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A steak against sadness

Against the Blue Monday mood swings, for nutritionist Bernardi is in the top ten foods that give happiness

16, Jan 2023

If you suddenly feel tired and melancholy, it could be due to Blue Monday, next January 16th which, according to experts, turns out to be the saddest day of the week of the year. There are some remedies, starting right from the table. Those who eat meat, for example, enjoy better mental health than those who exclude it from their diet.

In fact, meat, red meat in particular, is part of the top ten foods that give happiness, thanks to the richness of tryptophan, an essential amino acid capable of stimulating serotonin, the neurotransmitter of good mood, but also of group B vitamins, D, anti-stress minerals such as iron, zinc, copper, magnesium and selenium and omega 3 fats, all useful nutrients to lift your mood and fight depression. Omega 3 fatty acids of marine origin regulate dopaminergic and serotonergic neurotransmission, reducing depression and anxiety.

“Meat, especially beef, is also considered a good mood food in a recent international study - explains Elisabetta Bernardi, specialist in food science, biologist and nutritionist -. Moreover, our diet has a role in the prevention and treatment of behavioral disorders due to the essential role of nutrients in the neuroendocrine system".

"Nutrients - adds Bernardi - including tryptophan, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folic acid or folate, phenylalanine, tyrosine, histidine, choline and glutamic acid are necessary for the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, are involved in the regulation of mood, appetite and cognitive activity.Aminoacids, vitamins and protective substances such as choline, which protects memory and attention, of which meat is particularly rich, such as remainder other foods of animal origin”.

Confirmation of the effects of meat on good mood also comes from another study, in which US researchers examined the relationship between meat consumption and psychological health on a sample of over 160,000 participants from Europe, Asia, North America and Oceania , aged between 11 and 96, with the aim of demonstrating the effect of meat consumption on psychological well-being.

The results of the study showed that completely eliminating meat from one's diet can lead to a significantly higher risk of depression, anxiety and self-harm behavior due to the lack of essential nutrients and bioactive substances that meat provides more efficiently than other foods.

Scientific evidence has shown that, from an analysis of the risks and benefits deriving from the total elimination of meat from the diet, the risk of a lack of fundamental nutrients, such as vitamins B12 and D, Omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron and zinc with negative effects on physical health, both in adults and children. And not even regular supplementation with iron, zinc and B12 can offer real protection from any complications.

“The poor intake of zinc, iron, magnesium and vitamin B12 is a potential risk for mental health - underlines Bernardi -. The increased risk of depression with vegetarian and vegan diets is biologically plausible because vegetarians and vegans are at increased risk for suboptimal intakes of essential nutrients such as vitamin B12, iron and omega 3 fatty acids, which are needed for optimal functioning of the neuroendocrine system. In general, it has been seen that the Mediterranean diet is the best strategy for the health not only of the body, but also of the mind".

Rome, RM, Italy, 13/01/2023 12:50
EFA News - European Food Agency

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