Mood Disorders and Food Habits
Unhealthy eating patterns can cause mood swings. Nutritional imbalances and blood sugar fluctuations are often to blame. Our mind and body to work at its optimum level needs a steady source of fuel from the nourishing foods we eat.
Here’s how some unhealthy eating patterns that can alter your mood and emotional well-being:
- Skipping meals. Study finds adults who skip a meal, especially breakfast, are more likely to have a mood disorder. Skipping a meal sends your mood into free fall by messing with your blood sugar levels. It can also trigger a stress response in your body, which in turn triggers hormones associated with outbursts, mental instability, and mild depression.
- Cutting out entire food groups. If you reduce the variety of foods in your diet, it can be more difficult to get all the essential nutrients you need. Low levels of zinc, iron, B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids are associated with worsening mood and decreased energy. Also multiple studies have found a correlation between a diet high in refined sugars and impaired brain function.
- Eating too many refined carbohydrates. High intakes of unhealthy, processed carbohydrates, such as white bread, rice and pastries, cause blood sugars to rise and fall rapidly. This can lead to low energy and irritability. Excess carbohydrate intake places a large metabolic load on the body. When the body constantly has high levels of blood sugars to deal with over time, this leads to weight gain, poor metabolic health and an increased risk of heart disease.
Heal Your Emotional Well-being With Right Types of Food
There is a deep connection between food and your mood. There are foods that can help you regulate your moods in a natural way.
Sorrow and Grief: Reach for cauliflower, turnips and asparagus as these foods resonate well with the feelings of sorrow and grief.
Anxiety: Yellow/orange foods such as pineapple, cantaloupe, and sweet potato (great for quelling carb cravings-and yes they will help to quell anxiety. Reach for similarly, a cup of butternut squash soup that can also soothe anxiety.
Fear: Reach for deep water fish such as salmon or tuna. If you are vegan, reach for seaweed such as nori, wakame and kombu. These foods resonate with the kidneys and bladder which helps you with fears.
Foods from the sea can help to take the edge of fear and connect us back into states of courage by supporting our adrenal glands which can go into overload with the fight or flight response when we feel strong feelings.
Anger: Go for Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, mustard or collard greens, romaine lettuce or kale to support the health of the “wood” organs of the liver and gallbladder where anger resides.
These foods will enable you to access your natural patience and compassion even when you are feeling angry. When you are in the midst of feeling angry, grab a glass of juice of cucumbers, cilantro kale, lemon, green apple and peppermint yourself. This will detoxify the liver and gallbladder.
Nervous stress/excitement: Reach for almonds, sesame oil or seeds and spinach. These foods help to specifically calm the heart energies associated with fast moving energy and that hyped up feeling that won’t let you sleep, rest or get focused in your thoughts.