To keep functioning properly, a car needs fuel. Similarly, if we imagine our body as a car and our brain as its engine, we can understand that to keep our body and brain active, we also need fuel. In this case the fuel is adequate nutritious food. If the fuel is not good enough, then the car may not function properly. In the same way, if the food is not healthy, our body can face different complications. The complications are not only limited to physical problems but there can be different impacts on our moods and activities.
To understand the effects of food on our mood, first we need to understand how our brain works. In our brain, there are messengers called neurotransmitters that transfer signals to different parts of our bodies and tell us what to do and how to feel. Different nutrients of foods influence their activities, and are the building blocks of those neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters that affect our mood are Dopamine, Serotonin, and the Endorphins Acetylcholine, and Norepinephrine.These neurotransmitters are influenced by the types of food that we eat every day. Different nutrients are required for the synthesis and regulation of these neurotransmitters.
Foods to avoid
Cut down caffeine; too much caffeine makes us anxious and depressed and also disturbs our sleep. We should cut down the amount of coffee, tea, and chocolate.
Avoid packaged or processed foods because those have unwanted food additives and preservatives that disrupt the healthy bacteria in our gut. Also processed foods have lots of trans fats that are linked with increased aggression and irritability.
Avoid refined sugar- soda, cola and cookies, because these fluctuate blood sugar
Eat less red meat each weekThose who consumed high amount of trans fat increased their risk of depression by up to 48 percent according to another study. It was also found in another study that a diet with refined and processed food increases depression by 50 percent.
Things to maintain to get a healthy mind and body
Eat regularly at set intervals throughout the day and don’t skip meals, especially breakfast. Eating regularly can keep our blood sugar level steady.
Eat protein rich foods; our brain needs amino acids to regulate thoughts and feelings. Those also help control blood sugar level.
Make sure to eat right fat; our brain needs fatty acids like omega 3 and omega 6 to keep working well.
Drink more water; if our body is dehydrated, we might feel difficult to think clearly and concentrate. Besides water, drinking herbal, green tea or diluted fruit juice is a good idea.
Eat fruits and vegetables; these have minerals, vitamins, and fiber. Eating different colors give us a good range of nutrient.
Do some exercise daily; exercise naturally raises Endorphins, which lowers anxiety and carbohydrate craving and increase the feeling of satisfaction. It also helps increasing mental sharpness, concentration and creativity.
— Sharmin Sultana, A Public Health Professional.