How Food Affects Not Only Your Body, But Your Mood Too
Written by: Lindsay Sibson
Your body is an amazing place… a magical place, really.
Have you ever sat down and truly considered everything your body does, both voluntarily and involuntarily?
Your heart beats and sustains your life. Your eyes take in the beautiful sights around you. Your tongue allows you to experience the many amazing tastes and textures of food. Not to the mention the crazy things your brain can do!
And the list goes on and on.
Your body is an extremely complex series of systems and structures that permit your body to move, think, act and experience the world. It’s an interconnected world that you may never fully understand exactly how it works.
However, your body does give you ample signals and signs in regards to its “state of affairs.” And the root of it all is WHAT you are feeding your body.
But it goes further than just your physical appearance. The foods and drinks you consume play a major role in determining your energy, mental health and overall mood. That’s right… you literally are what you eat (and more importantly, what you absorb!).
I never realized how powerful this food and mood connection was until I did a 30 day juice cleanse. In the past, I have dealt with anxiety, depression, digestive issues and low energy and still do to this day, depending on HOW I am eating. When I was juicing and consuming nothing but vegetables and fruits, it was like a fog had lifted off my brain and body!
I felt calm inside. I felt energetic. I woke up feeling great. I had a supreme sense of clarity.
When I started to reintroduce certain foods, I could immediately feel the negative effects. Here are the top culprits of foods that can damper your mood:
1. Sugar – Sugar causes inflammation… and inflammation is associated with depression, as well as illness and disease! Sugar also causes anxiety and irritability because of the “sugar crash” you will experience as a result of consuming too much of the sweet stuff. Your body releases an excessive amount of insulin to process all the sugar, which leads to a rapid reduction of your blood sugar. As a result, your body releases adrenaline – and this “fight or flight” chemical can create anxious or irritable feelings.
2. Gluten – Just like sugar, gluten causes inflammation in the body and can also interfere with your body’s ability to absorb nutrients. When you fail to absorb nutrients, your whole body suffers! One main symptom is your brain function will slow down and your ability to reason and process information will diminish (aka “brain fog”).
3. Alcohol – While alcohol may temporarily lift your mood, it is ultimately a depressant. Alcohol can also worsen symptoms of anxiety. Even a small amount such as a glass of wine or a beer can negatively affect your overall mental health and happiness.
4. Processed Food – Long term exposure to unhealthy and processed foods is a risk factor for depression. The ingredients and chemicals found in many processed and packaged foods cause “war” inside your body as you attempt to break down and process these fake foods, completely void of any real nutrients. All this extra work your body has to do will leave you feeling worn out.
5. Dairy – The protein found in dairy, casein, has been linked to addiction, depression, anger and aggression. Casein takes a long time to digest and creates a LOT of work and stress for your body… which means you have less energy and attention for the other vital systems of your body – such as your BRAIN! It’s also inflammatory!
The easiest and cheapest way to determine how food affects your mood is to do an elimination diet. Start with a simple 3 day juice cleanse consisting of mostly vegetables or do the easy (yet challenging) 3 Day 3 Dollar Detox. This will cleanse your body of the “junk” that has been in your system and will leave you feeling clean and clear minded.
After your detox, slowly reintroduce foods back into your system and pay attention to how you feel after eating each meal. Signs to look out for are:
3. Gas (burping, farting)
5. Lethargy (feeling tired) and low energy
Keeping a food and mood journal will help you track patterns and make the necessary adjustments in your eating so that you will feel happy and energized!
Lindsay Sibson turned her lifelong dream of traveling the world into a reality when she first stepped on a plan in April of 2014. With the simple intention of learning more about this beautiful world, she stepped away from corporate America to explore an alternative lifestyle of long term international travel, volunteering, blogging and pursuing a blissfully happy and fulfilling way of life.
Lindsay documents her journey in hopes of empowering others to find their passion, reignite their spark and freshen their outlook on life. Connect with her on her website and follow her travels on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/_traveloholic_).
Through her blog, Lindsay documents her journey in hopes of empowering others to find their passion, reignite their spark and freshen their outlook on life.
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