Food plays important cultural and religious roles in most societies, so it's only natural it would take center stage for the holidays. But did you know that food also has the power to help you feel joyous or entirely wreck your mood? As the adage goes, “You are what you eat.”
Diane M. Becker, MPH, ScD, and director of the Center for Health Promotion at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine agrees with that premise. She says eating a heart healthy diet high in fiber and low in saturated fat, is a great place to start to boost your mood.
Get a jump start on your holiday season with these healthy eats.
Folate, Vitamins B6 and B12
Are you feeling pale, depressed, tired or experiencing easy bruising or bleeding (including the gums) skin disorders such as eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis? Try getting more of the B vitamins.
In addition to these conditions, folate (folic acid), vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 may help fight birth defects, heart disease, colon and breast cancer and diseases of the central nervous system. Yet, only a fraction of U.S. adults currently get the recommended daily intake of all B vitamins by diet alone.
Folate is found naturally in fruits, vegetables, grains, and other foods. Folic acid is the synthetic that is added to food or used as an ingredient in vitamin supplements.
Although the research on chronic disease is mixed, and there is a heated debate in the health science community about the possibility to getting too much folic acid and the possible risks (some researchers believe too much folic acid can accelerate the growth of existing colorectal, breast and prostate tumors).
However, most researchers agree the evidence suggests that the amount of folic acid in a typical multivitamin does not cause any harm — and may even help prevent these diseases, especially among people who do not get enough folate through their diets, and among individuals who drink alcohol or smoke tobacco products.
In the United States, folic acid fortification of food has increased the percentage of adults who would otherwise not have adequate levels of folic acid in their blood.