Moods. What can we do? Sometimes you’re up and then for no reason whatsoever, your down. Can food help? Most people realise that moods affect what we eat, but does it work the other way. Do foods effect our moods?
There has been much research into the matter which has shown a link between moods and the food we eat. A recent survey has shown that a large proportion (over 80%) of people felt better when they changed their diet. Eating healthier makes us feel better inside and out.
From what we can tell this is down to serotonin, the happy chemical, produced in our brains. Serotonin cannot be produced without tryptophan (an amino acid), so its a good idea to eat foods high in trypophan to make us happy. Simple enough!? Low serotonin levels are blamed for anxiety, cravings, mood disorders and IBS. The concept of eating foods high in trypophan is similar to that of taking an anti-depressant like prozac. Holistic anti-depressants.
Moods cannot be gotten rid of, but can be brought under some kind of control. The extremity of the ups and downs can be lowered, minimised, meaning we feel more centred and grounded in a good place. Evidence suggests that eating and living well can be essential in maintaining not just our physical, but also our mental health. We certainly feel the benefits!
Here are some plant-based foods that can help:
Top Ten Good Mood
1) Mung beans
3) Sunflower seeds
Taken from the e-book The Serotonin Secret, Dr Caroline Longmore
Foods high in fibre, whole grains and protein can also help boost moods. Food with a low glycemic index, like oats for example, will help the brain absorb all of these happy amino acids. Tryptophan absorption is boosted by carbohydrates.
These foods should be combined with lots of clean water and fresh fruit and vegetables. Eating regularly and not skipping meals also boosts our mental health. As ever, a balanced diet is always the best way forward, lots of fresh veg and fruit, with wholegrains, plenty of green leafy veg and some sweetness! Treats are essential!!
Foods that have the opposite effect are sometimes called ‘Stressors’, the main culprits are listed below:
- Wheat-containing foods
- Saturated Fats
Provided by the food and mood project, backed by the mental health charity Mind.
A diet heavy in the ‘stressors’ can lead to all sorts of problems including anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, panic attacks, lack of concentration and unfortunately, many more…
Sugar has a powerful effect on our sense of well being, if we eat too much, we can get into a ‘sugar roller coaster’, which is never nice. Our blood sugar levels are all over the place and we feel drained and fatigued when the sugar is lessening and high as a kite when its peaking.
If you do over indulge, one of the worst things that you can do is feel guilty about it. Feel great about it! You have just treated yourself and you deserve it. Move on and make efforts to eat better and feel better, step-by-step, slowly slowly. It’s a long road without any fixed destination.
Apparently we all have ‘triggers’, foods that can take us up and down. This depends on you, have a little experiment. If you are feeling a bit sluggish and down, think about what you have eaten that day or the night before. Trends will inevitably form.
We found it really helpful to take the plunge and go for a full raw diet. Our bodies became sensitive to what we ate and we learned alot about what makes us feel good and otherwise. You don’t have to go this far of course, just cut out certain foods for a period of time and see how you feel.
Eating well is one thing, but thinking well is another level completely. Think positively, practice thinking only positive thoughts for 5 minutes at a time and build on that. You will eventually develop a brilliant habit of a positive world outlook. This is a helpful tool. Add that to your new found passion for mung beans and you’ll be shining away for all to see!
For more information on mood foods, check out the ‘Mind’ site. There is information here for Brits on how to contact dietitians and nutritionists to get started on a new diet plan and lifestyle. You could also check out the website food for the brain.
Take it easy, have a handful of sunflower seeds and shine onX