The food and mood connection-A A +A
Friday, January 25, 2013
MEDITATION and positive imagery are tools to reduce stress. Check this article out by mayoclinic.com.
Can what one eats affect his mood? Can his diet be part of the equation to reduce stress? Possibly.
Omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, tryptophan, folate and other B vitamins, low glycemic foods, and chocolate have all been studied to assess their impact on mood. The results are mixed but seem to show an association—though not a direct link—between these foods and improved mood.
Of course, these nutrients and foods are part of a healthy diet. And when one eats a healthy diet, his body reaps the benefits. For example, when a person eats fruits, starchy vegetables and whole grains throughout the day he keeps his body fueled and his blood sugar level on an even keel. Plus he’s getting vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Combining carbohydrates and proteins enhances the availability of serotonin in one’s brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter said to have a calming effect and to play a role in sleep.
In addition, a person simply knowing he is taking care of himself can boost his mood.
And we’re all familiar with the power of comfort foods. For example, drinking a glass of milk before bedtime can trigger a comforting memory of one’s childhood.
Now, one should think of the foods and behaviors he associates with a stressed-out lifestyle. Can he see someone who is sleep-deprived, gulping down caffeine and shoveling in fast food while on the run? Can he also picture the vicious circle at work here? Stress leads to sleeping less, which leads to reaching for caffeine and sugar for a fix, which is followed by a crash and need for another fix. Add to that skipping regular meals and exercise and maybe using alcohol to unwind. Alcohol and lack of exercise contribute to poor sleep. And so the cycle continues. We know that this way of eating doesn’t make us feel good physically or mentally.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 26, 2013.