Have you ever noticed a shift in your mood in the middle of the day for no reason whatsoever? Sometimes the reason can be the foods you’ve been eating
When it comes to your mood and emotional state, most of the time we look for exterior motives to find an explanation. However, sometimes the food we have been eating has a greater impact on our emotions. This is yet another reason to carefully select what we eat.
How food intervenes in our emotions
An over simplified example of what happens in your brain for certain emotions is the following:
There are different chemical processes going on in your body that send different neurotransmitters. For example, melatonin gives the signal that you need to start feeling sleepy, serotonin and dopamine regulate emotions, hunger and emotional state.
In order for this neurotransmitters to start, certain “ingredients” are needed for these to be created in the first place. As an example, a low level of tryptophan makes it difficult to synthesize serotonin.
To put it really simple: When you ingest too many quantities of certain ingredients or too little of another, the “recipe” in your brain changes, which changes the end result.
What nutrients help your brain?
Several studies have shown that the lack of specific micro and macro nutrients create depression in some people. These are:
- Fatty acids Omega-3
- Folic Acid
Fiber has also been proven to be of great help when it comes to improve your mood.
When it comes to severe cases of depression, vitamin C, vitamin B2, B3, B6 and B12, as well as Magnesium, zinc and selenium have also proven to be helpful.
Foods that make you sad and in a bad mood
Refined carbohydrates: These lower blood sugar level and cause fatigue and negativity. The more refined carbohydrates you eat, the worse your mood starts to get. At some point, this eventually turns into sadness or aggressive behavior for some people.
The most dangerous part of refined carbohydrates is that they are addictive and this is why we love to eat them so much. Which foods have refined carbohydrates? Basically all processed foods that also cause weight fain and aging: Foods with a lot of sugar, junk food, sodas, white bread, plain pasta, marmalades, chips…..
Refined starch: These ones increase blood sugar level, creating a false sense of wellbeing, to then suddenly drop them. This sudden drop in blood sugar create sadness and even aggression. Just as refined carbohydrates create addiction, so do refined starches. We long to have that feeling of wellbeing again, so we want to consume them once again. However, the drop gets worse, just like it happens with drugs. You can find refined starches in all processed foods, just as in the above mentioned carbohydrates.
Trans fats: Trans fats are probably one of the worst enemies in nutrition nowadays. Not only are they a great risk for our health, but they interfere directly with the neurotransmitters that improve our mood. This means that every single time you put trans fats into your body, your are putting a barrier around the neurotransmitters that help you feel happy and joyful. Do you really want that?
You can easily know if something has trans fats by reading the label. Every food that contains hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil will have trans fat. Do not eat it! This unfortunately means not eating most of the cookies and snacks you can get in the store.
Aspartame, GMOs and weed killers: This is one of the main reasons to buy organic. GMOs (corn, potato and soy being some of the most affected) seem to not only make fatter than none manipulated foods, but some studies also shed some light in them interfering in our happiness neurotransmitters. The same thing happens with weed killers and similar products. They are used to kill bugs from fruits and vegetables, but they are also absorbed by said fruits and vegetables, so they end up in your organism.
Aspartame is a sugar substitute, but also highly dangerous. Studies in rats have shown that aspartame is unhealthy and it also affects in our neurotransmitters, which ends up leading to sadness and more pessimism, amongst other things. Aspartame is always used in gums and light products.
Foods that make you happy and generate positivity
Let’s now talk about the good things!
Just as there are foods that make you sad and negative, there are others that do the exact opposite and help you be in a good mood, happy and stay positive.
Good carbohydrates: Good carbohydrates increase serotonin synthesis, which improve depression and low moods. They elevate tryptophan levels. Unfortunately, carbohydrates have received such a bad reputation in the past years, that many people stop consuming them altogether, regardless of them being good or bad. Good carbohydrates can be found in wholegrain rice, pasta and cereals, fruits and vegetables, legumes and everything high in fiber.
Dark chocolate: Always preferably raw, dark chocolate has plenty of benefits, one of them being an improvement in your mood. Never feel guilty after eating dark chocolate, there is no need to! If you need your dark chocolate to have some sweet additive, in some stores you can find dark chocolate with stevia. We highly recommend it!
Others: Bananas, peanuts, almonds, avocados, sardines, salmon (always wild and alaskan), curcuma, broccoli, spinach, mangos, shiitake mushrooms, eggs and pumpkin seeds. They all improve your general mood and help you stay more positive!
Once again, a healthy, natural nutritions proves to be the best recommendation.
If you think you need some help putting junk food aside, we recommend keeping a food and mood diary. You only need to write down each day everything you ate and how you have been feeling all day. This will help you see a direct relationship between your mood and wellbeing and what you eat and it will make it easier for you to leave junk food and sweets for good.