Quentin Bacon

Exciting news for berry, tea, and chocolate lovers. New research finds that the natural ingredients in these foods bear a striking chemical similarity to a widely used prescription mood-stabilizing drug, and may have some of the same benefits.

“Molecules in chocolate, a variety of berries and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids have shown positive effects on mood. In turn, our studies show that some commonly used flavor components are structurally similar to valproic acid,” said Karina Martinez-Mayorga, Ph.D., leader of a research team that has been studying the effects of flavors on mood. Valproic acid is used to manage mood swings in people with . It is also prescribed to control seizures and migraines.

Martinez-Mayorga presented her findings at the the American Chemical Society meeting in Philadelphia, and noted that her research is preliminary; patients should never substitute food for prescription medicine. However, in the quest for a healthy mind and body, chocolate, berries, tea, and omega-3-rich foods are a smart move anyway.