Is It Possible to Eat Your Way to a Better Mood?
Healthy eating is frequently praised for its capacity to boost energy levels, improve athletic performance, aid weight loss, and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Here’s another reason to choose nutrient-dense foods: What you put on your fork could have a major impact on how you feel.
The concept of food and mood being related is garnering more attention, which is why “hangry” is now in the lexicon. It’s expected to continue to gain attention as more is learned about hormone regulation, blood sugar, and the brain-gut link. Let’s look at how different types of eating might give you a new perspective on your mental wellness.
Your blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, is a crucial factor in how your meal choices affect your happiness, irritability, or a wide range of emotional responses.
According to Michelle Routhenstein, RD, owner of nutritional counseling practise Entirely Nourished, when you eat, your body breaks down the food and converts some of it into glucose, which is essentially fuel that moves through your bloodstream and is the primary energy source for your body and brain.
Insulin and glucagon are two hormones that regulate blood glucose levels and determine what should be used and what can be saved. According to Routhenstein, when your blood sugar levels drop to dangerously low levels — which can occur as a result of eating simple carbs that cause blood sugar levels to jump and then crash — you may feel sleepy, irritable, worried, or agitated.
The effect can be amplified if the simple carbs also contain sugar. That’s why, without any other food to cut down the glucose spikes, eating a large piece of cake without any other food — such as protein or fiber — might leave you feeling hungry soon after.
Aside from the effect on blood sugar, various foods have an effect on how serotonin, the “feel-good hormone,” is released in the brain. Apart from the enjoyment that comes with feeling full, this can induce a rise in feeling content.
According to Routhenstein, poor omega-3 fatty acid intake has been associated with depressed mood, anger, and impulsive conduct in studies. Because high omega-3 consumption is linked to decreased depression and elevated mood, researchers believe that those reactions are triggered by less serotonin release.
Routhenstein adds that inflammation plays a significant part in this as well. Salmon, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseed are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which not only raise serotonin levels but also lower systemic inflammation.
Finally, the bacteria in your stomach is an issue to consider. In recent years, there has been a lot of research on the role of your gastrointestinal system in regulating emotions including anger, anxiety, melancholy, and even joy.