When you feel down, it may be tempting to give into the urge and reach for a sugary, high-calorie snack that’s packed full of tasty goodness, but those snacks may carry negative consequences. Food can do wonders for our bodies and make us feel better than we actually thought we could. Did you know that food can help boost your mood?
If you’re feeling down and out, certain foods can help you feel better and more alive and awake!
Studies and research on the relationship between nutrition and mental health have been coming more to light within the past few years. Although, it’s important to note that mood can be due to many factors including stress, environment, poor sleep (which if you read my blogs, you’ll know that I mentioned this last time), genetics, and possibly nutritional deficiencies.
So let’s think about this….your brain is always on. It takes care of your thoughts, movements, heartbeat, breathing, and so much more. It is working hard 24-7 to keep you alive and working, so it needs a constant supply of fuel. Fuel comes from the food that we eat, and that food can make all the difference in how our brains react. Just like a car, your brain can be damaged if you ingest anything other than “premium fuel” (fruits, vegetables, lean meats). “Low premium fuel” (like stuff that is processed or packaged) can get to the brain and the brain has little ability to actually get rid of it or to even use it.
Diets high in refined sugars, like energy drinks or candy, can be harmful to the brain. Multiple studies have shown a link between diets high in refined sugars and impaired brain function, or can even make symptoms of depression or mood disorders worse.
If you feed your brain refined sugars and deprive it of good quality nutrition, free radicals can damage brain cells and contribute to brain tissue injury. What’s interesting is that until recently, the medical field did not fully recognize the true connection between mood and food.
Just to touch a bit more on the science side, Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and appetite, mediate moods, and inhibit pain. About 95% of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gastrointestinal tract. The gastrointestinal tract is lined with millions of tiny nerve cells that not only digest our food, but also guide our emotions. By feeding your body with “good bacteria” it helps promote your body to absorb the nutrients and activate neural pathways that lead directly to your brain.
Studies have also shown that the “western diet”, which is typically diets higher in processed foods and high-calorie foods, especially fast food, are linked closer with depression. A diet like the Mediterranean Diet, which is high in Omega 3 fatty acids as well as lean meats and fruits and vegetables, are linked with healthier, more active lifestyles.
When it comes to boosting your mood with food, there are plenty of healthy choices out there. Fatty fish like salmon or tuna have omega 3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA and are linked to lower levels of depression. Dark chocolate is rich in many mood-boosting compounds and it’s a great source of fuel for the brain. Other things like bananas, oats, berries, nuts, and seeds, and even coffee have been shown to help boost dopamine and norepinephrine, mood-boosting neurotransmitters.
Next time you’re feeling snacky and down, instead of reaching for processed and packaged snacks, try some of the mood-boosting treats. Trying out some of these mood-boosting foods may help kick-start a new positive routine! It may also help to preserve your body from receiving a personal injury. Incase you do and require legal help, contact your local personal injury lawyer such as Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC.