lagano, MS, RD, CDN, a holistic registered dietitian who counsels individuals with her “Nutrition in my Kitchen” program. Here, Lagano offers the three types of foods that have the ability to send the “happy messages” to your brain:
Fish: Often referred to by nutritionists as “brain foods,” fish is number one on Lagano’s list due to its omega-3 fatty acid content. And she’s not alone: An analysis of more than 160 studies about food’s affect on the brain conducted by UCLA discovered that omega-3 fatty acids offer a multitude of benefits, including helping to fight depression and mood disorders. However, Lagano urges to follow two strict guidelines when selecting fish. “Avoid farm-raised fish, which are fed corn and soy and are low in omega-3s, as well as deep-water fish, which tend to be high in mercury, a neurotoxin,” she stresses. Her fish favorites include anchovies, clams, flounder, oysters, salmon (Wild Alaskan), sardines, scallops, shrimp, sole (Pacific) and squid (calamari).
High antioxidant foods: Vitamin- and mineral-packed fruits and vegetables, along with flavorful herbs and spices, help protect the brain from free radical damage—molecules that damage cells—improving mood and memory, states Lagano. In fact, a recent study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found that optimistic people had up to 13 percent more of carotenoid (antioxidants found in some green veggies) concentrations in their blood compared to people who were less cheery. The study also concluded that those who ate three or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day were happier than those who consumed less of these nutritious foods. Lagano’s top fruit picks include acai berries, blueberries, cherries, figs, mangosteen, passionfruit, persimmon, pomegranate, raspberries and strawberries. Tops on her vegetable list are arugla, broccoli rabe, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens and turnip greens. She also recommends sprinkling or tossing any of the following natural additives to your meals: cinnamon, cocoa (unsweetened), ginger, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme and tumeric.
Foods rich in one—or more—of three nutrients: Lagano highlights the nutrients choline (a water-soluble essential nutrient that falls into the B Vitamin family), selenium (a trace mineral that has antioxidant properties) and glutathione (an antioxidant that is produced by the body naturally, which helps the body fight toxicity and premature aging). “They are vital to brain health and enhance the body’s natural detoxification process,” she explains. To reap these brain benefits, Lagano suggests adding the following foods to your diet: Asparagus, avocado, barley, Brazil nuts, egg yolks, flax seeds, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, sunflower seeds, sunflower butter and walnuts.