Beat the Blues with These Foods
I think all Houstonians would agree that this week has been weather-crazy. From one day to the next it has been perfectly sunny weather to humid and cloudy to raining non-stop and flooding. I'm not sure if this has imposed any out-balance feelings for others, but I have had some interesting conversations with close ones about how their week has been going. Since I consider my friends like my family away from home, I have been reflecting on ways to help them feel better. In my last blog post on ways to bring happiness I talk about different things we can do to invite or attract more happiness into our lives. I'd like to expand on happiness through food choices we can become more aware of that can either impair our happiness or make us feel so much better. Enjoy Friends!
Food Choices That Can Affect Your Mood
· Refined andProcessed Foods
I think we have all experienced that sugar binge that hits us during the weekend that made your stomach hurt. Am I right? Well, this can be due to the refined sugars in your diet.
This refined sugar is absorbed quickly in the blood, causing your blood sugar to spike and then drop, which is also why we are zapped for energy. Not to mention the refined carbohydrates/ processed sugars are also poorly digested and pass straight to the colon. This ends up feeding your“bad” gut bacteria in your microbiome , which has also been linked to interfering emotional and physical health.
The same goes for processed meats, fried foods, and high-fat dairy products. These foods do nothing helpful for the gut or body, other than make you feel sluggish and tired.
· Too much alcohol
Even though drinking alcohol, can make us feel good or relaxed, most people forget it is actually a depressant. Drinking large amounts of alcohol is a temporary euphoria, where some experience moments of exaggerated emotions (super happy to angry or sad) as well as impaired physical control. Depression and addictive substances (not just alcohol) are also widely known to be linked to each other.
· Caffeine overloads
I’m a coffee drinker, but try to be very careful with my coffee consumption and mostly stick to my one (sometimes two) per day amount. If you consume coffee or other caffeinated beverages late in the day it disrupt normal sleeping patterns in the middle of the night leaving you cranky and exhausted in the morning—let’s be honest, nobody likes that.
Yes, it doesn’t bring nice boosts of energy, but can often plummet us into fatigue if too much is consumed. Listen to your body and maybe try cold water or a tea instead to get some bonus health benefits.
Choose These Instead:
· 100% LABELED Whole grain or whole wheat breads, pastas, or brown rice. Other 100% whole grains include: steel cut oats or old-fashioned oats, buckwheat, or wheat berries.
· Eat your fruits and veggies that are high in antioxidants. Think about foods that are dark blue, purple, or deep reddish colors like plums, beets, berries, or tomatoes the next time you eat and add them to your plate. These choices have suggested protective benefits to our cells throughout the body, and in this case more importantly our brain.
· Folate and B12 affect neurotransmitters in our central nervous system, which coordinate with our moods. Foods with Folate and B12 vitamins found in citrus, beans, dark green vegetables like spinach or kale, are also found to positively impact your mood.
· Look for Selenium-rich foods. Selenium behaves like an antioxidant and provides protection from oxidative stress in the brain that is present in mild to moderate depression. These are oats, beans, legumes, lean meats (pork loin, lean beef cuts, skinless chicken), low fat dairy products, nuts, seeds, seafood, and brazil nuts.
· Don’t forget to grab the big Omega-3s too. These also show to have positive mood affects in how you also feel overall. Omega -3 sources are found in fish like salmon, tuna, and rainbow trout. Plant-based sources include: edamame, walnuts, flax seed, black beans, or kidney beans.
· Vitamin D from the sun has also been proven to alleviate depressive symptoms. Getting outside, breathing fresh air, and soaking up sunshine actually really does a body good. Healthy doses can be eaten from fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Dairy products and egg yolk also contain Vitamin D.
I hope this post, brought some new information to some of you guys in how what we are eating is affecting us not only physically, but also emotionally as well. These food choices (detrimental and helpful ones!) can be modified or integrated on a daily basis through practice. Not everyone is perfect, including myself, and I hope that making these changes inevitably guides you toward life-long health and happiness.