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Mood Food

You are what you eat, physically and mentally

By George M. Withers

There’s no denying our daily menu affects our physical wellbeing. But how much of an effect does food have on our mood?

Sugar intake, of course, influences your blood sugar level, something that irrefutably impacts mood. Low blood sugar causes crankiness while a spike in blood sugar can provide the high before a big crash into the deep, dark blues.

Unknown food sensitivities or undiagnosed allergies will obviously take a toll. Bloating, acne, and lethargy are all red flags. Take a look at the possible triggers in your daily diet. Gluten, dairy, eggs, and nuts can all cause a big change in mood.

Too much of something is often a bad idea, but so is too little. Speak to your doctor or consult a qualified nutritionist before making drastic adjustments to your diet, but vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be serious setbacks mentally. Vitamin B, omega-3, iron and magnesium deficiencies are among the most common.

Psychobiotics, a subset of probiotics, are bacteria found in certain foods that can help deliver mood-boosting chemicals to the brain. Not only do they affect our digestive and immune systems, they impact our mental outlook, too. Studies have shown that both yogurt and sauerkraut are often safe bets to boost mood . . . maybe just not together.

No wonder chocolate is the go to mood booster for so many of us. It’s packed with the neurotransmitter serotonin, that chemical that washes the brain’s blues away. As with all good things in life, eat in moderation. And if you indulge, indulge with dark chocolate.

 

Winter 2016, Vol 8 N°1

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