Is Your Diet Making You Moody?
Could the food you eat each day be affecting your emotional state? The answer is yes it definitely does, and much more than you realize.
The food you eat determines how well your nervous system functions, how well your brain can produce neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) and your blood sugar level; all of which affect your mood. Your diet also determines your energy levels, and when you are exhausted it’s so much harder to see the funny side of situations. Your diet also affects the health of your liver, and an unhappy liver can leave you angry and irritable; especially the morning after a night of indulgence.
When you have the blues, you are probably driven to seek out unhealthy comfort foods like chocolate, bread, ice-cream, cookies and cake. Eating those foods does lift your spirits, but unfortunately the effect is very brief. Soon enough your emotions and energy level will crash again and you’ll be caught on the sugar roller coaster. Relying on comfort foods long term makes you far more prone to mood swings.
I have found that the majority of my patients greatly underestimate the effect of their diet on their state of mind. Many people visit our clinics seeking help specifically for depression, anxiety, mood swings and pre-menstrual tension (PMS). I outline my diet recommendations for my patients, and recommend a few key nutritional supplements. Many of my patients are quite skeptical that such simple diet changes can have a profound enough effect on their emotional state. I manage to convince them to give it a go anyway and when I see them again four weeks later they are very pleased with the results.
Here is a basic summary of my recommendations for improving your mood with food:
- Cut down on or eliminate sugar and flour from your diet. These foods cause fluctuating blood sugar levels, fluctuating energy levels and mood swings. Ensuring you have a stable blood sugar level throughout the day is one of the most important ways to improve your mood. Getting rid of sugar and high carb foods will help. The herbs and nutrients in Glicemic Balance are specifically designed to keep your blood sugar even, and prevent a crash. They are also wonderful for reducing hunger and cravings.
- Drink eight to ten glasses of water, or herbal tea each day. Drinking more water will make you eat less food, have less sugar cravings and it will improve your ability to concentrate.
- Fill up on protein. The chemicals your brain produces that make you feel happy, calm and alert are all made from protein. Good sources of protein are fish, eggs, poultry, red meat, nuts, seeds and legumes. Tyrosine is a type of protein that helps your brain to manufacture adequate quantities of the feel-good chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine.
- B vitamins are important. B vitamins are essential for a healthy nervous system and they are used up in large quantities during stressful episodes. Vitamins B6, B9 and B12 are all required by the brain in order to manufacture neutrotransmitters (brain chemicals).
- Magnesium is the most important mineral for the nervous system and muscles. We often refer to magnesium as “the great relaxer”. Having high levels of stress hormones in your body causes you to lose magnesium in your urine. If you are magnesium deficient you are likely to overreact to minor stressful episodes.
- Limit alcohol consumption. If you are prone to depression alcohol will make it worse. Don’t drink alcohol every day, and when you do drink women should limit themselves to two standard drinks and men four standard drinks.
- Good fat is essential. Your brain is mostly made of fat, and your nerves are insulated by fat. Good fats are found in oily fish, flax seeds, avocados, nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil. Avoid all margarine and cheap cooking oil as they are too high in omega 6 fats, which worsen depression.
- Limit caffeine. People who consume a lot of caffeine have high levels of stress hormones in their bloodstream. Limit coffee to two cups per day. Drink more tea, especially green tea.
- Spare a thought to your hard working liver. Sugar, alcohol, rich foods and food additives all make your liver work harder. When was the last time you did a liver detox? You may be amazed by the beneficial effects it has on your mood. Click here to read my free tips on how to cleanse your liver.
By making small and simple changes to your diet you can reduce feelings of anxiety or depression and achieve a more stable mood. And it won’t just be your mind that benefits, the rest of your body will too. There is much more information in my book Help for Depression and Anxiety.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.