Food for a better mood
The gut and the brain are the best buddies: if something is wrong in the tummy, the big bro doesn't feel well too and vice versa.
Gut microbes are able to communicate with our brain through the release of neurotransmitters, hormones, and signaling molecules and by using the immune system. Let's talk about neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine that are actually produced in the gut (about 90% and 50% respectively): their precursors can cross the blood–brain barrier and influence our mood and behavior. So it definitely makes sense to keep the lil bro G happy and nourished to make sure we fight off the depression and keep it calm up there in the brain. And how can we do that? Through the food of course!
Here are some nutrients that we need to keep us healthy (not in particular order but i couldn't not put the CHOCOLATE as my MVP:)
Flavanols in Super Extra Dark Chocolate
Originally coming from the South America about 5,000 years ago, the beans from the cacao trees
are harvested to make both cocoa powder (more famous for it's sweet taste) and its lesser-known counterpart, cacao powder. The cacao powder and cacao nibs are made from the cacao beans that are roasted at low temperatures to preserve their nutritional value.
Cacao contains flavanols - bioactive compounds with antioxidant properties. Chocolate induces positive effects on mood and is often consumed under emotional stress. In addition, flavonoids flavanols are a subgroup of a larger flavanoid group) preserve cognitive abilities during ageing in rats, lower the risk for developing Alzheimer's disease and decrease the risk of stroke in humans. Raw cacao also contains high levels of magnesium which is natural chill pill, with beneficial effects on mood.
I always knew that chocolate rocks!!
Quick tip: pick chocolate with at least 70% of cocoa (Hu Kitchen and AlterEco are my fav brands) and a very small amount of sugar or make your own:
Melt a cup of coconut oil or cacao butter
Mix it with a cup of raw cacao powder and 3-4 tablespoons of maple syrup
Freeze and enjoy!
Omegas - 3s
Scientists discovered that a long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), plays a fundamental role in brain structure and function. The summarized literature indicates that low PUFAs intake may predispose certain individuals to depression and anxiety.
Omega-3s come in:
• Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) found in fatty cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardines, albacore tuna, and herring.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA): Also found in cold-water fish, EPA seems to have a unique role in maintaining a healthy mood. We need a little more EPA than DHA to balance out the mood.
In addition, some EPA is converted to DHA in the body.
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA): Found in freshly ground flaxseed and chia seeds, canola oil, pumpkin seeds, purslane, almonds and walnuts, and in small amounts in Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, and salad greens, ALA doesn’t directly influence mood management although it may help with heart health. The human body converts a small percentage into EPA and DHA.
Seaweed and algae also supply EPA and DHA.
Most of us are chronically deficient in the sunshine vitamin (it's produced in your skin in response to sunlight).
Vitamin D is fat- soluble, and it acts more like a hormone than a vitamin by regulating hundreds of uber- important pathways in the body.
No wonder peeps on insta always post pics of rays with a #vitamind :)
Studies concluded that exercising outdoors in the sunshine (20 minutes in the morning without the sunscreen will do it), eating foods rich in vitamin D, and/or taking dietary supplements to improve vitamin D deficiency could improve one’s mental well being.
Eat some salmon, trout, eggs yolks, cod liver oil, mushrooms, cheese, soy, almond, and oat milks, vitamin D fortified.
Quick tip: since Vitamin D is fat-soluble, take it with fat and pair with Vitamin K2.
B Vitamins play a role in hormone balancing as well as in producing brain chemicals that affect mood and attention. and can improve serotonin and dopamine levels to stabilize mood.
B Vitamins include:
B5 (pantothenic acid)
People who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet are at an increased risk for B-12 deficiency so watch out for that.
Vitamin B spectrum can be found in: beef and lamb livers, clams, tuna, sardines, fortified cereal, nutritional yeast, fortified non dairy milk, eggs, avocado, sea veggies, grass fed beef.
Magnesium is great for balancing hormones, helping with constipation, and soothing anxiety. Chronic physical or mental stress depletes your body of magnesium, and low magnesium levels intensify stress — creating a vicious cycle. Studies also suggest that adequate magnesium intake can calm stress, improve mood and enhance sleep.
Magnesium rich foods include: chard, spinach, kale, collard greens, bananas, legumes, sea vegetables,
avocados, almonds, cashew, Brazilian nuts, buckwheat, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, edamame, dark chocolate.
Quick tip: magnesium converts vitamin D from an inactive form to an active form. Vitamin D then increases the body’s ability to absorb calcium. This is similar to the relationship between magnesium and calcium. In fact, if you are low on magnesium, there is extra calcium in the body that can not be utilized, and this can cause conditions like arthritis. Since magnesium works closely with calcium, it is important to have an appropriate ratio of both minerals in order for them to be effective.
P.S. Download the Mood Food below!