Does Food Affect Your Mood? Everything You Need to Know
Jan 20, 2023
In this blog post we'll explore the topic of nutritional psychiatry and discuss the ways in which food can impact our mood. We'll also look at the role of stress in food habits and how it can lead to negative consequences for our emotional well-being.
Finally, we'll highlight some of the foods that are known to help improve your mood, so you can give yourself a boost when needed while avoiding the foods that drain you.
What is nutritional psychiatry and how does it relate to food and mood?
Nutritional psychiatry is an emerging field of science that seeks to understand the links between food and our mental health. In essence, it explores how healthy eating can help prevent and treat mood-related conditions like depression, anxiety, and even suicidal ideation.
Nutrition plays a huge role in brain functioning. Nutrients from food are essential for optimal brain health, as they provide fuel and building blocks for new neurons and neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and glutamate – chemicals that carry information between cells in the body and brain. Eating a nutritious diet helps maintain these necessary neurotransmitter levels.
The link between a poor diet and worsening mood disorders
It is becoming increasingly clear that there is a strong link between a poor diet and the worsening of mood disorders. Research has found that individuals who follow an unhealthy Western diet high in processed foods, refined sugars, saturated fats, red meat and sodium-rich foods are more prone to depression than those who consume traditional cuisines such as the Mediterranean or Asian diets.
As a result, moods can become more volatile leading to depression and anxiety, while cognitive functioning can be impaired due to low energy levels and lack of focus.
Stressful situations and periods of low mood often lead people towards more unhealthy food choices like consuming more sugary snacks or caffeinated beverages or skipping meals altogether which can put further stress on the body by taxing its metabolic demands with inadequate nutrition intake.
It is therefore important to break this cycle and ensure you give your brain the right nutrition and fuel.
How fatty acids can improve neurotransmitter activity
Fatty acids like omega-3s are essential for improving neurotransmitter activity in the brain. Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids that can't be produced by the human body, so they must be obtained from our diets. They play an important role in maintaining the structure and function of cell membranes within the brain, which helps regulate how neurotransmitters act on our cells. These fatty acids are also necessary for synthesizing hormones and hormone-receptor complexes that help to regulate various bodily functions.
Omega-3s also facilitate better communication between nerve cells by reducing inflammation of the cellular walls. This can help improve focus and attention span, as well as memory formation and recall because inflammatory compounds can interfere with cognitive processes.
Furthermore, studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may increase levels of serotonin in the hippocampus, which is a brain region involved in mood regulation and depression. Additionally, research has suggested that higher omega-3 intake is linked to lower risks of developing depression over time due to their anti-inflammatory properties and potential neuroprotective benefits.
Additionally, these fatty acids may help to reduce stress levels as well by modulating cortisol production and decreasing anxiety responses. This allows individuals to remain calm under stressful situations while making healthier food choices such as eating more fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts/seeds/grains, fish/seafood/lean proteins, olive oil and moderate amounts of red wine instead of unhealthy snacks or skipping meals altogether which lead to further metabolic strain on the body causing fatigue and poor concentration.
Overall it is clear that omega-3s are essential for maintaining healthy neurotransmitter activity in the brain that helps regulate mood and ensure our psychological states remain balanced over time.
The role of stress in food habits and its impact on mood
Stress has the ability to alter our eating habits, such as leading us to make unhealthy food choices or feel the urge to eat more than we need. Studies have shown that increases in cortisol (the primary stress hormone) lead to an increase in appetite, particularly for high-fat and sugary foods. The production of cortisol is also linked to a decrease in metabolic rate and an increase in fat storage resulting from elevated stress levels.
Not only does stress alter our food intake but it can also decrease the absorption of essential micronutrients from food, which leads to deficiencies over time. This lack of vitamins and minerals causes fatigue, poor concentration and mood swings - all of which can worsen depression & anxiety symptoms.
Furthermore, certain substances present in processed junk foods have been shown to have direct effects on our brain chemistry that further exacerbate psychological states such as depression & anxiety by changing how neurotransmitters interact with each other.
It might not seem obvious at first glance, but it is becoming more clear that diet has a key role to play in our mental and emotional well-being. As far as our physical and mental health is concerned, not all foods are equal.
It is worth paying close attention to your food choices and considering how this may be impacting your overall well-being. So, next time you get tempted to reach for the cookie jar, perhaps choose some nuts or fruit instead.
Also, try supplementing with JUVIA. The liquid supplement breaks down carbohydrates before they make their way to the gut. This starves unfriendly bacteria, which lets your friendly bacteria grow and dominate your gut microbiome. Studies have shown that over 90% of your serotonin, an important neurotransmitter that regulates your mood, is produced in the gut.
It’s no wonder that so many of our users report an improvement in their mood after a few weeks of using JUVIA. If you look after your gut, it will certainly look after you!