How Food Can Affect More Than Your Weight | Read about how food can impact your mood, concentration, sleep and even your chances of developing depression.
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How Food Can Affect More Than Your Weight
What you eat can affect many areas of your health from your mood to how well you sleep. As you’ll see in this article, your body needs a wide range of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to keep you in great physical and mental condition, so it’s important to nourish it with the right foods and drinks.
Here’s how food can affect more than your weight. It can impact your mood, concentration, sleep and even your chances of developing depression.
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How Food Affects Your Mood
If your blood sugar fluctuates too much, it can leave you feeling tired and irritable. Ideally, you want to eat foods that stabilize your blood sugar levels. This includes complex carbs such as oats, whole grains, and brown rice. Nuts and seeds are also an excellent option.
Related Article: Did You Know That Sugar Is In Almost Everything?
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Some foods can directly influence your mood as well. Fatty fish is packed with omega 3 fatty acids which affect the production of neurotransmitters in your brain, such as dopamine and serotonin. Both of which have a strong link with your mood and low levels of them can lead to disorders in mood.
There are other foods that give you an omega 3 boost; flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts also count. For dopamine, make sure you’re getting plenty of poultry, fish, eggs and leafy greens in your diet.Here’s how food can affect more than your weight. It can impact your mood, concentration, sleep and even your chances of developing depression.Click To Tweet
Protein is another nutrient that can influence your mood. A lot of foods with protein contain tryptophan, an amino acid that can help your body to produce more dopamine and serotonin. Turkey and chicken are good sources, but if you’re a vegetarian, you can eat beans, lentils, and quinoa to reap the benefits.
Related Article: A Delicious Quick & Easy Lemon Rosemary Chicken Recipe
Folate and B Vitamins
What you’re not eating can also be a factor. According to some studies, not getting enough B vitamins or folate, can have a negative impact on your sleep and energy levels and make you more prone to depression. Greens are an excellent source of folate so be sure to include plenty of leafy greens, broccoli, and peas if you’re struggling with low mood.
Studies also link low selenium levels to fatigue, anxiety and even depression. Snack on walnuts or a handful of Brazil nuts to get your selenium levels up.
Chemical imbalances in the brain are tied to depression, but a deficiency in certain nutrients are thought to make this more likely. One example is Vitamin D. Low levels of it are linked to a higher risk of depression, and experts believe it’s crucial to get enough vitamin D for a healthy mind.
Natural sunlight is the best option. However, you can also add vitamin D to your diet through eggs, liver, and fatty fish. This is the better option when it’s cloudy or in colder climates when the sun isn’t out as much.
How Food Affects Concentration
If you struggle with focus and concentration, it’s time to consider whether you’re eating foods that are known to help.
In 2013, a study found that people who drank 2 cups of cacao every day over the course of a month showed signs of improved blood flow to their brains. This led to better memory test results. If you prefer not to drink a cup of cacao, a square of high-quality dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% cacao can have a similar effect as long as it’s not high in sugar or other additives.
In a 2012 report, drinking blueberry juice daily for two months also led to better performance on memory and learning tests. This means that snacking on blueberries can be perfect if you need a focus boost!
And of course, there’s always water! Even slight dehydration can cause concentration problems and tiredness. Drinking a glass of water could be all you need to get more focused if dehydration is the problem.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
In terms of food, the omega 3 fatty acids in salmon can lessen cognitive decline and keep your brain focused and sharp. This is another good reason to add fatty fish to a couple of meals a week!
How Food Affects Sleep
The foods you consume have a significant impact on how well you sleep. Some foods encourage sleep because of the nutrients they contain and anything containing magnesium is a good bet, according to studies. Need a magnesium boost? Go for leafy greens (especially spinach), almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and high-quality dark chocolate.
Your body uses vitamin B6, another essential nutrient, to make both serotonin and melatonin. Melatonin, aka the “sleep hormone,” plays a significant role in your body. This shows how important it is for sleep!
“Blue light” from screens and devices disrupt our melatonin levels. Because low levels of melatonin can make it harder to get good sleep, it’s definitely something you want your body to produce a decent amount of.
The amino acid Tryptophan helps your body to produce melatonin. Turkey, chicken, milk, nuts, and seeds all contain tryptophan and can help with more melatonin production. Walnuts in particular actually contain melatonin, according to a study from the University of Texas.
Related Article: Learn How To Get Better Sleep To Avoid Weight Gain
Now you know how food can affect more than your weight. What did you notice you might need to add to your diet this week to counteract your nutritional imbalance? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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