Does what you eat affect your moods? It sure does!
There are four contributing factors to food affecting moods:
- Our body manufacturers neurotransmitters within the lining of the digestive tract. These neurotransmitters, specifically serotonin, travel into the bloodstream, pass the blood brain barrier into the brain and directly affects our brain function, moods, and sleep-wake cycles. We need to be eating foods that support proper digestive health, so that we can support the manufacturing of neurotransmitters, hence support brain function and improve our overall moods.
- There is a direct connection between the gut and brain through the lymphatic system. About 80% of the lymphatic system is housed in the digestive tract. A new discovery has recently been made that has found lymphatic vessels directly connecting the lymphatic system to the brain. This means that if there are toxins or chemicals getting into the lymphatic system from the digestive tract, then the central nervous system can be vulnerable to circulating toxins, and can affect brain function. This shows the link between digestive health, our immune system and brain health through the lymphatic system.
- Blood sugar altering substances affects moods. Refined sugars like candies or processed carbohydrates like bread, pasta and pasteries which just turn into sugar as soon as you eat them. These substances cause a quick, feel-good response but lead to a bigger crash in blood sugars and adrenal function creating a fatigue situation and a dependency on these substances.
- Food additives such as MSG (monosodium glutamate) or aspartame can alter brain chemistry and moods. MSG is an excitotoxin, meaning that it overexcites cells and leads to cell damage and cell death. Short-term symptoms of MSG include numbness, tingling, burning sensation, chest pain, difficulty breathing, headaches, nausea, rapid heartbeat, drowsiness or weakness. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener, which breaks down in the body into a neurotoxin, meaning that it is toxic to cells of the nervous system. Often ingesting aspartame can lead to headaches, migraines, nausea, abdominal pains, fatigue, sleep problems, vision problems, anxiety attacks.
Here are four ways to improve our moods by the foods we eat:
- We can support proper digestion by laying the foundation of a healthy microbiome in the digestive tract with high-quality probiotics. We can eat healthy, nutrient-dense foods from the earth and stay away from inflammatory foods such as wheat, cow’s dairy and refined sugar. This will support better digestion and the manufacturing of neurotransmitters.
- We can decrease the toxic load on the body by trying to eat organic, non-GMO, real, unprocessed foods. This will decrease the congestion in the lymphatic system.
- We can avoid these blood sugar crashes by avoiding white refined sugar and decreasing grains that turn to sugars rapidly. This will decrease those extreme highs and lows in moods caused by the rapid increase and decrease in blood sugars.
- The best way to address avoiding food additives is to read through labels and avoid foods with mood altering additives such as MSG and aspartame. This will decrease the effects that many food additive chemicals have on our brains.