We know the old saying “you are what you eat”. But did you know that this correlation not only affects your physical self but how you feel after eating as well? It is a given that eating healthy food is one of the best things you can do for your body. The additional benefit is that it can improve your productivity and mental state as well.
Recently, studies have been conducted into the relationship between nutrition and mood, so keep reading to find out more.
To understand how this works, we must first know how the body operates. In a nutshell, the myriad of activities you perform with your body is done through internal chemicals called neurotransmitters. These are responsible for carrying messages from your gut to your brain, thus controlling important functions such as your heart rate, emotions, and breathing.
Neurotransmitters are produced in your GI tract from the millions of bacteria present there. When you eat junk food, there can be excessive inflammation which reduces the rate of neurotransmitter production. When you eat healthy food, you are actually promoting the production of beneficial bacteria.
When your neurotransmitter production is in a good state, then your brain is able to receive all these messages in a clear manner, thus creating a positive impact on your mood. On the other hand, delayed or poor production will throw you off balance, worsening your mood.
Some of the most common neurotransmitters include:
- Dopamine – Activates the pleasure senses and also increases concentration and alertness.
- Serotonin – This helps with managing sleep and reducing anxiety. Plays a big part in balancing your mood.
- Oxytocin – This will help improve your feeling of connection and love. It also relaxes you.
Next time you go grocery shopping, these are the foods you need to purchase more of to enhance your mood:
- Antioxidants – These are useful in fighting off inflammation. You can find them in leafy vegetables, turmeric spice, dark chocolate, and chia seeds.
- Fiber – Fiber helps absorb glucose which will stop you from having sugar crashes which can affect your mood greatly. Fibers you should be eating are broccoli, beans, avocados, and whole grains.
- Whole foods – Most of the food you eat has to be processed as little as possible and with fewer ingredients. This means avoiding food with unnecessary preservatives, sugars, and food colorings. They can increase sugar crashes and worsen depression symptoms.
- Magnesium – This is considered a “superfood” that helps you stay healthy, by improving kidney and muscle function. A lack of this mineral can hurt the bacteria in your stomach thus creating symptoms of anxiety. You can find this mineral naturally through nuts like almonds and cashew, as well as dark chocolate and cocoa nibs.
Eating a healthy diet can definitely help you with building your long-term physical and mental health. We all know that a positive and happy mood makes us the most productive and stress-free during the day. Take this advice and eat healthier – starting today – and notice the difference!