Part two: Nutrition
I could dive deep into the tedious details about nutrition and how it effects our body and mental health. Honestly while I was in class I would just sit there and read through the slides with my eyes half closed. In the meantime our teacher was having the same amount of fun, reading those slides with the most monotonous voice I had ever heard. I don’t want my post to be the product of that.
Nutrition is a very interesting and important topic and I will do my best at presenting it to you in that light. Let’s first be aware of the fact that our brain is always working. It is responsible for all of your thoughts, reactions and movements. It is the reason you are breathing while reading this post. You reading this post are another one of the brains credit. You can even thank your brain for those lovely dreams you had because the brain works hard even while you’re asleep.
Like a car
Now imagine that hard working brain of yours as a beautiful car. Like every car it means your brain requires a constant supply of fuel. For us humans that fuel comes from the foods you eat. What’s in that fuel is what makes the difference. That fuel is what is responsible for your cars function. What you eat directly affects the function of your brain therefor your mood aswell.
Like a shiny expensive car, your brain functions best when it gets only high- quality fuel. Eating high-quality foods that contain lots of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals are what get our brain in its best condition. Therefore it protects the brain from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a mischievous group of free radicals that are produced when the body uses oxygen. Our body doesn’t need them. In fact, they can be extremely harmful for us.
Your brain can be damaged if you take bad, fatty foods just like a car when you put anything other than premium fuel in it.
Most important hormone for mental health
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is extremely important for our mental state. It helps regulate mood, appetite and sleep. About 95% of your serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract and your gastrointestinal tract is filled with a hundred million nerve cells, or neurons. Therefor it makes sense that the inner workings of your digestive system are not here just to digest food but also to guide and regulate your emotions.
Listen to your body
Start paying attention to how you feel depending on the food you ate that day. Change up your diet and write down how you felt during that period of time. Try eating raw and clean foods like fruits, steamed and cooked vegetables. You also might want to try going dairy-free. In fact, the milk we drink as infants is the amount of milk we need for the rest of our life. Then again a lot of people said that they feel better when their diets are grain-free. It is all individual, see how you feel. Then slowly introduce foods back into your diet, write down your feelings again.
Tryptophan can have a positive effect on stress. This amino acid helps your brain produce feel-good chemicals. Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, and serotonin, as a neurotransmitter, helps you feel calm.
Where to find it: sesame seeds, milk, turkey, chicken, bananas, milk, oats, and cheese, soy, nuts, peanut butter, and sesame seeds.
Deficiency in B vitamins such as folic acid and B12 can cause depression.
Where to find it: leafy greens, legumes, oranges and other citrus fruits, rice, nuts, and eggs.
Carbohydrates increase production of serotonin in the brain. When you are craving carbs choose whole grains, such as whole wheat bread or brown rice, rather than processed food such as sugar, candy, or even white bread.
Grains take longer for the body to break down, and release sugar into the bloodstream slowly. Therefor it has a long-lasting effect. Processed carbs will give you an immediate energy boost but will be followed by an insulin rush, which rapidly drops blood sugar levels, leaving you feeling more tired and weary than before.
Protein helps stimulate the production of the brain chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine. Dopamine like serotonin, are neurotransmitters and they carry impulses between nerve cells. Higher levels of norepinephrine and dopamine have been shown to improve mental energy.
Where to find it: Greek yogurt, cheese, fish, eggs, beans, soy, lentils and nuts.
Ideal potion for mood-boosting is to combine complex carbohydrates with protein, and to spread your meals throughout the day. Little bites and healthy snack get your metabolism constantly working which helps your body digests food quicker and gets all the goodies through your brain faster.
Food to Avoid:
People like to drink coffee and other beverages that contain caffeine such as: tea, hot chocolate etc. to help boost their energy levels. But the problem is that caffeine has been shown to inhibit levels of serotonin in the brain. When serotonin levels are suppressed, you can become depressed and feel irritable. Caffeine also can keep you awake, leading to stress and anxiety. Remember that you need to sleep well to be in a positive mood.
Well let’s be honest we all need sweets, and they do make us feel better but again it’s a temporary lift. Why? Sugar is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. The absorption causes a high surge of energy. But that surge wears off as the body increases its insulin production to remove the sugar from your bloodstream. As a result: You then feel tired and low.
Now alcohol is a well-known buddy to depression. Depressed people drink alcohol because it seems to ease stress and it makes them forget their worries. Unfortunately, the happy time is only temporary. In fact alcohol is a depressant. Like caffeine, alcohol is a diuretic, and it’s important to stay hydrated for a number of reasons, including mood. Therefor drink in moderation.
I hope you enjoyed todays post like always feel free to like, share and comment.
Question the food you see,
Lots of love Ellodie