Archive for February, 2015

Food and Mood

Healthy Diet
It is easy to make the connection between eating a healthy diet and optimum brain development. Of course, eating a healthy diet ensures that the brain has all the nutrients for building a healthy brain. But few are unaware that our diet also has a direct effect on our moods and emotions.

The quality of our diet can have an effect on the duration and severity of depressions. Signs include a sudden loss of appetite, food cravings and skipping meals. Sudden mood changes could be the brains signal that something is wrong or it is severely lacking in some nutrients.

Carbohydrates are important in the structural and functional integrity of the body. Some studies have shown a direct correlation between the levels of carbohydrates and its effects on our moods and behavior. Eating carbohydrate rich food triggers the release of insulin that converts blood sugar into energy. It also simultaneously sends tryptophan in the brain.

Diets which are low in carbohydrate increase the chance for depression. This is because carbohydrates are important building blocks for serotonin and tryptophan or “good feel” hormones. However, it is important that people get their carbohydrates from healthy sources. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables and pasta could provide carbohydrates but have a lasting and stable effect on brain chemistry, mood and energy levels compared to sugar sources that only provide temporary relief.

Here are some of the cause and effects of food on our mood:

  • Changes in our blood sugar levels can affect our energy levels and mood. Sudden fluctuations in blood sugar levels could lead to stress.
  • Below average levels of essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals could affect normal brain functioning.
  • Certain allergies contained in food such as artificial colors and flavorings. People could also develop hypersensitivity to certain foods which they previously have not any difficulty eating.
  • Protein rich foods contain amino acids which are essential to normal brain functioning. These are needed by the brain’s neurotransmitters. Amino acids are also needed for the production of serotonin and dopamine, mood hormones. And any imbalance could lead to depression and even aggressiveness.
  • Before cutting your fat consumption consider the important role they play in brain health. Brain cell membranes are largely composed of fats and the brain’s gray matter is built from polyunsaturated fatty acids.

The connection between food and our brain go beyond supplying it with energy and nutrients. Food also plays an important role in our moods and emotions. Eating the right diet maintains our levels of “feel good” hormones that can fight depression naturally.