Have you ever noticed how you feel after a bowl of ice cream or a handful of cookies? Maybe a little guilty and regretful? It’s not just your imagination. Certain foods can actually trigger certain responses in our bodies. Because what we put in our bodies fuels us, it can directly affect our brain, which in turn, determines our mood. We need a certain supply of vitamins and minerals to keep our bodies functioning optimally. When we feed ourselves food low in nutritional value, our risk of depression and other emotional issues can rise. So what should you limit to keep your body and brain on a positive path?
Refined sugar is one of the biggest culprits of a bad mood. At least in the long run. It may feel good for a few minutes, but leads to fluctuations in your blood sugar, which then causes fluctuations in your moods. It can also lead to insulin resistance, which plays a large role in mental health. Sugar has also been shown to create chronic inflammation in the long term, which can wreak havoc on our immune system and be linked to a greater risk of depression. Processed foods are another thing to avoid if you want to keep your mood steady and positive. They are filled with many chemicals that are connected to irritability and a bad mood.
So what should you be eating if you want to keep your brain happy? Eating healthy fats rich in omega-3 fatty acids can play a big role in decreasing inflammation, which promotes good moods. Fermented foods, such as yogurt or fermented veggies, are another great option, as they promote good gut health, which is directly related to our moods. Getting in your five a day of veggies and fruit helps ensure you’re getting all the nutrients and fiber your body needs, which keeps our bodies physically and mentally healthy. Complex carbs such as root vegetables and whole grains can also help keep your mood stable, as they digest slowly and create a more balanced blood sugar level. Getting plenty of vitamin D, especially in the winter months, from some good old-fashioned sunshine can help keep depression at bay. Finally, keep up your water intake. Dehydration can cause tiredness and agitation, while staying hydrated can keep us energized.
For more tips on how better nutrition can improve your health and daily life, check out our upcoming workshop, The Art of Healthy Living Through Yoga & Ayurveda with Bhavna Mehta next Sunday, February 26th.