Comfort food is real, say scientists
Happy news for lovers of berries, tea, and chocolate. New research finds that the natural ingredients in these foods bear a striking chemical similarity to a widely used mood-stabilizing drug, and may have some of the same benefits.
"Molecules in chocolate, a variety of berries and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids have shown positive effects on mood," said Karina Martinez-Mayorga, Ph.D., leader of the research team. "In turn, our studies show that some commonly used flavor components are structurally similar to valproic acid." Valproic acid is used to manage mood swings in people with bipolar disorder. It is also prescribed to control seizures and migraines.
Martinez-Mayorga presented her findings at the the American Chemical Society meeting in Philadelphia, and noted that her research is preliminary -- that means patients shouldn't substitute food for prescription medicine. But in the quest for a healthy mind and body, omega-3-rich foods are a smart move anyway.