Food has the power to affect not your body but your brain too. It is dismaying to know that the importance of food is just associated with your physical appearance. But if we observe closely then food has the power to feed your mood and thinking. Food is not just about a source of energy which keeps us alive. It is beyond that. So, let’s discover what experts say about it.
According to Dr. Drew Ramsey, a psychiatrist (nutritional psychiatrist) and founder of The Brain Food Clinic, says that the correlation of food (nutrition) and brain (mind) is extremely important and relevant too. Like depression, a mental illness, the most disabling disorder for mankind has been closely associated with nutrients.
A poor diet in terms of nutrition will keep you baffled, irritated, anxious, whereas a diet that fulfills your nutritional requirements will bring in better sleep, mental health and physical health.
How Are Mood And Food Connected ?
Food fuels our body with the help of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, carbs, proteins, and fats. Food is crucial for all activities as it provides energy and nutrients to the human body and mind.
Whenever we talk about diet and eating habits its focus remains the physical aspects like losing or gaining weight, but we hardly acknowledge the effect it creates on our mental health.
Recently, in the last few years nutritional psychiatry is studying the effect of food on your thinking and mood. The research shows that nutrition plays a very crucial role in maintaining your brain health.
Good and nutritious food also referred as Power players by Dr.Drew Ramsey, should do two things for a you :
- Food should feed the gut microbes that fight inflammation (related to depression, stress, dementia)
- Food that put the brain in grow mode
This will help in reducing the signs and symptoms of chronic inflammation. That will help in absorption of serotonin from the gut ( 90% of serotonin is produced by the gut). Serotonin is also known as Mood Stabilizer Hormone. Gut produces serotonin from Tryptophan, an essential amino acid obtained from diet only.
Food And Diets That Uplifts Your Mood
It has been observed western diet pattern has made people indulgent in consuming precooked, preserved food laden with preservatives and additives. Whereas a traditional diet pattern like traditional mediterranean diet or traditional japanese diet has shown positive effect in battling your mood, depression and anxiety. Almost 25-35% people have shown improvement in their condition following a traditional diet.
The traditional diets are effective because
- They contains the power players (food that feed your gut and brain)
- Easy to access
- Easy to cook
- Include fresh and organic products, not too much processed or preserved food. Thus free from chemicals, pesticides, additives etc. these are usually carcinogenic and diabetic in nature.
Nutrients That Foster Your Mood
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the brain as it improves neurotransmission and reduces inflammation causing cytokines in the brain. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids not produced by humans but obtained from the food we eat.
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are fish and sea foods (salmon, tuna, mackerel), nuts and seeds (walnuts, chia, flax seeds), fruits (mango, melons, berries) etc.
Folate or Folic acid inadequacy in our diets can cause lower levels of serotonin in our brains (brain produces 10% of the serotonin in our body). Some studies suggest that taking folate supplements (there’s a day’s supply in most multivitamins) and eating folate-rich foods may help some people who suffer from depression.
Folate-rich foods include spinach, green soybeans, lentils, romaine lettuce, pinto beans, black beans, navy beans, kidney beans, broccoli, asparagus, greens, orange juice, beets, papaya, Brussels sprouts, and tofu.
Magnesium is essential for transmitting signals from one nerve cell to the other. Foods that are rich in magnesium are avocados, dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale), potatoes, yogurt, cheese, brown rice, soybeans, white beans, etc
4. Vitamin b12
Vitamin b12 is a crucial vitamin for the brain functioning as it helps in maintaining nerve cell health. Food rich in vitamin b12 are clams, trout, salmon, eggs, milk, yogurt, meat, etc.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for good bone and muscle health is a known fact but it is also crucial for the gut and brain. Vitamin D is a neuroprotector and helps in clearing amyloid plaques that are characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. Foods rich in vitamin D are oily fish like salmon, sardines, herring, egg yolk, red meat, liver, etc.
Suggested Read: Easy Vegan Sources of Vitamin D
6. Other popular foods that elevates mood and refreshes the soul are citrus food items rich in vitamin C like lemons, oranges, red bell peppers, etc. ; Whole cereals like brown rice, oats, whole wheat breads. Minerals like selenium, zinc, etc are important for brain functioning, enzyme formation, muscle development, gut health, and many other functions.
Also Read: Top 10 Calcium Rich Foods In India To Offer Maximum Strength From Within
Other Tips That Help In Uplifting Your Mood
Beside food our mind and body is affected by our choices and environment too. So, some other small changes that help in keeping your mind and body nourished are :
- Keep yourself well hydrated. Dehydration can cause irritation, headache, fatigue, dizziness, etc.
- Choose at least one activity which you love performing everyday like cooking, reading, writing, gardening, listening to music, dancing, drawing, painting, etc.
- Meet people and talk. That will help in building your social circle and will improve your interaction and helps in introducing new experiences.
- Limit your screen time.
- Exercise regularly or do any physical activity like walking, playing, swimming, etc.
- Take an adequate amount of sleep. As sleep deprivation can seriously affect your mental health.
Also Read: 8 Foods For Relieving Stress: Tackle Stress Through Your Food Habits
Food has the capacity to change not only the physical aspect but the mental aspect of a human being in a humongous magnitude. Food is one of the easiest and simplest ways to introduce good mental health derivatives which are power players in this case. Nutrients are the power players like essential fatty acids (omega-3), essential amino acids (tryptophan), vitamins (vitamin b12, D, C, folate), and minerals (magnesium, zinc, selenium). So, fight your blues with some hearty nutritious meal for your mood.