Health & Medical Nutrition

Know How Food Affects Your Mood

What you eat does affect your mood, so you need to choose your food wisely.
In other words, the kind of food you eat is instrumental in endowing in you qualities such as a sense of well being, concentration, alertness, and different energy levels.
There are some chemicals in the brain called the neuron transmitters.
Certain neuron transmitters excite and some calm, three chemical neuron transmitters are made in the brain from byproducts of the food you eat.
These are dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.
Dopamine and norepinephrine are the alertness chemicals.
When the brain is producing these, there is a tendency to think and react more quickly and feel motivated, attentive ad mentally energetic.
You have heard of the term adrenaline rush.
Adrenaline also known as epinephrine is in the same family of chemical neurotransmitters.
Serotonin is the calming and relaxing chemical.
Lab studies show that when the brain is using serotonin, feelings of tension and stress decrease and the mind can concentrate and focus better.
Serotonin also reduces the reaction time and depending on the time of day one may feel sleepy or sluggish.
Carbohydrates Eating carbohydrate makes you feel better less stressed and calm as the energy is up.
However, all carbohydrates are not equal in their ability to offer mood altering results.
The best way to consume carbohydrates is as wholegrain and complex carbohydrates.
Wholegrain are broken down over a long period of time keeping a constant flow of serotonin in the body.
Complex carbohydrates are present in cereals such as rice, wheat, jowar, ragi, corn, potato and pulses.
Snack food that helps one concentrate better and ward off tension in the middle of the day includes popcorn, baked potato, vegetable sandwiches and fresh fruits.
Proteins Protein releases brain chemical for self esteem optimism, impulse/appetite control, calm and good feelings and good sleep.
If one is feeling sluggish protein encourages the production of dopamine and norepinephrine which produce alertness, mental energy and faster reaction time.
The effects of eating protein lasts for about two or three hours.
One should not eat protein in large quantities several hours before bedtime or this will cause difficulties in falling asleep.
Proteins also contain amino acids that aid in the creation of endorphins - mood regulation neurotransmitters.
So it is essential for people suffering from stress, depression or anxiety.
High protein foods include fish, egg white, sprouts, and nuts.
Grapes and oranges, even capsicum taken in informed quantity are helpful.
Fruits and vegetables Vegetables and fruits colorfully arranged in a market, giving out nice smells, tempting flavors - all these have a calming effect on us.
The smell and thought of flavor/taste calms us.
Vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that make good moods possible.
Fruits tend to be rich in vitamin B6 which the brain needs to make serotonin, a neurotransmitter that facilitates happy moods.
They are also full of antioxidants, which protect the brain cell membranes.
It is recommended to have four to five one cup servings of fruits and veggies daily.
The fresher the produce the more nutrients one gets.
Water Your body is three quarters water.
Dehydration makes you feel fuzzy and dull.
You need eight glasses of water (2 liters) every day to replace lost fluids in the body (more so in hot whether and if exercising).
This is on top of all other drinks.
Caffeine Caffeine inhibits the brain levels of serotonin and melatonin, a hormone that affects your sleep cycles as well as depleting vitamin B, vitamin C, potassium, calcium and zinc.
This impacts sleep quality and duration as well as tolerance to stress.
As serotonin levels are suppressed, tendency to be depressed, irritable, obsessive, worried, or fearful increases.
Sweet Anybody looking for a radical change in his/her moods must drop processed sugar.
Sugar or sweet temporarily lifts the mood but the insulin rush that happens after eating the sweet, rapidly brings down both the sugar and the mood.
Alcohol Alcohol has a sedative effect in small quantities.
However chances of misusing alcohol are quite high.
Moreover, the long term use of alcohol may have negative effects like liver diseases, cancer, brain cell loss and diabetes.
Although alcohol can lift moods its other effects make it a poor choice as a mood lifter.
Food deprivation Depriving yourself of food can also mess up moods.
You get depressed, irritable; you don't have the energy to exercise.
All the vital nutrients are also missed.
There will be weight loss - then gain back - all leading to low self-esteem.

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