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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Andrew

Vegetarians appear to have a better overall mood when compared to omnivores. This may be due the consequences of eating more plants, such as higher serum carotenoid levels and increased serotonin in the brain. Conversely, part of this effect may be due to decreasing negative factors associated with meat, such as the anxiety producing chemical ractopamine, or the inflammatory arachidonic acid. New evidence suggests that our gut bacteria may actually be able to communicate with our brain to affect our mood. Certain odors appear to significantly affect our mood as well. Orange aromatherapy may decrease anxiety while increasing concentration, and lavender may be more effective than benzodiazepine drugs like valium. It appears however that you’ll have to do more than just sniff some saffron to improve PMS. Apple juice might improve the mood of Alzheimer’s patients (though not their memory). It appears music can be medicinal, but you might want to make it Mozart to maximize your mood.

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