A growing field of study called nutritional psychiatry focuses on how diet affects the development and management of mental health issues. Numerous observational studies have linked the risk of depression to the general quality of nutrition.
How are food and mood related?
Eating a balanced, nutrient-rich diet can help you feel better, have more energy, and think more clearly. There are numerous factors at work here, ranging from the number of carbs you consume to how vitamin and mineral deficits affect mental health.
The intimate connection between your brain and gastrointestinal tract, frequently referred to as the “second brain,” causes the link between diet and emotions. Millions of bacteria reside in our GI tract, which impacts the creation of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that constantly convey information from the gut to the brain. Serotonin and dopamine are two typical examples. The neurotransmitter serotonin is involved in mood regulation, food control, sleep regulation, and pain inhibition. It makes sense that the inner workings of your digestive system aid in food digestion and control your emotions because approximately 95 percent of your serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract, which is lined with 100 million neurons.
Consuming nutritious food encourages the growth of “good” bacteria, which positively impacts the synthesis of neurotransmitters. On the other side, a consistent diet of junk food can result in inflammation that reduces production. Your brain receives these encouraging messages clearly when neurotransmitter production is strong, and your emotions reflect that. However, if the output is off, your mood could also suffer.
Carbohydrates and frequent eating
Your brain requires energy to focus and be able to concentrate (the brain uses 20 percent of all energy needed by the body). This energy is derived from blood glucose, which is derived from the carbs we consume. Weakness, fatigue, and mental fog might set in when we don’t have enough energy for the brain. You can improve your health by consuming regular meals that include some carbohydrates. Rapid fluctuations in blood sugar can affect mood, making you feel angry, low, and even anxiety symptoms. The objective is to maintain constant blood sugar levels throughout the day. Try oats, cereals, nuts, and seeds, which release energy gradually. Aim to consume smaller servings throughout the day.
Minerals and Vitamins
Our physical and mental health may suffer if we don’t get enough of a few vitamins and minerals. Eating a varied, balanced diet high in fruit and vegetables is the most incredible way to ensure you get the necessary amounts of vitamins and minerals. Some people might require a supplement but speak with your doctor or a nutritionist before taking any.
Fats and proteins
Your brain needs amino acids and the energy it receives from carbohydrates to help control thoughts and emotions. Consuming adequate amounts of protein in your diet is critical because it contains amino acids. Lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, cheese, soy products, and legumes are all protein sources. Some people might believe that all fats are unhealthy; however, this is untrue. Our brains require fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 to function correctly. Nuts, seeds, oily fish, poultry, avocados, dairy products, and eggs are all sources of healthy fats.
Maintaining a diet high in healthful foods will help you experience fewer mood swings, a happier attitude overall, and better concentration. It may initially be more work to include items that are excellent for your mood in your diet, but it is beneficial. You may feel better if you eat well. You don’t have to alter your diet drastically, but you might want to give some of these suggestions a shot.
- Eat consistently. You can become drained and irritable as a result.
- Remain hydrated. Your mood, energy level, and focus can all be negatively impacted by even minor dehydration.
- Consume the correct proportion of fats. For optimal brain function, you need to consume healthy fats.
- Increase your intake of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. They supply the vitamins and minerals your body and brain require to remain healthy.
- Include protein in each meal.
- Be mindful of how your mood may be affected by caffeine. When consumed right before bed, it can interfere with sleep, and some people also report feeling agitated and anxious.