How the world looks at good health and wellness is becoming more and more holistic. Health-conscious buyers are looking more and more for natural foods and supplements that reinforce wellness on many different levels. Your body functions like a fine-tuned orchestra. Various parts of your body are like each player, the nerve system is like the conductor, and the body’s innate intelligence is like the score or master sheet of music/information. The nutrients and food you consume daily play an essential part in this orchestra and underline the synergism between nutrient-dense food and overall health. Let’s talk about a particular vitamin that is not a vitamin in the traditional sense of the word – vitamin F. Vitamin F is vital for good emotional health and is essential in many areas to your body’s overall wellness. But first, let’s lay some groundwork.
What is Vitamin F?
Vitamin F consists of two essential fatty acids – alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid, and linoleic acid (LA), an omega-6 fatty acid, both of which are incredibly important to our emotional health. One can gain health benefits such as reduced inflammation and aid in blood sugar control by filling their diet with foods high in vitamin F. ALA is a member of the omega-3 essential fatty acid family. At the same time, LA belongs to the omega-6 family.
Foods High in Vitamin F
Some fantastic foods that are a good source of vitamin F include avocados, almonds, chia seeds, and all types of sprouts. Animal products, such as eggs, grass-fed meat, fish, and dairy products, contribute to ALA and LA. However they are mainly higher in other types of omega-3 and omega-6 fats (R). Others are as follows:
Below are the amounts of LA in some foods:
- Organic Soybean oil: 7 grams of LA per tablespoon (15 ml) (R)
- Cold-press Extra Virgin Olive oil: 10 grams of LA per tablespoon (15 ml) (R)
- Sunflower seeds: 11 grams of LA per ounce (28 grams) (R)
- Pecans: 6 grams of LA per ounce (28 grams) (R)
- Almonds: 3.5 grams of LA per ounce (28 grams) (R)
Some foods high in LA also contain ALA – usually in lesser amounts. Higher amounts of ALA foods are:
- Flaxseed oil: 7 grams of ALA per tablespoon (15 ml) (R)
- Flax seeds: 6.5 grams of ALA per ounce (28 grams) (R)
- Chia seeds: 5 grams of ALA per ounce (28 grams) (R)
- Hemp seeds: 3 grams of ALA per ounce (28 grams) (R)
- Walnuts: 2.5 grams of ALA per ounce (28 grams) (R)
Signs of a Vitamin F Deficiency
Even though a Vitamin F deficiency is rare, below are some of the signs and symptoms of Vitamin F Deficiency.
- Skin that is dry, flaky, rough or scaly
- Eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis
- Eyes that feel dry or gritty, dry tear ducts
- Dry, lifeless, or brittle hair, split ends
- Hair loss
- Brittle or cracked nails
- Dry mouth, throat, mucous membranes
- Poor wound healing
- Bleeding gums, easy bruising
- Frequent colds, infections, sickness
- Depression, lack of motivation
- Forgetfulness, short attention span
- FEMALE: Premenstrual syndrome
- FEMALE: Difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term
Vitamin F Is Vital for Good Emotional Health
When talking about the subject of well-being and emotional health, one cannot over-stress the importance of the food-mood connection. This reason is that your emotions and moods are deeply tied to what you put into your body. Depression, anxiety, and stress can affect biomarkers linked to disease risk and worsen symptoms and difficulties of chronic diseases. And, of course, your mood tends to affect other health-related behaviors. The state of your mind undoubtedly influences exercise, social connections, and eating habits.
The food-mood connection is not just a one-way street. Just as certain foods can provide a positive outcome, such as reduced cholesterol or improved blood pressure, some foods can also lessen depression or reduce anxiety. Many of the foods known to facilitate the prevention and management of disease can provide emotional health benefits too. In other words, foods can keep you well and make you feel better – mind, body, spirit, and soul.
Let’s look at some nutrients that offer a comprehensive balance of physical, mental, and emotional benefits.
Other Nutrients Good For Emotional Health
Vitamin D is very well known for its role in calcium absorption and bone health, vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is also necessary for good emotional health. Studies have shown over and over the correlation between vitamin D deficiency and depression. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) — feelings of depression typically occurs during low-sunlight months — may have a vitamin D deficiency correlation. Even though the root cause of SAD remains unknown, there is a high probability that vitamin D is crucial in the production of serotonin which is a neurotransmitter often referred to as the “happy chemical.” Serotonin is known to support feelings of well-being as well as contentment. When adequate sun exposure is not practiced, or dietary intake of Vitamin D is low, serotonin levels can fall, often resulting in depressed mood and energy levels (R).
Foods for Emotional Health: Vitamin D is not found in many foods. Try to boost your intake by consuming fatty fish (like wild-caught salmon and tuna) and organic dairy products. You’ll also get small amounts in organic egg yolks and some mushrooms (R). The best way to get enough Vitamin D is through sunlight and supplementing with a high-quality Vitamin D-3.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Usually known for their ability to stave off heart disease and reduce the risk of cognitive decline, omega-3 fatty acids also play a role in mood stability (R). Several studies suggest omega-3’s in the form of Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can be highly effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression (R).
Foods for Emotional Health: Dietary sources of the omega-3’s EPA and DHA are limited, and high-quality supplements offer a good alternative. Both EPA and DHA are primarily found in fatty cold-water fish, like salmon, mackerel, and tuna (R).
While vitamin C is not often thought of as an essential vitamin for emotional health, we know it’s required to produce the vital neurotransmitters – serotonin, dopamine, and a stress hormone and neurotransmitter, norepinephrine. While serotonin promotes a sense of well-being, dopamine – “the reward chemical” – contributes to feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. Low levels of norepinephrine are linked to decreased drive and motivation and increased depression (R). A 2018 study proved that when vitamin C intake increased, feelings of depression, confusion, and sadness went down (R).
Foods for Emotional Health: Citrus fruits, bell peppers, strawberries, kiwi, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and tomatoes (R).
Vitamin B6 is needed for the metabolism of protein and hemoglobin formation. It is also required for the production and functioning of several neurochemicals, from serotonin and norepinephrine to melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone mainly responsible for regulating your circadian rhythm, which is your sleep-wake cycle. Some studies also demonstrate a possible link between melatonin levels and anxiety symptoms (R)(R). Since vitamin B6 is integral in cognitive processing, deficiency can cause depression, anxiety, irritability, and increased feelings of pain (R).
Foods for Emotional Health: A well-balanced diet usually provides an adequate amount of vitamin B6 since it is present in small amounts in a wide variety of foods and food groups. Choose from sources, like grass-fed meat and cold-water fish, chickpeas, and potatoes (R).
Zinc usually gets attention for its immune-boosting qualities. However, zinc is one of the most plentiful minerals found in the brain and plays an integral role in overall neurological health. A zinc deficiency is related to an increased risk of depression and increased feelings of anger and aggression (R).
Foods for Emotional Health: Include a balance of protein foods in your diet, from meat and seafood to nuts, seeds (especially pumpkin seeds), legumes, and organic dairy (R).
Carbohydrates can be crave-worthy for many reasons, and their effect on mood-boosting is note-worthy. Carbs release serotonin which is often called the feel-good neurotransmitter. Complex carbohydrates that help promote stable blood sugar levels after a meal will benefit both serotonin production and mood and energy stability throughout the day (R).
Foods for Emotional Health: Opt for whole grains and fresh fruits, vegetables, and legumes in various forms. These foods will likely offer micronutrient bonus points that further support mood stability (R).
Probiotics, often called good bacteria, are “organisms and substances that have a beneficial effect on the host animal by contributing to its intestinal microbial balance,” according to a report written by Parker, R. B. in the journal Animal Nutrition and Health. Also, probiotic bacteria may potentially change brain neurochemistry and treat anxiety and depression-related disorders, according to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Consequently, an extended state of anxiety often goes hand-in-hand with digestive issues like constipation or irritable bowel syndrome. I highly recommend Floratrex™ as the absolute best daily probiotic available.
Foods for Emotional Health: Sauerkraut, sour pickles, bananas, miso soup, nut milk yogurt, and coconut kefir.
We are very fortunate that our Creator gave us nutrient-dense foods that can positively impact our emotional health. In fact, there is excellent scientific evidence that food and mood are closely linked. What you put into your body is vital to your overall health and well-being. Food is medicine. Never forget that vitamin F is vital for good emotional health — it’s an excellent idea to include Vitamin F in your personal health and wellness protocol.
Feeling down every once in a while is a part of life. However, when emotions such as hopelessness, despair, depression, and anxiety become over-powering, you may be suffering from an emotional issue that qualifies as a case of clinical depression or anxiety. Keep in mind that counseling by a trusted pastor, professional counselor, or a trusted healthcare professional is often needed to help overcome these over-powering emotions. If this is the case in which you currently find yourself, I encourage you to seek help immediately — today.
There are a variety of depression hotline numbers available to anyone across the country who is in need.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) Helpline: 1-800-662-4357
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
- Samaritans: 1-877-870-4673
- National Hopeline Network: 1-800-442-4673
- Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255