Have you ever noticed how food affects your mood? For example, perhaps you had a big lunch of pasta and bread, and shortly afterward you feel extremely fatigued, unmotivated, and maybe sad. Or, perhaps you had a fresh, green juice and now you feel happy, energetic, and productive.
The food you nourish your body with plays a huge role in your overall mood and energy level. In Julia Ross’ book, The Mood Cure, she gives a list of good and bad mood foods. This is what I’m sharing with you today.
Basically, she suggests that if you focus on the good mood foods, then you will lessen any anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia, or other brain-related imbalances. Following this plan is also very nourishing for your body, helps support neurotransmitters (which affect our mood), and it helps balance hormones and blood sugar.
Of course, you can use this as a guide and find what works best for you. The main takeaway here is to focus on real food (protein, healthy fats, fruits, and veggies), and eliminate the sugar, gluten, and processed foods.
Good Mood Foods
- Without protein you cannot feel optimistic, enthusiastic, calm, or comforted. The neurotransmitters that send out all of these positive feelings can be made only by using certain of the twenty-two types of protein called “amino acids.”
- The more protein, the better you’re able to feel. Most people seem to need 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal.
- Examples include: fish, poultry, eggs, beef, lamb, pork, venison, buffalo
- If we add more omega-3, we can quickly raise a potent natural antidepressant brain chemical called dopamine by 40 percent! That translates to mental and physical alertness, focus, and excitement.
- The best sources of omega-3 fats are wild salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies, and mackerel.
- You can also supplement with high-quality cod liver oil for additional support.
- One mood benefit provided by the creamy fats we’ve been avoiding all these years is that they support the function of the omega-3s in our brains, reducing the negative effects of the excess omega-6s. They actually lower levels of the most potentially damaging omega-6 fat, arachidonic acid.
- In your brain and body the saturated fats build protective cell walls.
- Examples include: butter, cream, coconut oil, coconut milk, fattier cuts of meat, and egg yolks
- Vegetables are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
- Try to consume 4-5 cups per day or more!
Fruits, starchy vegetables, legumes
- We need good-quality carbohydrates, especially for fueling our brains. The brain is particularly dependent on a constant supply of glucose from carbs for quick energy, which it burns to keep its millions of cellular engines running at all times (a good percentage of which are generating our moods).
- We can get whatever additional quick energy we need from fruit, starchier vegetables, and legumes, all nutrient rich. All are whole foods that break down gradually.
Put your first emphasis at all three meals on protein, fat, and vegetables. Eat 20 to 30 grams of protein at every meal, about the size of the palm of your hand. Eat lots of green and some red, orange, purple, and yellow vegetables every day. Your goal is at least 4 or 5 cups of vegetables a day. Shoot for 40-60% of your calories coming from healthy fat.
Bad Mood Foods
Refined sugar and starches
- Refined, processed sugars and starches can force a release of your brain’s natural feel-good neurotransmitters, serotonin and endorphin. This brain chemistry disruption and depletion leads to the need for another cookie for another brief mood boost… then another… and another.
- They can contribute to two other emotional and physical scourges – stress and sex hormone imbalance. The adrenal glands get so enormously overworked processing sweets and refined starches that they can’t keep up with the demand when a stressful life is added to a stressful diet.
- Gluten can irritate, inflame, and rupture the lining of the digestive tract to the point that nutrients from food don’t get absorbed well (or sometimes at all). Food can’t be properly broken down and digested, so malnutrition sets in.
- People with gluten intolerance have low levels of the antidepressant, anti-anxiety brain chemical serotonin. Gluten has been implicated in mental illness since at least 1979.
- More recently, anxiety, Tourette’s, ADD, epilepsy, and other neurological problems have been associated with these grains.
Refined vegetable oils
- Refined vegetable oils are very unstable. They can become dangerously rancid very quickly. Rancid means oxidized, and in your body, oxidized means damage to your cells and tissues, especially to the areas rich in fat like your brain.
- These oils are super high in omega-6 fatty acids. Over-consuming omega-6 can result in overkill of healthy tissues all over the body, including the brain. Chronic inflammation of the brain can interfere with neurotransmitter functions in any number of brain cells.
- Examples include: corn oil, soy oil, canola oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, wheat-germ oil, cottonseed oil, walnut oil, margarine, shortening
- Soy can adversely affect mood-regulating sex and thyroid hormones, but it can also adversely affect the brain and digestion.
- Soy contains an unusual kind of protein, which, though high in most amino acids, is so hard to digest (except perhaps in the case of fermented miso or tempeh) that its mood-protective amino acids are not easily absorbed. This protein can also damage the digestive tract, and that can result in generally impaired digestion and further decreased protein absorption.
- A thirty-five-year Hawaiian study of 8,900 Japanese men and 500 of their wives, all of Japanese descent, showed tofu intake to be the only factor that correlated with brain aging and shrinking and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Besides the predictably negative effects on the quantity and quality of your sleep, making you tired and irritable, caffeine can contribute to feelings of anxiety.
- It inhibits the brain’s levels of antidepressant serotonin and sleep-inducing melatonin.
- It also overstimulates and weakens the kidneys, pancreas, liver, stomach, intestines, heart, nervous system, and adrenal glands and over-acidifies the pH (causing premature aging).
NOTE: While I agree with most of what she recommends, I don’t agree entirely on caffeine being a bad mood food. For some people, it certainly can be. I also think in certain situations, it can be helpful to eliminate caffeine for a period of time. However, I also believe that small amounts of caffeine from quality sources may offer positive benefits. As with anything else, it depends on the person. It also depends on the quantity being consumed and the time of day of consumption. Listen to your body, and decide what is best for you.
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Do You Know Your Body’s Most Important Weight Loss Secret?
By J. Davis III
Tags: HEALING | HEALTHY FATS | REMEDIES
Recently, Doctor of Naturopathy, weight-loss expert and best-selling Amazon author Liz Swann Miller, creator of the Red Smoothie Detox Factor, revealed 2 of the secrets to easy, steady weight loss. Secrets the big food corporations do their best to hide from us.
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By Richard Neal
Tags: HEALING | REMEDIES | PREVENTION
According the latest statistics, diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes in the United States is reaching epidemic levels:
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#1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat
By J. Davis III
Tags: HEALING | PREVENTION
I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat.
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d) Hip Flexors
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