As we all know, there is a lot more to our moods than just choosing to have a positive outlook on life, if only it were as simple as a mood ring right? Even at rest, the brain consumes about 20% of our energy, so it’s one of the first things affected when we aren’t fueling ourselves well enough. Mood is a reflection of overall health, so that goes without saying that nutrition plays a huge part. Eating a healthy, varied, colourful, plant-filled, healthy fat and protein filled diet is essential if you want to maintain that sunny disposition. Here are 6 tips to support your mood with food, we like to call this the food-mood-flow.
Protect Your Gut
Taking care of your gut and microbiome is one of the most important things you can do to support your mood. You may have heard of the gut-brain axis? It refers to the two-directional communication happening between our gut and central nervous system. It basically means that both your gut and your mind have to be healthy, otherwise neither of them can be healthy. One of the best ways to support a healthy gut and mind is by supporting your microbiome. A healthy, balanced and diverse microbiome will improve nutrient uptake, reduce gut inflammation, and even produce 95% of your serotonin for you. Choose products with high quality probiotics (such as our Super Greens + Reds and Choc Whiz) and eat plenty of high fibre foods. Another essential part of a healthy gut is providing plenty of easily digested amino acids. Gut lining turns over really quickly (a lot like skin) and it needs plenty of amino acids available to keep rebuilding that barrier. Our plant based proteins, bone broths, collagen range and gelatin can all help with this.
Reducing your sugar intake in favour of more complex carbohydrates will also help to keep your mood stable. Complex carbohydrates release energy in a slower and more sustained way, preventing the highs and lows that sugar causes as it spikes blood sugar levels . A balanced flow of energy will also help to support a balanced mood.
Plants Plants Plants
Eating a large variety of plants is the easiest way to ensure you are getting great quality and a good quantity of vitamins and minerals. Colour is nature's way of showing us a variety of nutrients, so make sure you eat the rainbow (we will never stop recommending that). Vitamins and minerals will support every aspect of mood, because they support every aspect of health and vitality. (Sorry that recommendation is so broad, but If we broke it down into all the separate vitamins and minerals then this would be our top 36 tips for boosting mood, rather than 6). If you’re looking for an easy way to increase the variety of plants and plant based nutrients in your day, then we recommend our Super Greens + Reds or Clean Greens.
Hydration and Electrolytes
All brain activity relies on cell signalling, which requires water and electrolytes. When we are dehydrated and/or have an electrolyte imbalance, cell signalling is impaired. This can lead to confusion, brain fog, poor memory, lethargy and mood imbalances. Hydration is also essential for ridding the body of metabolic byproducts. Without adequate hydration, these byproducts can build up to toxic levels causing stress and inflammation within the body. Constant physical stress and inflammation also causes mental stress and lethargy. If you’re having trouble getting more than 2L of water down the hatch each day, then try to find healthy ways to make your water more exciting. This could include organic teas, kombucha, Clean recovery with electrolytes or our delicious flavoured collagens.
Healthy fats are essential components in hormones that assist with cell signalling and help to reduce inflammation. All these things are needed for brain function, mood and overall health. So ensure your diet contains enough healthy fats. Great examples of foods containing healthy fats include seeds, nuts, fish, olive oil and avocado.
Nutrients aside, we are all just human beings and food is a very necessary and enjoyable component of that experience. Eating only for acquiring particular nutrients is a sure way to spoil that dimension of life. Make sure you enjoy your food and if you happen to love eating sticky date pudding then you go ahead and eat some sticky date pudding (we’re salivating just thinking about it). Make room for and enjoy the foods you love, if you need some inspiration to incorporate these foods into your diet in the most delicious way, check out our recipes page.