Food Mood Connection
Food Mood and How it Affects You
Lisa Talev is our guest blogger this month and she has some great insight to offer on the foods we eat and how they affect our moods.
Pure and simple. We’ve all seen this in action: A kid eats some candy or drinks soda, and for the next 30 minutes she’s flying high: giddy, excited, energetic–one might even say euphoric. But check in about two hours later, and the same little Happy Princess is suddenly a Drama Queen, throwing a temper tantrum or pouting for no apparent reason. Her emotional reactions become overblown, her mood unstable. Food Mood is activated!
I like to joke that I have two nieces: The 7-year-old angel who eats her veggies and knows how to share, and the 7-year-old monster (same kid)—who’s all about the sugar and cries at the drop of a hat… Of course we should all be aware of our own version of this Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde phenomenon. It can be an interesting experiment, when you start tuning into how you feel not just immediately after eating, but also a few hours later and the next day. What you find may just surprise you.
Food Mood: Foods affect our brain chemistry
Foods affect our brain chemistry just as drugs and alcohol do. What we consume gets broken down into smaller components, which in turn get absorbed into our blood stream and feed (or poison) our cells. There is a clear scientific link between the quality of fuel we take in and the quality of organ/system functions in the body. And there’s a strong link between those system functions and the quality of our thoughts. Thoughts are electrical patterns in the brain, put into motion by neuro-chemical signals. What you put in really does matter.
Our bodies require vitamins and minerals like B-12 and magnesium to help break down sugars, refined starches and alcohol. These sugars actually deplete our bodies of vital nutrients—interestingly enough, the very nutrients which are needed to create a sense of calm and positive moods. Over time, a diet of refined carbohydrates, sugars and processed foods can actually harm our brain chemistry, lowering our natural baseline. Depression, attention deficit disorders and anxiety are all, in large part, symptoms of malnutrition. You can be overfed and still be starving for essential nutrients. Food mood matters.
So here’s the silver lining: Once you begin to understand the energetic qualities of the foods you eat; which foods make you feel alert and focused, which ones calm you down and which ones build you back after exercise, you can make more conscious food choices to enhance your mood, physical body, immune function and mental clarity.
Food should be delicious–yes. But it should also fuel you for all the real-world interests and activities you’re here to enjoy. If you feel like your health or weight is getting in the way, if you struggle with your energy levels, rely too much on caffeine and sugar to get you through the day, or feel confused about how to start eating a healthy diet without feeling deprived, I am here to help. I would be happy to be a resource in discovering what works best for you.
Article written by Lisa Talev