Do leafy greens have an impact on mood?
We all know that we need to eat a diet rich in the essential nutrients to stay physically healthy, but it’s lesser known that we need certain food in our diet to stay mentally healthy.
An article by WebMD has referenced studies that suggest a Mediterranean diet rich in leafy greens can improve mood and lower the risk of depression.
While the studies do not suggest that following such a diet should be in any way a replacement for medical advice, it is thought that a healthy and balanced diet rich in vegetables and fruit can have a positive impact on mental and physical health. Despite the positive findings of these studies, it is thought that diet alone cannot elevate mood and that a good diet acts only as the positive foundation for good mental health.
Importance of vitamin K
A new article, as reported by NutraIngredients-USA, has suggested that many people, particularly older men, are unknowingly deficient in vitamin K.
The article is highlighting the importance of vitamin K as its been described by some as the “forgotten” vitamin, hence the increasing issue of deficiency. Vitamin K comes in two main forms, phylloquinone (vitamin K1) and menaquinones (vitamin K2). Vitamin K1 can be found in leafy green vegetables such as spinach and is important as it activates proteins that help the blood to clot. Vitamin K2 can be synthesised in the gut by the microflora and is important as it activates the proteins that take calcium to the bones and teeth and takes calcium out of the soft tissues including the arteries. Very little K1 is converted into K2, so it is essential that K2 is taken in the diet or through supplementation.
Vitamin K is important for a number of vital functions within the body such as contributing to normal blood clotting and the maintenance of normal bones, so deficiency in this vitamin is a real cause for concern.
Omega-3 for hair and skin
Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of 3 fats that cannot be made by the body and must be consumed in our diet; these fats are ALA (Alpha Linoleic Acid) EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexanoic acid). Each fat type is important for different functions within the body but a recent article by Healthline has suggested they have an important role in hair and skin health.
Several studies have observed positive effects on the skin when individuals supplement their diet with omega-3, which includes better moisturisation as it appears to improve the skin barrier function, sealing in moisture. It is even thought to help protect against sun damage as it reduces the skin’s sensitivity to UV rays.
As well as showing some signs of benefitting skin health, another study referenced in the Healthline article alludes to omega-3s and their potential in boosting hair growth.
While more research is needed across all of these points, it is already known to be important to sustain adequate omega-3 levels to maintain normal blood cholesterol levels and the normal function of the heart.
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Alison is Director and Founder of Metabolics who writes about Metabolics updates, events and natural healthcare. Her experience and passion for natural supplements and healthcare comes from her years of experience as a practising osteopath, having founded Metabolics in her search for high quality, natural products in her own work. Alison has been a qualified and practising Osteopath since 1981 and regularly gives seminars on a range of healthcare subjects to the wider practitioner community helping share her knowledge and experience.