I’m sure all of us have had “one of those days,” where stress after stress leaves you feeling like you’ve been jumping over hurdles all day long. In the evening, when things begin to settle, you may notice your desire to reach for rich, comforting foods filled with dairy and carbohydrates. Perhaps a rich pasta dish or pizza, topped off by a desert seems overwhelmingly appealing. You indulge as a way to calm down and unwind. Soon, however, the heaviness from the meal leaves you feeling fatigued, sluggish and unmotivated. These are moments when you may have used food as a drug, as a way to stop the anxious, stirred up tensions from the day. How does what we eat affect our mood? Can our diet be part of the equation to reducing stress? Doctors Natasha Kassam and
Kate Smith, co-founders of the Naturopathic and Alternative Healthcare Center 8 Hearts Health & Wellness, believe so. Through their practice of naturopathic and homeopathic medicine, Natasha and Kate help their clients learn how to make healthier choices for themselves. One of the many focuses of their practice is an education on the ways food can be used as medicine. Nutrition from the right foods can be a positive tool in managing moods to be better equipped to handle the stressors of the day. This focus provides an understanding on how certain foods can help relieve and manage the moments of anxiety in a way that leave a person feeling rejuvenated and revived as opposed to sluggish and heavy.
“As Naturopathic Doctors, we believe there is a correlation between the food we eat and the moods we experience. We encourage our patients to explore the impact that proper nutrition can have on creating positive moods and which foods are designed to boost their spirits.” Dr. Kate Smith Nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, folate, B vitamins and amino acids are part of a diet that supports good mood. It’s also important to include a source of protein with each meal and to avoid dips in your blood sugar levels, eat every few hours. When you eat a nutrient rich diet, your body garners the benefits. For example, when you eat a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and proteins throughout the day, your body is fueled and your blood sugar levels are stabilized.
Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients are being absorbed and used to support your overall metabolic functioning. Combining healthy carbohydrate sources and proteins provide the building blocks for neurotransmitter formation, which are needed for the brain to manage focus and mood. As an added benefit, simply being empowered to take care of yourself and your health can significantly boost mood and the sense of well-being. 129