As 2014 is about to end and we are on the threshold of a New Year 2015, let’s resolve to eat healthy and make our lives finer. ‘Eat Healthy’ is a New Year resolution that almost every 4 out of 5 women and 2 out of 5 men in the world take up during a year end but break the same by mid February the next year. This time we have a better reason to swear by the same quintessential ‘New Year Resolution’ without ending up breaking it! It definitely will shower health benefits upon us but not all of us are aware of the fact that good food influences good mood! Yes, that is why you may have come across phrases like ‘Mood Foods.’
There is an over-the-top connection between your diet and your moods, mind frames and sentiments. So, how does food influence our mood? It affects the body’s metabolism, hormones and neurotransmitters (mood chemicals that are produced in the brain), and these in turn influence our emotions, concentration and energy. Proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins in foods work to keep our metabolism, hormones and neurotransmitters in check, which also balances our temperaments. As a chocolate instantly melts in your mouth, you can literally feel stress within you take a sabbatical and bliss greeting you. But is it just a trick of the mind? Well, the fact is certain foods can stimulate the ‘happy-making’ parts of your brain. And a few other foods have the stark opposite effect. It’s not your imagination, chocolate is known to be a joy amphetamine.
There’s more to ‘mood maintenance’ than eating the right kind of food. The framework for good mood hygiene begins with employing some basic nutrition policies. Firstly as they say, eat right till the point when you are about to be full. So, eat a little less than enough but eat often! Eating at regular intervals helps to ensure that your body has a continuous source of fuel, and this may abet in keeping your mood stable. In fact once you’re in this habit, you will look forward to your eating breaks! Now most importantly don’t skip meals. Though it may be tempting to rush out of the door without breakfast, you are sure to have a bad day at work then! It is then futile to blame the day or your stars for it. You can be your own judge and know what to avoid. Before you can eat mood-boosting foods, it’s important to know which foods to leave off on your bucket list. The biggest bad-mood culprits are refined white starches such as white rice, white bread, and crackers.
If you’re a multi- tasker and your mind is overactive all the time, you need comestibles that will relax your nerves. Pumpkin seeds, leafy greens and almonds are the best foods for you! Magnesium, found in pumpkin seeds and leafy greens, is a calming mineral that gets depleted when we’re stressed. These three super foods also enhance your sleep and make sure that you get your share of a sound eight hours long beauty sleep. Now, if you’re a student and wish to strengthen your concentration then avocados, bananas and beans are like a knight in shining armor for you. These three foods contain tyrosine, which builds the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, both of which boost alertness and concentration. Also zinc, found in all three of these, helps to turn omega-3 fats, which are vital for concentration. These three foodstuffs help vegetarians get their essential intake of Omega-3, this is better than popping Omega-3 pills. Dehydration can also contribute to poor concentration and low energy, so try to drink lots of water every day to stay hydrated. Water is our ultimate savior in any case, it helps maintain glowing skin so we feel beautiful, it helps to maintain a fit body so we feel confident, it keeps diseases at bay so we are high all the time and most importantly it is one of our necessities to survival, so it makes us feel alive!
Now, for all the depressed souls out there, here are some foods that can make you happy. In fact, not only happy but make you experience ultimate bliss! Asparagus, beans, peas, egg yolks, sunflower seeds, spinach, meat, fish and poultry, these foods abound in folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. These minerals work to keep homocysteine levels low. Homocysteine is an amino acid produced by the body, and high levels can be a predictor of depression, especially in women when their biological clock is ticking away! Also leafy greens, legumes and nuts are packed with vitamin B, which helps to create neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which calms and reduces anxiety. Onions, romaine lettuce and tomatoes are filled with Chromium, which is essential for insulin production, which regulates our blood sugar. Keeping blood sugar in balance is key to stable dispositions. So, you now have the key to keep diabetes at bay. And yes, we just can’t afford to be a diabetic as sweets is something that completely charge us up! So, can we be deprived of them, never! Poultry, red meat, shellfish and whole grains should be consumed in the right proportion as they endow us with some essential fats. But an overdose of these will make you feel sluggish!
It’s generally accepted that how we feel can influence what we choose to eat or drink. The use of caffeine is one example of a convoluted relationship. Caffeine, found in tea, coffee, cola drinks and chocolate, is probably the most widely used behavior-modifying drug in the world. We often choose to drink it if we are feeling tired and irritable, because it can give us a boost and help us to focus. Having a cup of coffee or tea also has a lot of positive psychological connotations. We meet a friend for ‘coffee and a chat’ or give ourselves a break by sitting down with a cup of tea, and these things are very important. But too much caffeine can cause symptoms, such as anxiety, nervousness and depression. So, attachment to a particular ‘mood food’ is acceptable but not addiction to the same! Any exploration into food and mood needs to take into account this two-way relationship and include the psychological aspect behind what we ‘are choosing’ to eat and what we ‘must choose’ to eat! The key to it all is knowing what is best for us as an individual and maintaining a balance among all our meals and their portions! So, lets bid farewell to all those dieticians that endorse crash dieting and let our mood take up the duty to design our diet plan this New Year and conversely let our food ensure that we are in the best of our mood!
– The article is authored by Henna Shah. She is an active food blogger. You can access her blog via http://www.relishandcherish.com