Statistics indicate that 1 in 5 Australians will suffer from a mental health issue in the next 12 months. Many don't realise that Food Can Balance Their Mood; we call this the food mood connection.
Blood sugar balance is crucial for combating anxiety. You need to provide your brain with glucose so it can function. When it doesn’t get the glucose it needs your mood will be affected by emotional and physical signs of low blood sugar including anxiety and sometimes depression. High blood sugar levels are also detrimental to the brain so it’s really all about balance.
A Naturopath can help you understand how the food you are currently eating may be affecting your mood and can guide you to make simple and practical improvements for better mental health.
Here are a few tips to help find that food mood balance:
- Eat whole fresh foods that are not highly processed.
- Eat frequently enough for blood sugar stability. Never go more than 4 - 5 hours through the day without eating.
- Include a quality protein at each meal. Good quality protein sources include grass-fed meat, pastured poultry and eggs and wild fish. If you are vegetarian - legumes, nuts and seeds will provide protein. Protein is needed to build your neurotransmitter chemicals.
- Eat a rainbow of fresh non-starchy vegetables such as green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower and fresh herbs. These provide vitamins and minerals important as cofactors for healthy brain chemicals.
- Eat fresh whole fruit. Two pieces a day is enough for most people as fruit can be very high in natural sugars.
- Eat good fats such as cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, butter, coconut oil, oily fish, avocadoes, whole nuts and seeds. Your brain is composed mostly of fat.
- Stay well hydrated with water, herbal teas and fresh vegetable juices.
- Eat small amounts of fresh starchy vegetables such as potato, sweet potato and pumpkin.
- Eat small amounts of whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, millet and amaranth.
- If you tolerate dairy foods choose full fat milk, yogurt, cream, cheese and kefir.
- Avoid foods low in essential nutrients such as processed foods, anything with artificial ingredients, modified foods, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, artificial sweeteners and soft drinks.
A few things to remember to maintain that food mood balance:
- Consuming refined sugars and carbohydrates leads to a spike and then a drop in blood sugar levels that can lead to anxiety, nervousness and irritability.
- When your blood sugar levels are stable you will feel grounded and experience less anxiety, feel less stressed and overwhelmed.
- Avoid sugar, processed foods and white foods.
- Eat enough protein paced throughout the day.
- Always eat breakfast and ensure that you have some protein.
- Eat regular meals.