Besides rhyming, food and mood have a lot in common and scientists are just now beginning to grasp exactly how what we eat impacts our day-to-day lives. Here are some key nutrients that, when we are lacking, we begin to have some serious emotional responses that can lead to a decline in mental wellbeing.
Vitamin D- This essential vitamin is found naturally in fish like tuna and salmon as well as in dairy products like milk and cheese. Sunlight triggers the body to produce some vitamin D by itself, but our bodies still depend on us getting vitamin D through our diet. Whenever people lack vitamin D, they are more likely to feel "down". This seems to affect people more if they live in places with less sunshine because their bodies are not able to produce vitamin D naturally.
Complex Carbs- Carbohydrates are essentially sugars that our cells use as fuel. This includes our brain cells which are constantly firing. Complex carbs come from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables and give our minds and bodies a steady supply of consistent energy throughout the day. Simple carbs from food and drinks high in sugar give us a sudden surge of energy that is quickly depleted. These peaks and valleys in our energy levels may lead to mental maladies.
Protein- Available from a variety of sources, protein plays the role of regulating your energy level as well as your mood by increasing the production of dopamine and other important chemicals in the brain. The effects of protein last several hours because it is slowly broken down by the body. You can get protein from meat and eggs of course, but also from tofu and Greek yogurt.
Probiotics- Recently, scientists have uncovered much more information about the importance of the bacteria in our digestive system called our “gut biome”. One interesting thing that scientists discovered is that gut bacteria may have a significant impact on mental wellbeing. Probiotics are now believed to help with anxiety and depression by helping your body produce more chemicals responsible for improving your mood. The interaction is still being studied but probiotics are already being used to improve mood.
The Big Picture- Though all these nutrients have important roles to play in your mood and overall mental and physical health, balance is the key to getting the most out of your diet and giving your mind and body everything needed to achieve your goals and feel good doing it. Supplements like Super Greens take the guesswork out of planning your nutrition by giving you a wide variety of crucial vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and probiotics all in one convenient package.