We’ve probably all heard the saying you are what you eat? What about you feel like what you eat? The bottom line is our food choices can impact our mood. This is because nutrients have the ability to impact our brain’s chemistry, which ultimately affects how we feel.
What’s Happening in the Brain
Foods that contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourish the brain while processed foods and sugars can impair brain function.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that impacts moods among other things. Most of your serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract which has many neurons in it. Because of that, the digestive system guides emotions while working to digest food.
How and What to Eat
How you eat can make as much of a difference as what you eat. Eating at regular intervals can keep your energy up and makes sure your body has enough fuel. Start your day with breakfast. Some research shows eating breakfast can lead to a better mood.
Eat a bit of each food group and make sure you’re getting enough nutrients.
Good Mood Foods
Foods with omega-3 fatty acids like fatty fish, flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts can sometimes help improve your mood.
Eat brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Consume foods close to how they appear in nature. For example, an apple is closer to nature than apple juice.
Fish, poultry, eggs, leafy greens, and legumes contain lots of dopamine, which is a feel-good chemical. They also contain protein which can help slow how your body absorbs carbohydrates, increasing the release of dopamine and norepinephrine.
Magnesium-rich foods like almonds and spinach can help you sleep better, which in turn can improve mood.
Selenium is also important for moods. Taking too much selenium can be toxic, so try to get yours from food instead of supplements. Seafood, nuts and seeds, lean meats, whole grains, beans and legumes, and low-fat dairy products are selenium-rich.
Vitamin D comes from sunlight and it is also in milk, egg yolks, and soymilk. Keep an eye out for foods that contain folate and vitamin B-12. Vitamin D is important for your mood.
Fiber can slow down how the body absorbs sugar and increases serotonin. There is a lot of fiber in oats, beans, pears, peas, and brussel sprouts.
Fluids help the body flush bad things out, so be sure to drink lots of water each day.
Foods to Reduce
Some processed foods can lead to higher insulin levels and increase inflammation.
Try to avoid foods with added sugars and refined carbohydrates. Candy, soda, juices, and jams can cause blood sugar spikes, impacting mood. The same goes for refined starches like white bread, rice, and crackers.
Limit caffeine intake since too much caffeine can keep you awake at night and impact your mood. It provides a quick boost of energy but then suddenly drops off.
The professionals at B3 Medical can help you figure out what you should be eating. Nutrition counselors will help you through assessments to analyze your specific health needs.
Start your journey to better nutrition by contacting us today.