No question that what you eat can affect how you feel, right?
I know it effects me big time! I don't know why but it took me YEARS of trial and error and becoming extremely self-aware of how I felt if I ate certain foods and took certain supplements.
If I eat too many carbs or sugar without protein and fat to balance it out, I feel jittery, then I have a "crash" afterwards. I also get hangry which is not a pretty sight! Also, if I don't take my supplements, then I start feeling fatigued, anxiety-ridden and don't have as much energy.
Plus I am VERY sensitive to caffeine and alcohol. If I drink coffee, I am a total and complete mess afterwards and I feel like jumping out of my skin. If I drink alcohol, even just one glass of wine, then I feel awful the next morning.
The funny thing is that I ignored all of the physical and mental signs for a very long time and just ate and drank what I wanted. My motto was "moderation is key" but that didn't work for me in the end.
What I learned along the way and through my studies is that mental health and brain health are complex. So are the foods we eat, and the ways our bodies interact with those foods.
So let’s talk about mood-boosting and mood-busting foods...
Some nutrient deficiencies look like mental health problems; this includes deficiencies in B-vitamins, vitamin D, and the mineral selenium.
You won’t be surprised to hear me say processed foods are mood-busters, right? One study suggests that eating a lot of processed foods devoid of nutrients can increase your chances of becoming depressed by as much as 60 percent! This is on top of the research that shows nutrient deficiencies can look like mental health problems.
“But it makes me feel good!”
Yes, some of these mood busters can make you feel better temporarily. Some big food companies study how to maximize the "pleasure" centers with the perfect amount of sugar, salt, and fat. Not to mention the color, texture, and taste; they can light up our taste buds and make us feel good… for now.
A few other things to avoid are:
Bad moods can lead to bad eating habits; and, bad eating habits can lead to bad moods.
If you need a mood boost, stick to minimally processed nutrient-dense whole foods. Things like fresh fruit and vegetables (including leafy greens), nuts and seeds, eggs, fish, poultry, and meat. Avoid common mood-busting foods like alcohol, caffeine, and sugar.
And remember, sometimes “feel good” junk foods, only make you feel good temporarily. So, try my newest recipe for fruit salad below.
1-2 cups watermelon, cubed
1-2 cups cantaloupe, cubed
1-2 cups blueberries, fresh
1-2 cups blackberries, fresh
1-2 cups green grapes
Tip: Substitute or add any ready-to-eat fruit, like chopped peaches, or raspberries.
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