Hey Angels and Alphas,
Today, we’re kicking off a new series on dieting called Dieting with Purpose. And what better way to kick off a series than to talk about the different ways you can eat purposefully to improve your mood and energy!
Mood is a massive part of our overall mental health, which according to some recent public surveys, happens to be one of the most common problems people face nowadays. But what you probably don’t know right now is that the biggest key to improving your overall mental health is through your diet, and more specifically, through your gut.
Countless mood disorders such as depression have been linked to underlining gut health problems. In fact, healthy gut flora (meaning the good bacteria inside your gut) naturally produce compounds that help your body maintain an optimal hormonal balance. The easy tips we’ve compiled today are designed to help you support a healthy, balanced gut flora… and with that, improve your mood!
#1 BOOST THE HEALTHY BACTERIA WITH PROBIOTICS
A healthy gut that supports your positive mood is one that has a variety of healthy bacteria. This term is called “microbial diversity” and it’s very easy to achieve by simply adding a range of probiotic food sources to your diet. These can include yogurt, kombucha, kimchi, miso, and sauerkraut. You can also check the labels on your probiotic food sources and try to consume many different strains of bacteria. And here’s a bonus: the lower the number of processed foods in your diet, the better your bacterial diversity is going to be.
#2 CONSUME MORE FIBER
Your gut bacteria are going to need to eat so they can support your mood. Their favorite food? Fiber! When gut bacteria consume fiber for energy, they produce compounds that support mood-boosting neurotransmitters and body hormones. If you add more fiber to your diet, like the one found in berries, apples, beans, whole grains, and green veggies, you’re not just going to be eating something delicious – you’re going to be benefiting your mental health.
#3 STABILIZE YOUR BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS
Blood sugar crashes can affect how you feel at all times. That’s because these crashes (and the spikes that precede them) can stimulate cortisol and epinephrine, two of the main hormones affecting your mood. Epinephrine, also called adrenaline, is your anger and fear hormone. Cortisol is your stress hormone. If you have either too much or too little of each, your mood is going to fluctuate back and forth. For a steady positive mood, you should keep your blood sugar in check by snacking on seeds, nuts, and nut butters.
#4 ADD MORE OMEGA-3 IN YOUR DIET
Deficiencies in Omega-3 have even been associated with depression. While recent studies have yet to show exactly what role they play in improving mental health, some experts believe this has to do with the way these fatty acids interact with the molecules in your brain. Other experts believe omega-3s have this effect because they are anti-inflammatory. If you’re looking to boost your intake, you can try fatty fish like salmon and albacore tuna. You can also try out walnuts and chia seeds.
#5 DON’T FORGET ABOUT TRYPTOPHAN
Tryptophan is an amino acid that is utilized in the production of serotonin in the body. The hormone serotonin helps to regulate mood, appetite, pain, and sleep. If you get your daily dose of tryptophan by adding more leafy greens, sunflower seeds, and nuts to your diet, you will reap a range of health benefits, including improving your mood.
#6 IT COULD COME DOWN TO MINDSET
Many people experience stress around food and its many effects on the body. But here’s a friendly reminder for you – frame your food choices as an effort to take care of your body. This means you have to choose foods that make you feel good, regardless of the benefits they provide. Sometimes, a mindset shift like this can improve your overall approach to food, your feelings about dieting, and ultimately, your mood.