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7 Mood Boosting Foods

There are two nutrition-based approaches a person can take when trying to improve their mood naturally—without drugs or pharmaceuticals. One way is to use supplements and individual nutrients to adjust the specific neurotransmitters that help determine our mood. We can think of the three primary mood related neurochemicals—dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine—as primary colors that combine in different concentrations to create what we interpret as our mood. They all mix and mingle and interact.

But trying to modulate each specific neurotransmitter to the perfect degree using specific nutrients and supplements is harder than you think. Top down orchestration of complex neurochemistry is unreliable and prone to side effects. Just look at the how the pharmaceutical single-minded focus on serotonin to combat depression has failed. Do you think you can do the same thing using supplements and get it right?

Another way, a better way, is to look at foods that have been shown to improve mood without worrying so much about their specific effect on individual neurochemicals. It turns out there is a large trove of research on the topic and we have a fairly good idea about the foods that can boost and support our mood.

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8 Reasons You Need to Be Eating Avocado

Avocado is one of those foods that almost every dietary ideology agrees is good for you. Vegans, vegetarians, paleos, Mediterranean diet espousers, and keto diet fans all promote avocados as a “good fat.” Even the USDA dietary committee wants people eating avocados. But most avocado discussion stops there. It’s “good for you” and that’s about all you hear about the avocado. I’m as guilty as the next man, seeing as how my main focus is on avocado oil used as the basis of most Primal Kitchen products.

But the human research convincingly shows that avocados—the whole fruit—are incredibly healthy and nutrient-dense additions to anyone’s diet. Unless you have a specific reason for not eating them, you should be eating avocados on a regular basis. Here are some evidence-based reasons why this is the case:

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What Is Yoga Nidra

What mental image does the word “yoga” conjure for you? Probably a spandex-clad individual in downward dog or balancing on one leg in tree pose. Or maybe they’re in a complicated full-body knot that requires five times more flexibility than you’ve ever had? Does it look like hard work? 

That’s certainly one version of yoga, the kind that dominates the modern notion of yoga in the West, but it’s not at all what we’re talking about today. 

What if I told you that there is another kind of yoga, one in which you don’t move at all? You don’t even sit or stand; you lie down the whole time. That’s yoga nidra. “Yoga nidra” literally means “yogic sleep,” sometimes translated as “conscious sleep.” The goal of yoga nidra is to achieve an altered state of awareness where you are neither awake nor asleep but in a liminal space in between—or maybe surpassing both. (Technically, the term refers to the state of consciousness beyond wakefulness or sleeping. That is, “yoga nidra” is the destination, not the journey it takes to get there. But in common parlance, people use it to mean the entire practice.) 

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New and Noteworthy: What I Read This Week—Edition 209

Research of the Week
More good news about Covid immunity.

The case studies about using ketogenic diets for binge eating are impressive.

Fructose may bear some responsibility for Alzheimer’s.

Getting a Michelin star might make a restaurant more likely to fail.

Hominins were using stone tools to butcher large prey a million years earlier than expected.

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All About the New Weight Loss Drugs

The United States and much of the industrialized world has an obesity problem. The environment is obesogenic. The food is delicious and engineered by PhDs to target and titillate our brain reward systems. The portions are enormous. Half of our waking hours are devoted to sitting slumped over in a chair staring into an electronic device—for work and for pleasure. We eat carbs we don’t need, use seed oils in quantities our bodies haven’t adapted to handling, and largely avoid the most important food our ancestors evolved consuming: animal protein. The cheapest food is the worst and the healthiest is the most expensive.

It’s a big mess, and many people resist the dietary and lifestyle changes required to fix the issue. It’s no wonder many people have been hoping for a pill or medication that fixes the obesity problem. 

Over the last few years, scientists appear to have found a class of medications that can help: GLP-1 agonists like semaglutide (sold as Ozempic® and Wegovy®) and liraglutide (aka Victoza® and Saxenda®). Hollywood celebrities and fashion models are taking these drugs in vast quantities. Silicon Valley tech circles are taking them—Elon Musk, most famously, is on semaglutide. In short, almost everyone with the money and access and weight to lose is using semaglutide and related drugs to stay thin. I know several docs who prescribe it for overweight patients.

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New and Noteworthy: What I Read This Week—Edition 208

Research of the Week
Humans got a lot of their circadian genes from Neanderthals.

Caffeine is anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective.

Scientists urge regulation of eugenic technologies.

Low-carb, high-fat works, but only if you stay on it.

More air pollution, more anxiety.

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