We all know that food can affect our weight, skin, cardiovascular system and energy, but did you know it can significantly affect your mood and mind? There is always more that can be done in correcting your diet for mental stamina, calmness, clarity, motivation and happiness.
A diet centred around food for mood should include eating ideally grain free, increasing high nutrient value foods, significantly increasing the fats your brain loves and increasing fermented foods.
Neurotransmitters are made from a huge range of nutrient cofactors, but the most clinically significant nutrients that are often low are zinc, vitamin B6 and magnesium. These nutrients are all essential for the formation of serotonin, dopamine and GABA. A naturally colourful, diversified vegetable loaded diet with a good level of proteins will ensure these vitamins are available.
Why reduce the grains for a happy mind? Grains contain lectins, a known gut irritant, and phytic acid, which inhibits bioavailability of nutrients needed for neurotransmitter production. Grains are often heavily farmed, so often are nutrient poor. And most importantly they almost always take place of what should be vegetables thus reducing mood boosting nutrient intake.
The first questions I often get asked is “Will I get constipated if I reduce grains?” Yes you may, but that is not normal. If you are constipated it is probably because you have either not increased your vegetable intake enough, you have not drank enough water or your gut flora and/or enzyme activity is out of balance. In which case it is best to see a Practitioner as there are many physiological factors that need addressing as one diet does not fit every single person.
Fermented foods are becoming so popular and for good reasons. Kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi are all superb examples of imputing good bacteria into your gut. Bacterias help with increasing your nutrient absorption, providing precursors for neurotransmitters, balancing inflammatory responses and digestion of your food. It is well documented that gut bacteria can indeed affect our mental state. The more of the good bacterias that are there the more in favour your microbiome is for a happy mental state.
Your brain is mostly made of fat so it is important to include plenty of good fats in your diet. Omega 3 fats fatty acids, naturally high in seafood, is a key nutrient in nerve function. Research shows us that omega 3’s can reduce significantly inflammation in the body, and inflammation has been implicated as a contributing factor of many psychological imbalances.
How you feed your gut, is how you are feeding your mind. Make your diet naturally colourful, eat foods that are not processed, eat plenty of vegetables, drink copious amounts of water, eat moderate protein & plenty of good fats. The results can be transformational!
This article was written by Suzi Le Fanue and published in Holistic Bliss magazine April edition.
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