Calcium

The most abundant mineral in the body, calcium plays an important role in maintaining strong bones and healthy blood vessels, and in reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Low levels of calcium may play a role in premenstrual-syndrome-related depression in particular. (Sorry, guys, we couldn’t find data on whether calcium can also regulate mood fluctuations in men.) Calcium deficiency affects more women than men, so women should take special care to meet the daily requirements.

How eating it helps: Found in a variety of sources (nondairy included), calcium is often paired with Vitamin D to help regulate mood fluctuations attributed to PMS. Since estrogen plays a large role in calcium production, calcium consumption may improve PMS-related depression.

About the units used below: Mg (milligram) is the typical unit of measurement for nutrients, and 1,000 mg equals 1 gram. Mcg is the abbreviation for microgram, and 1,000 mcg equals 1 mg.)

Recommended Daily Allowance, or R DA: 1,000 mg per day for adults

Food sources of calcium :

?Collard greens, frozen (1 cup): 357 mg

?Ricotta, part skim (1 / 2 cup): 308 mg

?Yogurt, plain/low fat (3 / 4 cup): 310 mg

?Milk, low-fat (1 cup): 305 mg

?Kale, frozen (1 cup): 179 mg

Chromium

A trace mineral found in small amounts in the body, chromium helps metabolize food . A lack of chromium hurts the body’s ability to regulate insulin (the hormone that regulates sugar) and may lead to diabetes-related complications such as vision loss and high blood pressure.

How eating it helps: Chromium plays an important role in increasing the brain’s level of serotonin, norepinephrine and melatonin, which help regulate emotion and mood. Because chromium works directly with the brain’s mood regulators, it’s been found to be an effective treatment for depression.

RDA: 25 mcg per day for women; 35 mcg per day for men

Food sources of chromium :

?Broccoli (1 / 2 cup): 11 mcg

?Grape juice (1 cup): 8 mcg

?Whole-wheat English muffin (1 piece): 4 mcg

?Potatoes, mashed (1 cup): 3 mcg