I love guest posts, and this one is great!
Everyone wants to be in a good mood, and food can definitely affect that. Read more to find out all about that…
Food Choices that Adjust Your Attitude…in a Good Way
By David Novak
Usually when we change our diet, it has a great deal to do with slimming down our waistline, our gut or other troubled areas that are carrying excess fat. Many times what we fail to think about is what foods can do with our brains and or mood, good and bad. Good food choices can actually dramatically affect how we feel.
What person hasn’t reached for that “comfort” snack when we’re felling stressed? Fortunately, there are healthier choices that may actually make us feel better, no matter what mood we’re in. It is a scientific fact that deficiencies in some essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals can lead to symptoms associated with stress, fatigue, depression, behavioral problems and physical disease.
Associated with that, when you are faced with a stressful situation, your body consumes these nutrients, leaving you in short supply. Unless you replenish these nutrients, your stress symptoms, initially caused by a situation or event, will continue longer than normal because your body has been depleted of the essential nutrients that it needs for optimum brain function.
Countless research has compared people who are deficient in particular nutrients to those who eat enough of them, and determined that there are dramatic differences in how they feel. While it’s ideal to make healthy choices throughout the entire day, one individual food can make a difference. For example, if you eat a bowl of sugary cereal for breakfast, your blood sugar will spike, then drop soon after, leaving you feeling shaky and cranky by mid-morning. Contrast that with a bowl of oatmeal, and the nutrients in the whole grains stabilize your blood sugar, giving you energy until lunch.
The relationship between your mood and your food is actually a two-way street. When you’re feeling depressed, our first impulse is to reach for some cookies or a candy bar. When you’ve binged on this stuff, you feel guilty, unsatisfied and bloated. The answer is to stop yourself before you make that bad food decision, and there are several healthy foods that double as bad mood-busting foods.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals cause specific mental health issues. For example, a deficiency in the B family of vitamins can cause stress, depression, poor memory and poor concentration. Deficiencies in magnesium can cause insomnia and anxiety. Not enough Zinc can lead to confusion, loss of appetite, a blank mind and lack of motivation. Pretty scary, huh? You can quickly see that these “brain nutrients” are vital to stabilize our mood. And it could be argued that if you are in a good mood, other good things– better relationships, better job performance, better physical health– will automatically follow.
Below is a list of foods that contain the vital nutrients we need for good brain function and a good mood:
If you’re irritable, eat foods high in complex carbohydrate and protein. Often, crankiness is a result of a low blood sugar. To bring your sugar levels back up, you need complex carbohydrates and protein to keep your blood sugar consistent throughout the day. Apples provide the healthy carbs and a food like peanut butter has the protein. Both make a great snack. Other combinations include cottage cheese and blueberries, or hummus and carrots.
Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to depression. So you want to eat oily fish, like tuna, salmon, sardines and mackerel. Salmon is also rich in B12, which is a mood-elevating vitamin… If you don’t like fish, snack on some almonds, or even better, walnuts, which are also great sources of omega-3s.
Folate and Iron-Rich Food
Folate boosts your serotonin levels, the “feel-good” hormone. Iron carries oxygen to the brain, and the more you have, the less fatigued you become. Super-foods rich in folate and iron include spinach and kale, so make sure a serving or two a day of these leafy vegetables is included in your diet.
So you’re getting your iron with spinach. Now you need a way to absorb it. Citrus does just that because the vitamin C helps your body absorb iron. Even the scent of citrus may help wake you up. Citrus is also full of carbohydrates and fiber, which will give you enough energy to power through the afternoon, and prevent irritability, fatigue and a rotten attitude .
Calcium is needed for good teeth and strong bones and for the proper function of nerves, muscles, kidneys, and the heart. Not having enough calcium in the diet is one of many factors associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis. This causes the bones to become weak and fragile, leading to loss of height, curved spines, and bone fractures, especially in women. Researchers have also found that some women with PMS have lower blood levels of calcium while they’re ovulating, so the calcium-rich cheese will give you the boost you need to feel better. Cheese is a great snack packed with calcium. Other foods rich in calcium include eggs, yoghurt and even chocolate! Dark chocolate, by the way lowers stress hormones, particularly cortisol, according to a recent study.
L-Theanine & Vitamin B6
If you’re angry, try L-Theanine & Vitamin B6 rich choices. Green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that’s been proven to calm you down. You may also feeling irritable because your body is low in vitamin B6, so you can get your fill from foods like chicken, brown rice, potatoes and bananas.
Magnesium may be the most under-rated mineral of the century. Magnesium is thought to be the “calming” mineral. A deficiency in magnesium can cause many problems, such as an inability to sleep, digestive problems, hypertension (high blood pressure). Conversely, good levels of Magnesium relax nerves, relieves tension and helps with sleep. Magnesium is also necessary for proper brain, nerve, lung and digestive function. Magnesium, with calcium, works to make your nerves function properly so they can send the correct messages to all your organs, glands and muscles so they can carry out your body’s functions. Magnesium is responsible for your body’s energy at a cellular level. If you have adequate levels of magnesium, aging can be slowed down or even reverted.
It also plays a key role in more than 300 chemical reactions in your body. It is vital for the processing of carbohydrates and amino acids (digestive system), reduces your risk of diabetes, improves your heart function and so many other functions. You can imagine that, being responsible for more than 300 chemical reactions, how much work can get done if you have sufficient levels. It also keeps other minerals such as calcium, sodium and potassium in balance. Deficiencies cause many body functions to be less than optimum and you feel these with certain symptoms. However, by the time you feel the symptoms, those organs and glands have probably been suffering shortages for some time.
Both oatmeal and almonds are magnesium-rich foods, and magnesium is a naturally powerful relaxant. Other magnesium-rich foods include walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, peppers and broccoli. If you do nothing else to change your nutrient intake, make sure you get plenty of magnesium in your diet.
The first thing to understand is that you MUST adopt a healthy eating plan in order to lose body fat, feel great and function at your best. The food choices that you make today will have an immediate and long term impact on your life. If you continuously choose to eat low nutrient, highly processed foods that have been treated with chemicals for flavor and shelf life, your body will suffer. If you choose foods rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients, you will experience better health, and a complete overhaul in your mood.
David Novak is a international syndicated newspaper columnist, appearing in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV around the world. His byline has appeared in GQ, National Geographic, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest, USA Today, among others, and he has appeared on The Today Show, the CBS Morning Show and Paul Harvey Radio. David is a specialist at consumer technology, health and fitness, and he also owns a PR firm and a consulting company where he and his staff focus on these industries. He is a regular contributing editor for Healthline.com. For more information, visit here.
Thanks so much for the great post!
Hope everyone has a great weekend!