Foods for your Mood
Did you know that eating certain foods can impact your mood? Nutritional psychiatry is a newly evolving field however and multiple studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between diet and mood disorders.
The foods that we eat have a direct impact on our serotonin levels. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter responsible for sleep regulation, mood, and appetite. It carries messages between nerve cells and the brain, but up to 95 percent of our body’s serotonin receptors are in the gut. The production of serotonin is directly correlated to the gut’s microbiome. “Good” gut bacteria can activate neural pathways that travel directly between the gut and the brain, in addition to protecting the lining of the intestines and limiting inflammation.
Consuming foods that contain prebiotics help beneficial bacteria in the gut grow. Prebiotics are natural sugars that stimulate growth of good bacteria in the gut. Some of the best prebiotic food choices include garlic, onions, legumes, nuts and seeds. Research supports that high-quality diets featuring these foods, as well as unprocessed grains, vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins are correlated with an increased production of feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine. A typical Western diet made up of high fat, high sugar, and highly processed foods can lead to increased feelings of anxiety and depression. These food choices do not contain adequate nutrients to raise our serotonin levels and are also linked to increased inflammation. Studies have shown that the risk of depression is up to 35% higher in those who consume the typical western diet compared to a nutrient-dense regimen like the Mediterranean diet.
When making food choices, remember that foods with fiber and prebiotics are helping to feed your gut microbiome which is responsible for serotonin synthesis. If you have questions on how to add more whole foods to your diet schedule a free nutrition consultation with our wellness dietitian at www.gatorcare.org/food-for-thought.
Check out our previous edition of Food for Thought!
Learn more about how to reduce food waste with our previous special Earth Day edition of Food for Thought!
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