Bananas are the king of mood-boosting superfoods, offering a rapid enhancement of mood soon after you eat them. The antidepressant effects of bananas most likely come from its
dopamine, tryptophan and high vitamin B6 levels. One banana contains up to 10mg of dopamine in the pulp which serves as an antioxidant and mood booster. Studies show that the more vitamin B6 present, the faster your brain converts tryptophan into serotonin which is one of the neurotransmitters of mood (vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, is the co-factor of the aromatic amino acid decarboxylase enzyme). Tryptophan also gets converted into vitamin B3, called niacin, which aids in the repair of DNA and the lowering of harmful cholesterol in the blood. Bananas offers lots of fiber among superfoods, supplying 14 percent of dietary fiber. It also supplies 14 percent of potassium and 18 percent of manganese. The antioxidant value of bananas is also high, similar to that of kiwi fruit and orange juice. The FDA recognizes bananas to help with lowering blood pressure and protecting against stroke and heart attack. Vision
Among superfoods, other benefits of bananas include having a small but significant amount of vitamin A to provide for healthy vision. Vitamin A maintains rhodopsin levels in the eye which is crucial for color and low-light vision.
Many people do not realize that bananas are major players in antioxidants among superfoods, containing high levels of antioxidants that help protect against errors in DNA which lowers cancer risk. The anti-cancer effects come from its high content of dopamine, manganese, vitamin C, and phenolic compounds.
Dopamine is a natural antioxidant. Manganese is a crucial element in mitochondria for deactivating toxic superoxides into oxygen and hydrogen peroxide. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that reduces free radicals in the body. The phenolic content of food also play a key role in antioxidants. In 2005, a study in Sweden discovered that women who ate more than 75 servings of fruits or vegetables a month decreased their risk of kidney cancer by up to 40 percent, and that bananas had the greatest
cancer risk-reduction effect among fruits. Women who ate 4 or more bananas a week enjoyed a 50 percent reduction in risk of developing kidney cancer. Bananas have the highest bound W phenolics among fruits such as orange, apple, peach, red grape, lemon, grapefruit, pineapple, pear, cranberry and strawberry.
One large banana provides as much as 14 percent of daily dietary fiber. Fiber helps keep you regular while decreasing the risk of colon cancer.
In each banana is a healthy portion of
fructooligosaccharides which enhance the absorption of calcium into the body from the digestive tract.
Bananas are an excellent food snack for losing weight. One large banana provides 6 percent of daily calories and 10 percent of daily carbohydrates, while giving you a sweet and filling snack. You avoid the energy spike and subsequent crash found in snacks and drinks filled with simple sugars and carbohydrates that leave you sleepy and worn out. Bananas give the sensation of feeling full while you burn energy at work or at play.
Dietary Fiber: 14%
Vitamin C: 20%
Vitamin B6: 25%
Oranges Improve Depression, Heart and Blood Health, Immunity, Vision, Digestion, and Skin
Among superfoods, oranges deliver one of the more powerful anti-depressant effects through rich amounts of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), folate, and complex sugars. Many studies over the past decades suggest that low levels of dopamine and serotonin contribute to states of depression. A study in 2008 revealed a link between
vitamin C and the number of dopamine nerves in the brain; animals exposed to more ascorbic acid developed more dopamine neurons, suggesting that brains exposed to more vitamin C produce more dopamine. In fact, the brain and spinal cord contain large amounts of vitamin C. Oranges also contain rich levels of folate which is key for proper transmethylation reactions, leading to sufficient production of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin (from tyrosine and tryptophan, respectively). Complex sugars give a boost of energy to the brain that is natural and avoids the insulin spike that leaves people sleepy and worn down.
Oranges pack high levels of
potassium and vitamin C among superfoods which help decrease blood pressure and inflammation, promoting heart health and lowering ischemic stroke risk. Healthy levels of potassium serve as visodilation signals in blood vessels which decrease pressures, and high vitamin C levels lower histamine in the circulation. Histamine plays a role in inflammation which can elevate blood pressure and damage organ function. Vision
Each orange can deliver 7 percent of your daily vitamin A to provide for healthy vision, making it a vision booster among superfoods. Vitamin A maintains rhodopsin levels in the eye which is crucial for color and low-light vision.
Oranges are famous for their high vitamic C levels which translate to high levels of antioxidants that help protect against oxidative stress in various tissues. Oxidative stress in the form of free radicals can damage DNA which can lead to cancer. Thus, oranges can help protect against many cancers.
One navel orange provides as much as 12 percent of daily dietary fiber. The high fiber content of oranges helps maintain digestive health and regular bowel habits while decreasing the risk of colorectal cancer.
Oranges are good for your skin, blood vessels, and cartilage due to its high vitamin C content. Vitamin C serves as a critical co-factor to enzymes that build collagen, an essential molecule in blood vessels, scar tissue, skin, and cartilage. In vitamin C deficiency, also called scurvy, people suffer from bleeding gums, bleeding joints, leg pain, easy bruising, jaundice, irritability, malaise, and even death.
Vitamin A: 7%
Dietary Fiber: 12%
Vitamin C: 100%
Lentils Improve Depression, Fatigue, Heart Health, and Digestion
Among superfoods, lentils go perfect in soups, salads, or as a colorful vegetable side dish. Rich in
dietary fiber, folate, iron, manganese, and phosphorus, legumes are perfect superfoods to boost your mood while giving you energy in a low-calorie meal. Legumes deliver one of the most density-rich folate foods you can buy, which is the nutrient required for proper transmethylation reactions leading to sufficient production of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. Inadequate levels of dopamine and serotonin can contribute to developing depression. Earthy and nutty in flavor, lentils pack an unusually strong health boost that your body will truly enjoy.
Many people do not realize that low levels of phosphorus in the body can lead to bone pain, muscle weakness, loss of appetite, and overall sense of fatigue that feels like depression. Phosphorus is a mineral that is required by every cell of the body and that serves a crucial role in bone health. Superfoods like lentils offer a rich supply of phosphorus to keep your muscles, bones, and mind feeling healthy. If you have fatigue, bone pain, loss of appetite, and low mood then the cause may be a poor selection of foods in your diet, especially foods low in phosphorus.
Lentils protect our hearts by providing dietary fiber, folate, vitamin B6, and magnesium. The rich content of dietary fiber in lentils helps reduce risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart disease. In a multinational study looking at dietary habits and risk of death from heart disease, researchers found that legumes were associated with an 82% reduction in risk. High levels of homocysteine, called hyperhomocysteinemia, significantly increases your risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and bone fractures. Folate, vitamin B6, and magnesium help remove the amino acid homocysteine from the body by converting it to cysteine of methionine. Furthermore, the magnesium in lentils serves as a natural vasodilator. Lentils can help regulate blood pressure. People who eat foods high in magnesium over a period of several months have shown to have both improved vasodilation of their blood vessels, and increased exercise tolerance. Superfoods like lentils truly are a heart happy food.
Among the superfoods, lentils are excellent at providing the body a healthy source of energy by delivering robust amounts of complex carbohydrates and iron. Iron is required for the proper function of hundreds of enzymes and proteins. Iron deficiency is very common in the general public, and especially for menstruating women. A food rich in iron is crucial for them because their bodies lose iron at a faster rate than others. As a healthy alternative to red meat, lentils provide a low fat and low calorie iron source that avoids the heart disease risks of long-term red meat consumption.
Superfoods like lentils are a fiber powerhouse. One cup of lentils provides as much as 63 percent of daily dietary fiber. The high fiber content of lentils helps maintain digestive health and regular bowel habits while decreasing the risk of colorectal cancer.
Dietary Fiber: 63%
Dark Chocolate Improves Depression, Heart and Blood Vessel Health, and Energy Maintenance
Dark chocolate is a black sheep of superfoods. It offers a rare guilty pleasure that seduces nearly everyone while providing distinct health benefits. As you know chocolate comes in all forms and flavors, from milk to unsweetened to bittersweet to semisweet to white to fruit-filled. Semisweet, milk, and white chocolates have a high fat and calorie content, while providing small amounts of cocoa. The kind of chocolate that you should snack on is bittersweet (“dark”) chocolate with
at least 70 percent cocoa solids. Chocolate and cocoa will definitely boost your mood, but how? Chocolate is high in tyrosine, trytophan, and phenyalanine, which are the precursors of adrenaline and dopamine. Studies suggest that sufficient levels of dopamine and adrenaline help improve mood and make your heart beat a bit faster. In addition to its mood altering benefits, cocoa contains a rich mixture of polyphenols like flavonoids, as well as theobromine, tryptophan, caffeine, and minerals including magnesium and potassium.
Flavenoids in cocoa are effective antioxidants that scavenge for free radicals. Flavenoids, however, make up a small portion of antioxidants in the body and probably make a small contribution to overall antioxidant power.
Superfoods like dark chocolate contain iron. People are surprised to learn that dark chocolate delivers a modest amount of iron to your body. Iron is required for the proper function of hundreds of enzymes and proteins. Iron deficiency is very common in the general public, especially for menstruating women. As an alternative to red meat, dark chocolate provides iron in a snack that avoids the heart disease risks of long-term red meat consumption.
Significant research suggests that the flavonoids in dark chocolate provide cardiovascular health benefits. Flavonoids protect vessels from free radical damage, and encourage flow-mediated dilation of blood vessels while decreasing systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Researchers in Finland and Japan found that dark chocolate increases levels of HDL cholesterol, the good cholesterol, while reducing LDL oxidation. Another fascinating finding is that chocolate reduces platelet activation, which decreases the chance of clots to form which often contribute to strokes and heart attacks. Chocolate even helps fight against the aging process by protecting against blood vessel dysfunction that comes with age. We can safely say the chocolate and cocao improve heart and blood vessel health which may cut down on coronary and cardiovascular disease later in life.
Risks: Chocolate has the ability to trigger headaches, and cause acid reflux. It can also raise blood pressure especially in people taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors for depression. Very rarely, in people with carcinoid tumors, chocolate can promote diarrhea, hot flashes, and wheezing. If you notice any uncomfortable reaction to chocolate, then stop eating it and see a doctor.
Dietary Fiber: 37%
Blueberries Improve Depression, Cognition, Memory, Heart Health, Immunity, Vision, and Bone
When it comes to boosting mood, the neurotransmitters to watch include dopamine and serotonin. Among superfoods, blueberries help brain cells survive. Recent studies suggest that the flavonoids found in blueberries help dopamine neurons in the brain survive much longer. Dopamine neruons are exquisitely sensitive to oxidative stress from free radicals, and flavonoids are very effective antioxidants ready to protect them. The high vitamin C content of blueberries also goes straight to the brain to help protect against free radical damage. Superfoods sucj as blueberries help protect your mood. Long-term consumption of blueberries or blueberry extract will protect your mood on a daily basis. Blueberries also contain high levels of vitamin K, manganese, and dietary fiber.
Blueberries are the kings of antioxidant superfoods, ranking #1 in antioxidant content among the top 40 most common fruits and vegetables. Their antioxidant superpowers comes from their rich supplies of manganese, vitamin C, anthocyanins, flavonols, hydroxybenzoic acids, hydroxycinnamic acids, and other phytonutrients. Manganese is a crucial element in mitochondria for deactivating toxic superoxides into oxygen and hydrogen peroxide. vitamin C is an antioxidant that reduces free radicals in the body. The powerful antioxidants of blueberries have been found to actually benefit many systems of the body, including the cardiovascular, digestive, immune, musculoskeletal, and nervous systems. This means that superfoods such as blueberries can help lower the risk of cancers in those systems, like colon cancer. These compounds also serve anti-inflammatory functions throughout the body which is important for overall health because inflammation has been implicated in the development of various diseases.
The powerful antioxidant properties of blueberries help preserve memory function and improve cognition by enhancing cell signaling and lowering the oxidative stress on neurons in the central nervous system. Preliminary studies suggest that eating blueberries regularly enhances signaling among neurons and protects against behavioral deficits in Alzheimer’s disease. Eating blueberries regularly may also reverse age-related declines in brain function, specifically neuronal signal transduction, cognition, and motor behavioral deficits. Superfoods like blueberries are amazing for your brain.
Among the superfoods, blueberries offers distinct heart health benefits. The cardiovascular protection offered by antioxidants found in blueberries is well studied. First, regular blueberry consumption
increases levels of HDL cholesterol, the good cholesterol, while reducing LDL cholesterol. Second, blueberries provide antioxidant activity in the blood itself which protects vessels from free radical damage. Third, the antioxidants in blueberries have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory functions that boost immunity and lower systolic and diastolic blood pressures, lowering the risk of stroke and heart attack. Fourth, the high vitamin K content of raw blueberries help maintain coagulation and anti-coagulation activities at healthy levels.
The retina of the eye is sensitive to oxidative stress and UV damage from sunlight. Foods rich in phytonutrient antioxidants, such as blueberries, help protect the retina from oxidative damage due to their
anthocyanins. Whether these anthocyanins are directly absorbed, or digested and broken down causing more to be made in the blood remains unknown. But a number of studies in Europe have documented a relationship between a cousin of blueberries, called bilberries, and improved eyesight. Another study in Japan strongly suggests that the anthocyanin in the blue pigment of blueberries help ease eye fatigue.
Bone mineralization depends on cells called osteoclasts which require vitamin K for bone production. Among the superfoods, blueberries deliver a rish supply of vitamin K which is good for your bones.