Do you experience tiredness after eating, or do you feel anxious a few hours after you’ve skipped lunch? If you also have a high sugar diet, you may need to shore up your facts about healthy eating. See how your food choices rate in this next quiz.
Food & Mood Quiz
1) You eat a lot of sugary foods; muffins, candy bars, cakes
2) You eat white wheat bread as a staple
3) You like mostly starchy vegetables such as potatoes and corn
4) You eat a lot of fried and fast foods
5) Most of your foods are canned, packaged with many additives
6) French fries and iceberg lettuce are your main two vegetables
7) You are addicted to caffeine and drink 3 – 8 cups of coffee per day
8) You rarely drink water
9) Alcohol is an important part of your life, at least 2 glasses per day
10) You skip meals, especially breakfast and sometimes lunch as well
11) You never or seldom eat fish (except deep fried)
12) Soda pop or diet drinks are your main beverages (3 or more a day)
13) You crave milk, pasta, cheese, cereals, bread, apple juice or orange juice
If your score is:
1 – 5 You try to eat healthfully but sometimes slip up. Work on the points to which you answered YES to avoid brain fog.
6 – 9 You don’t think much about what you eat. At times, you feel anxious or depressed. Start to attend to the quality of your diet.
10 – 13 You have many cravings and have trouble remembering things. You sometimes get panic attacks and/or depression. Choose a healthier, natural diet to boost brain and body health.
Even for those taking medications, enlisting holistic nutrition can bring profound, positive changes to your mental health. Our society tends to ignore the role of nutrition as a way to impact our thoughts or feelings.
Food Allergies can not only be a source of skin rash or wheezing, but also can cause adverse mental symptoms. According to Dr. B. Zylberberg, M.D., of Toronto, who specialized in food allergies, mold and ragweed are two environmental allergens that are associated with food problems. For some, anything that has been fermented or uses the yeast process such as wines, beer, vinegar, soy sauce and breads with yeast can be highly allergenic. Also, some people react to nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and peppers). You may react to other foods. To be certain, food allergy testing is a good option.
After one week of avoidance of offending foods, you may start feeling better. However, it can take approximately three months for a brain to recover from chronic deficiency – so don’t give up.
Healthy Eating Schedule for Mental Health
Protein is made up of fragments known as amino acids. Some amino acids have a direct effect on levels of certain brain chemicals. Eating foods naturally high in tryptophan (fish, chicken, meat, eggs, dairy food, legumes, beans, tofu, walnuts and avocado) can improve mood as the tryptophan is converted by the body to serotonin (the happy neurotransmitter). Have small amounts at each meal. Serotonin elevates moods, self-esteem, feelings of optimism and induces calm feelings and sleep.
Carbohydrates help absorption of tryptophan into the brain. Slow releasing carbohydrates such as oatmeal and natural sugars in fruits and vegetables can help the absorption of tryptophan across the blood brain barrier. Eat these with protein. Refined sugar creates cravings and dependency.
Fats are important to the brain since it is made up of over 60% fat. Avoiding all fat can lead to anxiety, depression and other mental health problems. Healthy fats are also foods that reduce cholesterol. Polyunsaturated “Omega 3” fats are particularly important and can be found in salmon and sardines along with pumpkin seeds, ground flax seeds or their oil and walnuts. Omega 6 fats are found in nuts and seeds and other cold-pressed healthy oils. Only small amounts are necessary.
Vitamins and Minerals are co-factors, nutrients that help the conversion of the tryptophan protein fragments into the good mood brain chemical serotonin. Nutrients such as Vitamin C, Folic Acid, Vitamin B6, Biotin, Zinc and Selenium are found in fruits, avocados, vegetables such as lettuce, other leafy greens, and fish, oats, sardines, walnuts or other nuts. These vitamins and minerals as co-factors can also be taken as supplements, but a good diet throughout the day is the base.
For natural stress, anxiety relief, reach for more life-giving foods and nutrients. Check out my nutrition chapters of my book, www.healthinharmony.com/author plus http://www.isfmentalhealth.org for additional, critical information. Make changes to experience nutrition health benefits to your overall mental and physical well-being.