The Food/Mood Connection

No question that what you eat can affect how you feel, right?

Mental health and brain health are both extremely complex. So are the foods we eat, and the ways our bodies interact with those foods.  While, we don’t know the exact mechanisms how food and nutrition help, we do know a few ways that food impacts our moods.

First, what we eat becomes the raw materials for our neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are biochemical messengers that allow our nerve cells to communicate. They are important not just for thinking and memory, but also for mental health.

Second, what we eat affects our blood sugar. And having unstable blood sugar levels can contribute to mood swings.

Let’s talk about mood-boosting and mood-busting foods.

Mood-boosting Foods

  1. Some nutrient deficiencies look like mental health problems; this includes deficiencies in B-vitamins, vitamin D, and the mineral selenium. So, getting enough vitamins, minerals, (and other things like antioxidants) are key. These nutrients not only reduce inflammation but also fuel the biochemical reactions in our bodies, including those that create neurotransmitters. So make sure you’re eating a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. Studies show that people who eat the most fruits and vegetables are the happiest.Also pay special attention to vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin), as it’s not naturally occurring in too many foods. Selenium is an essential mineral found in Brazil nuts, walnuts, cod, and poultry. Try to add some of those to your weekly diet.

  2. Make sure you get enough protein. Protein is your body’s main supply of amino acids. Amino acids are very important for mood issues because they are the building blocks of neurotransmitters. Protein also helps to regulate blood sugar. I recommend eating protein with every meal; this includes dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, poultry, and meat.

  3. Complex carbohydrates like sweet potato and quinoa are great, too. They allow better absorption of key amino acids like tryptophan. Tryptophan is used by your body to make serotonin (your feel happy hormone) and melatonin (your sleepy time hormone). So, if you want to relax, try these in the evening.

  4. Fish and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids (nuts, seeds, and algae) are also mood-boosting. Omega-3s are definitely brain food and may help to ease some symptoms.

  5. Make sure you’re hydrated. Mild dehydration can cause mood issues as well.

Mood-busting Foods

You won’t be surprised to hear me say processed foods are mood-busters, right? One study suggests that eating a lot of processed foods devoid of nutrients can increase your chances of becoming depressed by as much as 60 percent! This is on top of the research that shows nutrient deficiencies can look like mental health problems.

“But it makes me feel good!”

 Yes, some of these mood-busters can make you feel better temporarily. Some big food companies study how to maximize the “pleasure” centers with the perfect amount of sugar, salt, and fat. Not to mention the color, texture, and taste; they can light up our taste buds and make us feel good…for now.

A few other things to avoid are:

●     Alcohol – (nervous system depressant)

●     Caffeine – (may worsen anxious feelings and ability to sleep)

●     Sugar – (messes with your blood sugar and can worsen inflammation).

TL;DR –

Bad moods can lead to bad eating habits; and, bad eating habits can lead to bad moods. If you need a mood boost, stick to minimally processed nutrient-dense whole foods. Things like fresh fruit and vegetables (including leafy greens), nuts and seeds, eggs, fish, poultry, and meat. Avoid common mood-busting foods like alcohol, caffeine, and sugar.

And remember, sometimes “feel good” junk foods, only make you feel good temporarily.

See my recipe for mood-boosting fruit salad!

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/food-and-mood

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/how-to-fight-depression-naturally-with-nutrition

https://nutritionfacts.org/video/foods-increase-happiness/

Pssst… Want my printable healthy recipe book?

It’s all yours. You’ll find it in my free resource library… get access here

 

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site. 

Reduce Inflammation With These Key Foods

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may make a commission if you purchase an item through one of my links. This does not increase the price of the item for you. Read more about this on my Policy and Disclosure page.

Inflammation – one of the most common reasons people struggle to lose weight, yet the least likely to be addressed by popular weight loss methods.

Scientists have been measuring levels of inflammation in our bodies and finding that it can be pretty bad for our health; this is especially true when it’s chronic inflammation, meaning it’s constant!

Inflammation has been linked to obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes, just to name a few conditions. It’s been linked to artificial sweeteners.

This week I’m sharing some foods packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants that are proven to help reduce it?

Here are my top anti-inflammatory food recommendations:

Anti-inflammatory Food #1: Berries, Grapes, and Cherries

Berries, grapes, and cherries are packed with fiber, and antioxidant vitamins (like vitamin C) and minerals such as manganese. They’re also rich in phytochemicals! Many antioxidants, such as anthocyanins and resveratrol, are found in these small and delicious fruits.

In fact, berries, grapes, and cherries may be the best dietary sources of these amazingly healthy compounds.

Anti-inflammatory Food #2: Broccoli and Peppers

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that contains the antioxidant sulforaphane. This anti-inflammatory compound is associated with reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.

Bell peppers, on the other hand, are one of the best sources of the antioxidants vitamin C and quercetin.

Just make sure to choose red peppers over the other colors.  Peppers that are any other color are not fully ripe and won’t have the same anti-inflammatory effect.

I pack these two super-healthy vegetables together in this week’s recipe! (Click here!)

Anti-inflammatory Food #3: Healthy Fats (avocado, olive oil, fatty fish)

Choosing the right fats is so important for your health as trans fat can be terribly inflammatory, while unsaturated ones, can be highly anti-inflammatory, including omega-3s. These are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

Opt for fresh avocados, extra virgin olive oil, small fish (such as sardines and mackerel, and wild fish like salmon. Oh and don’t forget the omega-3 seeds like chia, hemp, and flax!

Anti-inflammatory Food #4: Green Tea

Green tea contains the anti-inflammatory compound called epigallocatechin-3-gallate, otherwise known as EGCG. which has been linked to reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, and Alzheimer’s.

Drinking steeped green tea is great, but have you tried matcha green tea? It’s thought to contain even higher levels of antioxidants than regular green tea.

Get my recipe for Matcha Latte!

Anti-inflammatory Food #5 – Turmeric

Would a list of anti-inflammatory foods be complete without mentioning turmeric?  Turmeric contains the antioxidant curcumin. This compound has been shown to reduce the pain of arthritis, as well as have anti-cancer and anti-diabetes properties. I’ve added it to my broccoli and pepper recipe for a 1-2-3 punch, to kick that inflammation. Try my Golden Milk recipe!

Related: Learn more about turmeric

Anti-inflammatory Food #6: Dark Chocolate

Ok, ok. This *may* be slightly more decadent than my #1 pick of berries, grapes, and cherries.

Dark chocolate, with at least 70% cocoa is packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants (namely flavonols). These reduce the risk of heart disease by keeping your arteries healthy. They’ve even been shown to prevent neuro-inflammation, which is inflammation of the brain and nerves. Reducing neuro-inflammation may help with long-term memory, and reduce the risk of dementia and stroke.

Make sure you avoid the sugary candy bars. You already know those aren’t going to be anti-inflammatory!

TL;DR

There are just so many amazingly delicious and nutritious anti-inflammatory foods you can choose. They range from colorful berries, vegetables, and spices, to healthy fats, and even cocoa.

You have so many reasons to add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet to get your daily dose of anti-inflammation.

See my recipe for anti-inflammatory Broccoli and Pepper Quinoa

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/13-anti-inflammatory-foods/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4717884/

https://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-green-tea/

https://authoritynutrition.com/matcha-green-tea/

http://neurotrition.ca/blog/brain-food-essentials-cacao

http://leesaklich.com/foods-vs-supps/foods-vs-supplements-the-turmeric-edition/

 

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site. 

RELATED POSTS

Meal Planning as Self-Care

Meal Planning as Self-Care

Self care is about taking good care of yourself and treating yourself as kindly as you treat others. Self-care is about making our own well-being a priority.  So why do so many of us put our needs at the bottom of the list, allowing ourselves to be in a constant state...

read more
Paleo Chocolate Cherry Brownies

Paleo Chocolate Cherry Brownies

Baking Bread at Home Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed nec diam ultricies, scelerisque arcu quis, mattis purus. Morbi tellus nibh, sollicitudin a gravida quis, commodo eget eros. Servings 9 Ready In: 45 minutesCalories: 610 Good For:...

read more

No Results Found

The page you requested could not be found. Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post.

Hey there!

I’m Laurie Mallon, I’m an ACE-certified personal trainer, certified yoga instructor, and believer that there isn’t ONE single way for you to be healthy.

I want all women to feel supported, respected, and empowered on their individual paths to wellness!

 

Don’t Wait Any Longer.

Start Living Better Today!