The influence of food on our mental well-being is an extremely an underrated topic.
I’ve personally never had a good relationship with food. I’ve either eaten too much or far too little. This pandemic has amplified what I thought I had under control; my relationship with food. Because I’m aware of this, I’ve taken the time to understand how different foods influence the way I feel.
When I eat poorly (processed/ junk foods), I feel (for a lack of a better word), gross. When I feel gross, I feel insecure. When I feel insecure, I feel uncomfortable. When I feel uncomfortable in my own skin and clothes, I isolate myself. When I isolate myself with this sort of mental and physical discomfort, I’m more prone to negative self-talk and self-sabotaging behaviors. I’m well aware that it’s a nasty spiral. I recently found myself in one of these spirals and created a habit tracker to get out of my rut.
In addition to the habit tracker I created, I began researching on a physiological level how food effects our mental health, because I knew it was deeply effecting mine.
How does food effect our mood?
It’s about to get pretty sciencey, but stick with me, it’s worth the understanding and knowledge explained.
Foods greatly influence our brain’s behavior. The levels of brain chemicals are called neurotransmitters, which regulate our behavior, are controlled by what we eat, and neurotransmitters are closely linked to mood.
The neurotransmitters most commonly associated with mood are dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. When the brain produces serotonin tension is eased. When it produces dopamine or norepinephrine, we tend to think and act more quickly and are generally more alert.
90% of serotonin receptors are located in our gut.
WHAT! Did you know that?! I heard it once before but after doing more research this is absolutely fascinating and it makes me want to question any one who finds themself in a rut- What’s your diet been like recently? Serotonin plays a role in mood, sleep and appetite. Low levels of serotonin can lead to depression, anxiety and sleep disorders.
How Does Food Effect Our Mood? — SELF CARE EVERY DAMN DAY is written by Stephanie Daily for www.selfcareeverydamnday.com