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Have Chocolates, Berries and Omega-3 Foods for Positive Mood

Update Date: Aug 20, 2012 01:28 AM EDT

Had enough of the unpredictable mood-swings? This might be good news for you.

A new research has found possibly mood-enhancing flavors in natural ingredients with a striking chemical similarity to valproic acid, used for stabilizing mood.

According to scientists, this could have the same effect as previously reported for chocolate, teas and some other known comfort foods.

The study included an examination of 1,700 plus substances which make up the flavors of common foods.

 "Molecules in chocolate, a variety of berries and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids have shown positive effects on mood. In turn, our studies show that some commonly used flavor components are structurally similar to valproic acid," said Karina Martinez-Mayorga, Ph.D., leader of a research team that has been studying the effects of flavors on mood. She described research done while working at the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, and now is with the Chemistry Institute at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, according to Medical Xpress.

Valproic acid is used to stabilize mood swings in people with manic-depressive disorder and related conditions.

"The large body of evidence that chemicals in chocolate, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, teas and certain foods could well be mood-enhancers encourages the search for other mood modulators in food," noted Martinez-Mayorga.

Martinez-Mayorga also pointed out that there is an increasing need and research going on for mood stabilizers in not just the the pharmaceutical industry, but in the food and beverage industries as well.

While the food industry focuses on mild mood changes, foods with mood altering properties have been recognized by people for years.

Now apart from Martinez-Mayorga's team, there are other research groups as well, which are actively involved in finding the chemical compounds that could moderate mood swings, improve mental alertness and delay the onset of memory loss, the report said.

For the study, the researchers study screened the chemical structures of more than 1,700 food flavor ingredients to look for similarities with antidepressants.

So far, then researchers in the ongoing study have been involving valproic acid, but they say that they plan to soon move to other areas of analyzing the database.

"It is important to remember that just eating foods that may improve mood is not a substitute for prescribed antidepressive drugs," Martinez-Mayorga cautioned.

She also notes that people who do not require medication can simply boost up their moods by living a healthful lifestyle.

The study was presented at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

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