What does our diet have to do with our state of mind?
The mood is a sentimental state, pleasant or unpleasant, that accompanies an idea or situation and is maintained for some time.
Unlike emotions, such as fear, sadness, joy, a mood is less intense, more lasting (it can last for hours or days), and less specific. It is conditioned by environmental and personal factors, that is where our brain plays a very important role, through the secretion of neurotransmitters, that is, chemical substances that are responsible for transmitting signals from our brain to the rest of our body, they intervene in generating pleasure, improving our memory, concentration, provide well-being and happiness among other functions.
It is proven that food has a direct impact on our state of mind, the connection between food and emotions arises from a close relationship between our brain and intestine, better known as “our second brain”.
Various investigations have found that certain components of food will help us to induce sleep, generate a feeling of joy and well-being, as well as combat depression and stress to which we are exposed every day, however, there are also certain foods that They can cause the opposite effect on the brain, causing us negativity and bad mood, so it is better to avoid them or reduce their consumption as much as possible.
Tryptophan is one of the components that will favor our mood, this substance is an amino acid precursor of serotonin, the famous “hormone of happiness”, we can find it in foods such as: turkey, chicken, eggs, lentils, fish, oilseeds (walnuts, almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds and pumpkin).
Another neurotransmitter involved is dopamine, which will be responsible for giving us a feeling of pleasure and well-being, its precursor is an amino acid called tyrosine, which we will find in foods such as almonds, avocado, banana, egg, fish and seeds.
Folic acid or vitamin B9, also favors the production of dopamine, this vitamin is found in foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, legumes such as: beans, lentils, chickpeas, oats, almonds, figs, avocado.
Vitamin D regulates the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin, in addition to obtaining it from sun baths, we can find it in foods such as: sardines, salmon, tuna, shrimp, sunflower seeds, eggs and mushrooms, especially cordycep.
Magnesium, this mineral participates in more than 350 functions of our body, from the optimal functioning of our muscles and nerves, promotes an adequate cardiovascular function, strengthens our defense system, etc. However, its deficiency can affect our mood, generating symptoms similar to depression and anxiety, we can find it in foods such as: almonds, India nuts, spinach, green leafy vegetables, sweet potato, banana and one of our favorite foods, dark chocolate.
Fatty acids such as omega three, our brain is composed of up to 60% by fat, that is why it is essential to include it as part of our diet, which will renew and restore neurons, favoring our mood, these fats can be found in fish such as: macarella, salmon, chia, flaxseed, hemp seeds and oilseeds.
Recent research has found that in our microbiota, previously called intestinal flora, there are millions of beneficial microorganisms that live in our intestinal tract, which favor our mood, which is why it is advisable to include the consumption of fermented foods in our diet, such as this is the case of kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut and pickled vegetables. It is advisable to rotate them daily or weekly in order to obtain their multiple benefits.
It is common that when we have anguish, sadness or bad mood we look for ultra-processed foods, full of sugars and fats that will provide us with a feeling of immediate relief, which will last for a short time because it stops as soon as insulin (a hormone responsible for regulating sugar levels blood) your blood sugar has dropped. After this, we need to eat this type of food again to get the same feeling of pleasure and well-being, or else, we go into a state of guilt and emotional discomfort.
Likewise, these foods will cause cellular inflammation, which will promote greater intestinal permeability, that is, a state of chronic inflammation that allows viruses, parasites, bacteria, poorly digested proteins, etc., to pass into the bloodstream, generating systemic inflammation. that will affect our brain and therefore our mood, promoting symptoms associated with depression, fatigue, irritability and even reducing our defense system.
We must become intuitive eaters, that is to say, making intelligent decisions regarding our diet, which is why we must resort to an anti-inflammatory diet, where 50% of our plate is based on fruits and vegetables and rotating your food, making your plate a rainbow, it is important to include fat-free proteins, preferably organic and free range, such is the case of chicken, fish, turkey, healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, seeds, olives and including fermented foods for what at least once a day, as well as super foods such as: turmeric, ginger, cocoa, which will fill us with nutrients and increase our defenses.