I have heard people say they love soda or coffee because these beverages gives them a sudden burst of extreme energy and satisfaction at that moment of hunger or when they are just wanting something to pick up their mood, especially in the morning.
Have you ever noticed that when you eat a particular food, you feel a burst of energy with a clear mind focus? Is the energy long lasting or does it just last for an hour or two? What about eating during a festive period like thanksgiving. Do you get tired and sleepy right after dessert? Is it because you ate too much or was it a particular food that made you feel so tired?
The study by T. S. Sathyanarayana Rao et Al, “Understanding Nutrition, Depression and Mental Illnesses”, shows there is clearly a relationship between what we eat and how we react to the constant and varied challenges of daily life. According to this study, “Current research in psychoneuroimmunology and brain biochemistry indicates the possibility of communication pathways that can provide a clearer understanding of the association between nutritional intake, central nervous system, and immune function thereby influencing an individual’s psychological health status. These findings may lead to greater acceptance of the therapeutic value of dietary intervention among health practitioners and health care providers addressing depression and other psychological disorders.”
What foods can you include in your diet to get you in a better mood, when you feel down? What foods can boost your brain power and offer you sharper and clearer focus of the mind? Let us look at three of them.
The outer portion of your body cells are covered with healthy fats. They need this to correctly function. When you don’t eat enough healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, your body systems fail to function at optimum capacity. What this means for you is lack of energy and foggy thinking. This decreases your power to focus and make appropriate and timely decisions that influence your personal growth. Avocados have been shown to contain vital brain power, hormone balancing and thus mood enhancing chemicals. Never hesitate to load up on foods like these, in order to get feeling great. Healthy fatty foods like walnuts, salmon, cashews and eggs all fall into this category.
In a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, for instance, researchers analyzed 26 previously published studies (involving 150,278 participants) that examined the association between fish consumption and the risk of depression. In their analysis, the review’s authors found that people who consumed the most fish were less likely to have depression symptoms.
Research continues to show that the bacteria in your gut play a major role in your mood. In a review published in the Annals of General Psychiatry in 2017, researchers analyzed 10 previously published studies and found that the majority of studies found positive effects of probiotics on depression symptoms.
Without going into too much detail here, the general recommendation now in the wellness community be is for us to get some dose of probiotics daily inorder to balance out hormones, thus keeping our moods in check. You may supplement with pills or choose to eat fermented foods like yogurt (not the one with tons of sugars and fruits in it), sauerkraut, garri or pickled vegetables. These foods are usually natural mood enhancers and are a must have along your wellness journey.
Low folate levels have been consistently associated with depression in research. Some studies have found that found that people with depression had lower blood levels of folate and lower dietary intake of folate compared to those without depression. Great food sources of folate are spinach, kale, okra, broccoli and avocado.
So whenever you feel “blah”, or feel like you have the blues and can’t seem to think clearly or focus, reach into your pantry/refrigerator for any foods from the above categories. One of them will surely give you that long lasting burst of energy and help you think clearly, making wise and purposeful decisions along the way.