'Happiness – the healthiest resolution for 2012'. Best wishes from GoodnessDirect

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GoodnessDirect wishes everyone a happy new year for 2012 with a range of nutritional advice on happiness.

The Vitamin C found in oranges produces endorphines

~ For a new year's resolution that is likely to last, choose to be happy ~

Happiness itself can lengthen life. Researchers at University College London suggest that a happy lifestyle could make someone 35% more likely to live longer.1 And even a moderately cheerful individual's chance of living longer might be 20% better.

It doesn't take a genius to work out that feeling good does the body good. The negative effects of stress are well documented. And the world authority on happiness, Professor Ed Diener from the University of Illinois, notes that happiness can prolong life by nine years - that's more than giving up smoking can achieve.2

~ The nutritional guide to happiness ~

Watching comedies, going for walks, aromatherapy, friendship - all can be said to improve one's state of mind, but a surprising source of happiness is the joy of food.

Carbs are generally understood to bring on feelings off happiness, they increase energy and bring a sense of satiation, but other foods can be helpful and more healthy. In effect, here's a shopping list for living happy for longer...

~ How about a new year's resolution to eat more chocolate? ~

Reaching for the chocolate is possibly a form of self-medication. Counting the calories may mean this doesn't happen too often but this food of the gods has a range of helpful endorphine releasing chemicals like anandamide and phenylethylamine, (particularly found in dark chocolate). It also increases serotonin which helps maintain that happy feeling.

However, another food which increases serotonin is yeast extract (aka marmite – that's why some people love it so much). It's the B vitamins in yeast that boost serotonin, and dopamine too, which plays another important role in emotional wellbeing.

~ Going nuts for nutrition ~

The line between being happy or being a bit nuts may have become more blurred. Researchers at the University of Barcelona found that 30g of raw, unpeeled walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts a day can produce positive health effects associated with serotonin.3

Fascinatingly just one brazil nut will usually deliver more than enough selenium for the day; but don't have too many, consuming too much selenium is actually bad for you.

Perhaps it's better to try walnuts for their folic acid content? It turns out that both selenium and folic acid are linked with an absence of depression. Walnuts could also help lift the mood by delivering a dose of tryptophan (also found in chocolate as the a key nutrient for encouraging serotonin). Other nuts like almonds and pistachios can provide B vitamins and help you induce better sleep and therefore help reduce feelings of stress.

In fact many nutritionists now advise eating nuts as part of a healthy diet. The trouble is that nuts aren't cheap. They can however be bought in bulk from online shops like http://www.goodnessdirect.co.uk/cgi-local/frameset/sect/FN-Nuts.html GoodnessDirect.co.uk or http://www.sumawholesale.com Suma Wholesale. (There's lots of chocolate available there too.)

~ Feeling fruity? ~

Naturally, fruit is another good source of B vitamins. Oranges provide this and the vitamin C they contain also produces endorphines. Strawberries might be considered an aphrodisiac because they are blessed with both vitamin C and colourful flavanoids which encourage a sense of bliss. Furthermore they contain potassium which benefits the brain's neuro-system.

Bananas are also full of potassium. They also provide vitamin B6, natural sugars for an energy boost, and starchy carbs that maintain energy and keep mood levels bouyant. The truth is that if you eat enough fruit and veg you shouldn't have to worry about getting any selenium in your diet at all.

Looking elsewhere, oily fish should be on the diet as well because of their healthy omega 3 fats. Interestingly, in Iceland, where they eat a lot of fish and it is dark for half the year, there is a fascinatingly low level of seasonal affective disorder. Omega 3 also has been noted to offer positive results when treating depression.

~ Fat and happy? ~

Finally, and perhaps most surprisingly, pasta is recommended for pleasure. Not only does it provide carbohydrate (for tryptophan) but also protein too. Protein is associated with good feelings because its amino acids increase endorphine levels.

Of course, don't forget to wash it all down with ice cream. Forget about its tryptophan, carbs, protein, B vitamins etc., ice cream eaters just feel happy naturally.

1. Positive affect measured using ecological momentary assessment and survival in older men and women PNAS 2011 108 (45) 18244-18248; published ahead of print October 31, 2011,
2. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/happiness_formula/4783836.stm Suma Wholesale
3. Metabolomics Unveils Urinary Changes in Subjects with Metabolic Syndrome following 12-Week Nut Consumption J. Proteome Res., 2011, 10 (11), pp 5047–5058

GoodnessDirect is the health and well-being haven with 1000s of foods available to be delivered to your door. We cater for customers of traditional foods, vegans and vegetarians, organic foodies, and those on a restricted diet such as gluten or dairy free. Our website features in-depth dietary information, so that you know exactly what you're getting, and we'll happily gift-wrap it for you to make a gift to your friends. Visit http://www.goodnessdirect.co.uk. Suma Wholesale

For more information or photos contact Tschaka Roussel-Milner
tschaka(dot)roussel(at)goodnessdirect(dot)co(dot)uk
0871 871 6611

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GoodnessDirect
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