Food & Your Mood: Yes, they are connected!
Did you know that the connection between diet and emotion actually stems from the relationship between your brain and your gastrointestinal tract?
Let us explain how that works:
(Definition taken from Aetna)
"Your GI tract is home to billions of bacteria that influence the production of neurotransmitters, chemical substances that constantly carry messages from the gut to the brain."
Eating healthy food daily promotes the growth of "good" bacteria and that good bacteria positively affects your neurotransmitter production. Where on the flip side, a diet of junk food causes inflammation that negatively affects your neurotransmitter production.
When neurotransmitter production is in good shape, your brain receives these positive messages loud and clear, and your emotions reflect it. But when production goes awry, so might your mood.
Your diet doesn’t just impact your physical health, it can greatly influence your mental health, too. These effects steamroll into all aspects of life, including quality of mood at home and performance at work.
FUEL YOUR BRAIN AND SUPPORT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH.
Like any other body part, the brain functions best with GOOD food, good FUEL. A proper diet that contains essential vitamins, antioxidants and other micronutrients nourishes and protects the brain from stress and inflammation that can DAMAGE your brain cells.
Today we’re diving into how you can care for your brain with mindful eating and nourishment at home, school or the office.
Serotonin is the “feel good” chemical in bananas responsible for helping you feel focused, emotionally stable, happier and calmer.
You may not feel an immediate change in your mood after enjoying a banana, but this “mood food” plays a role in topping up your serotonin levels.
Blueberries are the bee’s knees in increasing blood flow to the key areas of the brain, which can improve your memory and attention span.
Blueberries have also been shown to offer brain health benefits including lowering dementia risks, preventing age-related memory loss and improving mental health.
Remember: blueberries = brain health.
3. Whole Grains
Who doesn’t love an excuse to eat a “good carb”? Whole grains can help reduce depression and anxiety by relaxing the brain and improving your mood.
And, thanks to its equally high production of melatonin, whole grains can also help you maintain a steady sleep cycle, resulting in a better, emotional state.
There's a reason avocado toast is so popular, friend! Avocados not only taste great, but they are also a versatile superfood that can be enjoyed on their own or in a recipe for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack!
Being rich in vitamin K, folate and healthy fats, avocados improve cognitive brain functions and help keep your blood sugar and mood steady.
Try whipping yourself up this creamy avocado chocolate mousse as the perfect snack any time of day - it is delicious and the perfect way to use up any avocados that are too ripe!
You'll fill those chocolate cravings and be fueling your brain with lots of good stuff, improving your concentration and memory!
5. Dark Chocolate (ding, ding, ding!)
Now you don’t need an excuse to indulge in your favourite treat! Not only is dark chocolate quite nutritious, but it also improves blood flow to your brain. This allows for an increase in attention span, processing speed, working memory and verbal fluency. And it tastes great!
BONUS TIP: Water (because it's essential for mental & physical wellness!)
Did you know that even mild dehydration can result in brain fog, headache, fatigue, muscle weakness, rapid heartbeat and more?! Be sure to drink plenty of water all day long to keep your brain and body in tip-top shape, help keep anxiety at bay, and boost your energy levels so you can keep up with those never-ending "things to do".
When people think of a "healthy diet", it is common to focus on foods that are geared towards weight loss. It's important to understand how food choices affect your brain. Try to integrate many of the foods on this list into your diet and see if there are positive results for your mental health and improved brain function.
So the next time you go grocery shopping, try adding one or two of these foods to your grocery list!