A Vegetarian Diet and Its Effect On Your Mood

A Vegetarian Diet and Its Effect On Your Mood

What is the Big Idea?


Eating meat or fish can make a crab out of you, according to  a study published by Nutrition Journal.

Omnivorous diets are high in arachidonic acid (AA) which changes the brain in a way that affects mood. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), fats prevalent in fish, are suppose to combat the negative effects of AA. However, the study reported significantly worse moods in fish eaters than vegetarians despite higher intakes of EPA and DHA. This is the first study to examine the impact of a meat and fish diet on an omnivore's mood.

Thirty nine meat-eating participants were assigned to one of three diets. A control group ate meat, fish or poultry daily. A second group ate fish 3-4 times weekly but no meat. A third group ate strictly vegetarian. After two weeks, participants completed a questionnaire to assess their moods. The vegetarian group reduced their EPA, DHA and AA intake and the fish eaters increased their EPA and DHA intakes. The mood were unchanged for the omnivores and fish eaters but the vegetarians showed higher mood scores after two weeks.

What is the Significance?

"Reducing meat, fish, and poultry may improve some domains of short-term mood state in modern omnivores," the report concludes. "Exploring this phenomenon further is warranted, as reductions in dietary meat, fish, and poultry would not only reduce health risks but could benefit the environment as well."

Marion Nestle, nutritionist and NYU professor, argues that a vegetarian diet is indeed healthier. But small amounts of meat doesn't hurt. And in developing countries, "where kids don’t have enough food, a little meat thrown in makes a big nutritional difference."

Watch this video to hear Marion Nestle weigh in on the pros and cons of vegetarianism:


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Volcanoes to power bitcoin mining in El Salvador

The first nation to make bitcoin legal tender will use geothermal energy to mine it.

Credit: Aaron Thomas via Unsplash
Technology & Innovation

This article was originally published on our sister site, Freethink.

In June 2021, El Salvador became the first nation in the world to make bitcoin legal tender. Soon after, President Nayib Bukele instructed a state-owned power company to provide bitcoin mining facilities with cheap, clean energy — harnessed from the country's volcanoes.

The challenge: Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, a digital form of money and a payment system. Crypto has several advantages over physical dollars and cents — it's incredibly difficult to counterfeit, and transactions are more secure — but it also has a major downside.

Crypto transactions are recorded and new coins are added into circulation through a process called mining.

Crypto mining involves computers solving incredibly difficult mathematical puzzles. It is also incredibly energy-intensive — Cambridge University researchers estimate that bitcoin mining alone consumes more electricity every year than Argentina.

Most of that electricity is generated by carbon-emitting fossil fuels. As it stands, bitcoin mining produces an estimated 36.95 megatons of CO2 annually.

A world first: On June 9, El Salvador became the first nation to make bitcoin legal tender, meaning businesses have to accept it as payment and citizens can use it to pay taxes.

Less than a day later, Bukele tweeted that he'd instructed a state-owned geothermal electric company to put together a plan to provide bitcoin mining facilities with "very cheap, 100% clean, 100% renewable, 0 emissions energy."

Geothermal electricity is produced by capturing heat from the Earth itself. In El Salvador, that heat comes from volcanoes, and an estimated two-thirds of their energy potential is currently untapped.

Why it matters: El Salvador's decision to make bitcoin legal tender could be a win for both the crypto and the nation itself.

"(W)hat it does for bitcoin is further legitimizes its status as a potential reserve asset for sovereign and super sovereign entities," Greg King, CEO of crypto asset management firm Osprey Funds, told CBS News of the legislation.

Meanwhile, El Salvador is one of the poorest nations in North America, and bitcoin miners — the people who own and operate the computers doing the mining — receive bitcoins as a reward for their efforts.

"This is going to evolve fast!"
NAYIB BUKELE

If El Salvador begins operating bitcoin mining facilities powered by clean, cheap geothermal energy, it could become a global hub for mining — and receive a much-needed economic boost in the process.

The next steps: It remains to be seen whether Salvadorans will fully embrace bitcoin — which is notoriously volatile — or continue business-as-usual with the nation's other legal tender, the U.S. dollar.

Only time will tell if Bukele's plan for volcano-powered bitcoin mining facilities comes to fruition, too — but based on the speed of things so far, we won't have to wait long to find out.

Less than three hours after tweeting about the idea, Bukele followed up with another tweet claiming that the nation's geothermal energy company had already dug a new well and was designing a "mining hub" around it.

"This is going to evolve fast!" the president promised.

How Pfizer and BioNTech made history with their vaccine

How were mRNA vaccines developed? Pfizer's Dr Bill Gruber explains the science behind this record-breaking achievement and how it was developed without compromising safety.

How Pfizer and BioNTech made history with their vaccine
Sponsored by Pfizer
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