I’m sure you are all too familiar with that family member or mate who gets that crankiness when he or she hasn’t eaten in a while, or perhaps that hangry person is you?
And I guess that is the easiest way to really demonstrate the correlation between mood and food… or lack of! But how about we take this one step further?
All humans have a brain, a brain that is in constant need of energy to drive it to perform, both those conscious and unconscious activities of daily living. But in order to operate, the human brain requires fuel, just like your motor car. This fuel, is made up of oxygen, water and nutrients from the foods we eat. Importantly, the kind of nutrients can have a direct influence on our brain and ultimately our mood.
Now I am certainly no car buff, and I feel grateful each time I fill up my car that nothing exploded nor did I try put the fuel nozzle through my window when filling up. I have been told though (and yes, I follow rules to a T), that one must put the correct fuel into your car for optimum functioning and premium results.
It would stand to reason then, that the body works on that same principle. In fact, the body is like that fancy motor car, the top of the range model that demands premium fuel. Eating high quality and a variety of foods that give plenty vitamins, minerals and antioxidants nourishes and protects the brain and allows it to function optimally. And this in turn would help us to feel better, calmer and more positive.
The old saying of “you are what you eat”, is actually full of merit. There is a plethora of evidence to suggest that certain foods help improve your mood while others make it worse. I am sure that you notice this during weeks that you have tended to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, more wholegrains and lean proteins, that you have felt calmer, more grounded and in a better mood.
Perhaps you have noticed that when you are more anxious and stressed you have tended to eat more of the sugary, creamy or greasy foods? Oftentimes, consuming these highly processed, high sugar, high fat foods leads to a stressed-out digestive system and that corresponds to a variety of mental health issues.
More and more research is linking higher rates of mental health complaints to poorer eating habits. The diet-depression relationship is becoming increasingly clearer. Scientists are still discovering the intricacies in this relationship, however, there is clear enough evidence to suggest that healthier eating patterns are of benefit to our hard working brains.
We only get one brain, one body and one life – this is not a practice session. You don’t get a second go, so make the first time count. Take a moment to stop and think before you make that food choice – will it help or hinder? Is it the premium fuel or is it going to clog the engine?