healthy eating guidelines by MyNutriCounter

Can I Manage My Mood Through Food?

Your Diet and your Mood

It has been a long held belief that eating healthy and getting well-nourished not only leads to a healthy body but also a healthy state of mind – now there is a deeper meaning to this as emerging studies suggests that the nutrition we get from food also has a direct impact on our mood.
Research indicates that what we take in directly affects our mood, our predispositions such as likes, dislikes, tendencies and peculiarities, and as nutrition drives most of these influences on our brain, it can also drive our personality and behaviour.

All of our emotions and mood are governed by neurotransmitters such as Serotonin, Dopamine, Epinephrine, and Norepinephrine, and our diet has a profound effect on all of them.

Pick your Carbohydrates Wisely

Ahh, carbohydrates. For such an important part of our diet as humans, it really has earned an undesirable and unjustified reputation when it comes to our health. But be it as it may, Carbohydrates play a vital role not only in keeping our bodies running, but it also has a connection with our mood, and it’s all about tryptophan. Tryptophan is a non-essential amino acid which has a direct relation to how much serotonin is synthesized in our brain.

Here’s where the carbs come in, although tryptophan is found in almost all protein-rich foods, it’s not as good as the other amino acids in passing from the bloodstream into our brains, carbs play a role in eliminating that competition and in turn allows for more tryptophan to enter our brain and lead to a boost in our serotonin levels as well.

We have to carefully choose the carbs we consume, like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables which typically contain a good amount of vitamins and minerals, as well as an ample source of fibre.

Low-carb diets have been found to induce higher levels of fatigue, and a decreased desire to participate in activities, this has been identified in adults.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

In recent studies, researchers have noted a correlation between the increased intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and a reduction in the likelihood of depression. This is due to omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids’ direct influence on Dopamine and Serotonin levels and function, both are important neurotransmitters responsible for many of the brain’s function including mood and impulsivity. Aside from the fact that fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are a good source of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, they also have lots of other health benefits such as the protection against Cardiovascular diseases. One study points towards the beneficial effects of Omega-3 PUFA on decreasing triglyceride levels, lowering the risk of arrhythmias, slowing the growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque and lowering blood pressure as well. The DHA in fatty fish has shown to offer some protection against Alzheimer’s Disease, forms of dementia and general cognitive decline in multiple epidemiological studies. All of the results from consumption will have an effect, whether that be on your short term mood or how you are feeling in the future.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D increases serotonin levels in the brain. In some studies, researchers have observed that an increased Vitamin D intake tended to improve the mood of people who suffered from seasonal affective disorder. It is generally advised to get 600 IU of Vitamin D daily from fatty fish, cheese and egg yolks.

Micronutrients and your Mood

Thiamine – according to certain studies, insufficient amounts of thiamine is connected to introversion, inactivity, fatigue, decreased self-confidence and generally a poorer mood. You can prevent this by including foods rich in thiamine like cereal grains, yeast, potatoes, cauliflower, oranges, and eggs.

Iron – by now, it is already well established how paramount it is to get a healthy amount of iron in our diet. Iron is a key player in keeping our red blood cells healthy, and their ability to carry oxygen throughout our body. Iron deficiency leads to anaemia which can result in a depressed mood, lethargy, and problems with attention. You can top up on your Iron with foods such as nuts, dark green and leafy vegetables, meat and dried fruits.

Folic Acid – folic acid plays an important role in the brain development of babies and prevents neural tube defects in pregnancy, so it comes as no surprise that a deficiency in this nutrient affects the mood adversely, as it is also associated with a depressed mood. Foods rich in Folic Acid include dark and leafy vegetables, oranges and grapefruits, nuts, sprouts, and whole wheat breads.

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