You are going through a bad mood. And you are unable to figure why is it happening to you. Ever thought your diet might be influencing your mood? Yes, I am not kidding at all. In fact, health professionals confirm that a balanced diet is a prescription medication for a healthy mind and body. There is a common saying, “You are what you eat.” Does that not make you believe me? Just think about it. Your brain is working non-stop without a break. And that includes the time, even when you are sleeping. So, you need to replenish every energy spent doing things. For that, you need to feed your system with the right kind of fuel.
And, as we all know, our fuel is derived from the different forms of food products that we consume. Therefore, whatever that goes inside your system directly has an impact on different functions of your brain. And that includes your mood as well. You must be thinking, “I am eating a healthy diet at a proper duration, then why should I be concerned anyway?” Let’s understand this concept a bit more using an example.
A Detailed Example
Imagine a scenario. You own a car. And to make it work efficiently, you need to fuel your car with premium quality products. But, if you are shying away from that just to save a few pennies per gallon. In the end, it might actually turn out to be more expensive. This is because such low-grade products will start affecting your car’s health. For example, they could harm your car with consistent engine breakdowns, wear and tear issues, or those pre-ignition issues. And mind you, these are just some of the many issues that you might face.
Similarly, your mind also requires high-quality food containing a balanced amount of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, carbohydrates, and good fats. All these ingredients will ensure your overall health, specifically your brain by protecting it from a variety of oxidative stress factors. Therefore, whenever you indulge in processed and sugary foods, things might start affecting your health. After all, such food choices are also referred to as a “low-quality fuel”. And are known to cause inflammation and oxidative stress. That further starts affecting your brain functions and health. All of this directly or indirectly starts affecting your emotional state leading to sudden emotional outbreaks.
What’s The Actual Connection Between Food and Emotional State?
To understand that, you must learn a bit about food chemistry in your system. Do you know that nerve cells lined around the gastrointestinal tract produce more than 90% of serotonin? So, ideally, GIT not only helps to digest food, but it can also act as a guiding light for your emotions as well. Even studies confirm that good gut bacteria influence neurotransmitters such as serotonin by activating the neural pathways that travel from your gut to the brain. That’s why consuming prebiotics improves an overall mental outlook of any person. Some studies confirm traditional diet plans such as the Japanese diet or Mediterranean diet show a lower risk of depression cases. Because, they are rich in vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains, fish, with only minimal amounts of dairy products. Isn’t it convincing enough to start preparing a healthy diet for yourself? Then, let’s move ahead and seek help from research papers.
What Does Research Have to Say About This?
A 2005 study published in the International Journal of Obesity found a correlation between obesity and depression. And it came to the conclusion that dietary components play a huge part in developing clinical depression. Another 2011 study revealed that women consuming Vitamin D rich foods were at lower risk of developing depression. One more research findings attributed to the fact that the quality of diet is directly linked to mental or emotional disorders. You might still be living under a notion that gut bacteria only influence what happens in the gut. But they also affect what happens in the brain. By influencing the degree of inflammation throughout your body. Hence, eventually, influencing your mood or energy levels.
How to Turn This Into Your Favor?
It’s simple. Start paying attention to the type and quality of the food. Not for one day. But, as a routine. Try eating a clean diet for at least two to three weeks. And see the difference in your personality. Start adding fermented products in your diet instead of going for processed food. You can also try a dairy-free diet. You don’t have to forego going out to eat. Instead, look for a healthy cafe around when you travel or are out celebrating. Here are a few other tips and tricks to keep your gut happy for an overall emotional balance.
Start Eating at Regular Intervals
Who likes to feel tired or depressed? I am sure no one. But, it happens if your blood sugar levels drop. To avoid such situations, start eating consistently at regular intervals. Make sure to choose the ones that do not produce instant energy, rather the ones who help to manage sugar levels by slowly releasing energy. Such food choices include rice, oats, whole grain bread, nuts, and seeds. You can do it by giving yourself a possible good start with a healthy breakfast Make sure to eat smaller portions at regular intervals, instead of large chunks of meals at lunch or dinner. And avoid eating sweets, biscuits, and alcohol.
Hydrate Your Body With Fluids
If you avoid drinking water or fluids at regular intervals, you will eventually start feeling a bit lost. Not able to concentrate on anything. And that might affect your gut as well. As you might feel constipated. So, drink at least six to eight glasses of water or other fluids per day. Beware of the caffeine content present in the tea and coffee.
Take Care Of Your Gut
Chances are that you might feel low or stressed because of your gut issues. For that, you can opt for foods rich in fiber. Other than that, you can consume some gut-friendly foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, pulses, yogurt, or probiotics. While changing your diet to a healthy one, make sure to give your gut some time to adjust to new eating patterns. If you feel stressed out and think that it is affecting your gut, try going for some relaxation techniques or breathing exercises.
Start Eating Right
Eating at regular intervals is important. But, if you are not eating right. Then, nothing will turn into your favor. Improve your protein intake by including lean meat, fish, cheese, legumes, soy products into your diet. Unlike what many people feel, fats are also important for the proper functioning of your brain. But, it’s important to consume the right kind of fats. For example, poultry, nuts (walnuts or almonds), sunflower or olive oil, milk, cheese, and eggs. Avoid anything that says “trans-fats”.
Manage Daily Caffeine Content
Caffeine acts as a stimulant. It will induce instant energy. But, if you don’t control its intake, it can make you feel anxious or disturb your sleep quality as well. Hence, one should think of controlling its daily content to avoid such adverse effects. If you like tea or coffee, try replacing them with decaffeinated versions. However, don’t suddenly stop consuming tea or coffee. Rather, slowly decrease their consumption to avoid any withdrawal symptoms. Still confused about whether or not a particular diet will work for you. Talking to a nutritionist or a food specialist will help you in the long run.
Feeling low again? Try a diet rich in folates, iron, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, B1, B6, B12, and C will act as mood boosters for you. Still in doubt? Talk to your health care practitioner right away.