Here is a scary statistic:
— One in 20 Americans suffers from depression and/or anxiety
I know this because I am one of them. I have had these debilitating issues for the better part of my life. I have tried lots of options from medication, Yoga, and guided imagery. There are different things that work for different people. We have to find what is best for our biological make-up when treating emotional disorders. One thing that we all have in common, though, is food. Food plays a CRUCIAL role in how our bodies and minds function.
First off, how we eat affects our mood. So that means, slow down! Enjoy your food and what you are putting into your mouth. If you “scarf down” your lunch while answering emails or driving the car, for example, your whole mentality is put into RUSH mode. If you are prone to anxiety, like me, then you know that you need time to relax. When better to do this than when you eat? Food is meant to be savored! You may find that after you’ve inhaled that burger, you have indigestion, which can lead to a change in mood. It’s a vicious cycle.
And if you don’t believe that WHAT we eat affects our mood then think back to when you were a child. Or if you have children, you will get this. After a piece (or 12) of candy, kids are bouncing, happy, laughing, spastic! Then, about an hour or so later-CRASH! The sugar high is gone and they are either super grumpy, or asleep. Prime example of the food-mood connection. Ever noticed how you feel after eating a heavy, carb laden meal? Sleepy, lethargic, etc? It’s your body’s way of reacting to what you put into it.
Below is a list of items that affect our moods in many ways. I don’t have space to list all of the reasons, but if you are prone to the blues or to nervousness, try to cut back or eliminate these items from your diet. Again, this goes back to reading labels, but I think that is really one of the best habits we can get into when shopping for food.
v Fried Foods
v Refined Sugars
v White-flour products
v Chemical food additives
And here are some foods that you should DEFINITELY add to your diet.
v Omega 3 Fatty Acids
v Complex Carbs
Yes, that is CHOCOLATE on the list! It has compounds that are proven mood lifters. This doesn’t mean that it’s a Reese’s or Hershey free for all! There are lots of calories and sugar in chocolate too. Just try to eat organic, good quality dark chocolate to get the most out of your treat.
So, in a proverbial omega 3 infused nut shell, what and how you eat really does affect how you feel. Be mindful of what you put into your body as well as how you are eating because happiness is really only a bite away!