Nutrition And Mental Health Connections

What does the food you put in your mouth have to do with your brain and mood? It seems there are nutrition and mental health connections that scientists are now starting to investigate. These studies are deemed nutritional psychiatry. It only makes sense that if a chemical can alter behavior, via a pill, then why wouldn’t the chemicals in some foods do the same? Just like any other organ of the body, the brain needs fuel and it’s now more apparent that the right fuel can help improve your overall health.

High octane food, produces the best results.

What you eat affects all parts of your body, but particularly the brain. Healthy food provides antioxidants that can eliminate damage from free radicals that cause oxidative stress and damages cells. There are studies around the world to investigate how certain foods and herbs, like turmeric, can help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s. A quick example of how food affects your mood is how sugar affects the body. It causes inflammation and fluctuations in insulin. Studies show a high sugar diet increases the negative effects of depression and mood disorders.

The neurotransmitters play a primary role in how you feel emotionally.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, feel a lot of pain, have unusual appetite patterns or lots of mood shifts, you may be low on serotonin. It’s produced in the gastrointestinal tract. That has millions of nerve cells. These neurons and the neurotransmitters produced, like serotonin, are in full gear or lacking based on the microbiome of your gut. That’s all the bacteria, fungus and other microscopic entities that live there. There are good bacteria and ones that cause problems. What they all have in common, is that collectively they can dictate your physical and mental health. Consuming food that helps produce more “good” bacteria.

Studies comparing diets show a difference.

When the average American or Western diet was compared to more traditional ones, like the traditional Japanese diet or the Mediterranean diet, the Western diet showed more incidence of depression. In fact, it increased the risk by as much as 25 to 35 per cent. The difference is primarily the processed food and sugar in the Western or American diet. In traditional diets of other cultures, the food is not only unprocessed, but also has fermented food that adds healthy probiotics to the body.

  • Fiber is also another part of the diet that encourages the development of healthy bacteria.
  • It’s not all about diet, exercise also boosts your mood. It burns off the hormones of stress, increases circulation of nutrient and oxygen rich blood to the brain and creates happy hormones that make you feel good. New studies show exercise also increases healthy bacteria in your gut.
  • Food that contains nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamins D and B, folic acid and tryptophan improve your mood and make it better.
  • Foods you should consider to boost your mood include low-fat dairy, lean protein and whole grains. You should also limit saturated fat, sodium and added sugar. Fiber is your friend.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

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