The Secrets to Happiness Revealed – and one is Broccoli?

Health benefits of broccoli

Two new studies came out recently on foods that make us not only healthier, but happier human beings. And yes, one of those foods is broccoli! We’ll get to the other one in a minute.

Eating broccoli, along with other fruits and vegetables, has been linked to “eudaemonic well-being” – also known as feeling a sense of purpose and engagement with life, as well as curiosity and creativity. Researchers in New Zealand found that study participants who ate a lot of fruits and vegetables reported higher levels of creativity, curiosity and what they called “psychological flourishing.” Participants scored higher in these areas when they ate more vegetables, and lower on days that included more fried foods and desserts.

The real question is: Do healthier diets create a sense of engagement and positivity? Or, does being engaged and positive lead to eating better?

Try it yourself and see what you think!

The other dietary staple making the recent news is yogurt.

Recent scientific evidence indicates that the bacteria in our gastrointestinal tracts influence our emotions and even behavior. Depending on what types of bacteria are growing in your gut, you may crave more sweets or more fat, or even feel depressed.

In 2011, a study on depression was conducted to see if taking probiotic supplements reduced depression – it did. And, in 2013, UCLA produced a study reporting that women who ate yogurt every day experienced changes in the parts of their brains that process emotion.

It’s a little too early to say with certainty that you can toss your anti-depressants in favor of lactobacillus, but if you need a good-mood pick-me-up this week, try yogurt! And eat your vegetables.

Interested in other Good Mood Foods? Here are our previous posts on the topic.

Six Good Mood Foods to Chase Away Everyday Crankiness

The Best Diet & Fitness Regimen for Happiness

Foods to Give Spring to Your Step

Carbs, Comfort, and Cauliflower

 

Drink More Green Juice, Build More Resistance Against Pollutants

Kale Juice

In 2012, Tampa’s air quality was graded “F” for ozone pollution – and “F” doesn’t stand for “Fun.” Some environmentalists say that Tampa has the worst air quality in all of Florida (don’t feel too bad – we’re still ahead of Los Angeles and Atlanta). But what can you do if the air you breathe is toxic?

A lot.

I’m excited about  a recent clinical trial that proves what I’ve been saying all along: Juice is a powerful way for your body to cure itself! In the study, 300 Chinese adults drank either broccoli sprout juice for three months, or pineapple and lime juice for three months. Researchers tested the urine of both groups for two harmful chemicals found in air pollution (China has one of the worst air pollution levels of any country in the world) and found that the broccoli-imbibing group excreted much more benzene and acrolein than their pineapple-sipping pals.

Yes, Broccoli Juice effectively detoxes your body of two of the most common air pollutants.

Although broccoli was the hero of this study, the same compounds responsible for detoxing are also found in kale and cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy). The magic ingredient is glucoraphanin, which when eaten, causes another compound, sulforaphane, to flush out pollutants from the body.

The Best Part

The longer participants drank broccoli sprout juice, the more they excreted those pollutants – the rate of excretion of benzene increased 61 percent, and acrolein excretion increased 23 percent over the 12 week study. One of the researchers, Thomas Kensler, was quoted by NPR as saying:

“We thought the pathway might respond initially, and then the [compounds] would wear out their welcome and the body would tune out, but the effect was just as vigorous at the beginning as at the end, which suggests that over one’s lifetime, you could enhance this preventative activity in the body [with food].”

It’s official: The more green juice you drink, the more effective it is. Stock up today