Though it might seem obvious that what we eat affects our mood, medicine has taken a considerable amount of time to find the link.
The brain has been treated as different from the body and we don’t actually have a clear understanding of what the mind is. What we do know, is that the brain relies on good nutrition for optimal function. Did you know the brain uses 22% of your daily energy and oxygen, but it only makes up 2% of your total body weight?
There is good evidence that shows that mood is influenced by food. Lack of nutrients contributes to anxiety and depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and ADHD.
Food to lift your mood
Studies have confirmed that adhering to a healthy diet appears to give some protection against depression, especially the Mediterranean diet and avoiding foods that cause inflammation. actually, people who are severely depressed tend to follow an unhealthy diet, and when they receive nutritional support they tend to stop being clinically depressed.
There is a correlation between a tendency to mental illness and inflammation –it has been found that people with severe mental illness consume more pro-inflammatory foods and fewer anti-inflammatory nutrients.
Practically, an anti-inflammatory diet includes fiber and vegetables, low in simple carbs and saturated fats. Our diets have changed faster than our bodies have evolved in the last 100 years. The fact is that to produce neurotransmitters our brains need raw material obtained from our food, and by optimizing our diet we will be impacting our mental health.
The importance of our digestive and nervous system
Our gut system has been called the second brain –there is a neural network in the lining of our gut that has the same origin as our nervous system. The gut system communicates with the brain via a complex system of endocrine, immune and neural networks. It is well known that stress can exacerbate gut conditions and lead to psychiatric disorders.
The bottom line
To optimize your brain include fiber –wholegrains, cooked and cooled starches, root vegetables–, polyphenols –leafy greens, berries, tea, coffee, dark chocolate and colorful veggies–, healthy fats such as olive oil and oily fish, nuts, beans and legumes and steer away from sugars, processed meat and fried foods.
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