The shortest days of the year will soon be upon us; days will become cooler and the dark evenings will come early. Naturally we spend more time indoors, wanting to sleep more and keeping warm. With less exposure to sunlight and the fast paced demanding lives many of us lead, our moods may be affected. Also the foods we consume can affect the way we feel, think and cope with stress.
There are many scientific studies that link the foods we eat to the changes in our moods. They may be caused by a number of factors such as the fluctuations in blood sugar levels, a reaction to artificial colouring or preservatives in foods, changes in brain chemicals (such as serotonin, dopamine and acetylcholine), deficiency of an enzyme, hidden food sensitivities or allergies and low level of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Mood swings, anxiety, cravings or food addictions, depression, PMS, insomnia, fatigue and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) are a few problems that can result from the foods we eat.
Every individual will experience different reactions to various foods. Listening to your body, keeping a food journal and writing what you eat and drink for a week may help you to discover what food may be affecting your mental and emotional health. The foods and drinks that most often affect people are alcohol, sugar caffeine, chocolate, wheat, food colouring, aspartame, soya, eggs and corn.
To promote mental energy, improve your moods and sharpen your mind, try the following routine:
Drink six to eight glasses of purified water per day
Eat whole foods such as: whole grains, lentils, beans, unsalted raw nuts and seeds
Eat five or more serving of vegetables per day, choosing the darkest leafy greens
Combine protein foods with carbohydrate foods to avoid fluctuation in blood sugar level
Eat fish rich in omega-3 such as herring, mackerel, salmon or sardines
Eat free-range or organic eggs
Include cold-pressed seed oils such as flax or hemp
Supplement a multivitamin and mineral providing all the B vitamins, folic acid, magnesium, manganese, zinc and vitamin D.