Did you know that what you eat may be affecting your mood?
Food provides the building blocks not just for your hair, skin, bones and organs but also for your brain chemicals.
Here are some examples of how working with a nutritionist may help:
We Review Your Diet
At your first appointment we take a good look at the foods that you eat and drink throughout the day. Jotting down some of your typical meals and snacks before you come to your appointment may help on the day, especially if like many, you’re prone to forgetting what you ate the day before.
How does food affect your mood?
Our food is essentially made up of proteins, fats, carbs, water, vitamins and minerals.
Not only can it be broken down to give you energy, but food also provides the foundations for your neurotransmitters, hormones and the enzymes crucial to the optimal functioning of your brain.
For example, protein, be it from animal or plant sources, supplies amino acids from which the likes of serotonin and dopamine are derived, which are important neurotransmitters to help us function better; the vitamins and minerals from fruits and veggies impart vital micronutrients to facilitate the breakdown of amino acids into these brain chemicals. And good, quality fats are definitely your friend!
If you’re not giving your body enough nourishing foods, then you may see an increase in mood disorders as well as physical symptoms.
It’s possible that the very foods that you love to eat the most are exacerbating your symptoms, as well as the fact that your diet may be leaving you lacking in some critical nutrients, which your nutritionist may help identify.
We review your health issues
To agree on a plan to optimise your diet, we will discuss your mental AND physical health. In addition, we will consider how your digestive system is functioning, as research supports a link between the health of the gut and your brain.
So how does your gut affect your mood?
It’s possible that ongoing digestive issues such as bloating, diarrhea or constipation are lessening your absorption of key nutrients and/or upsetting the balance amongst your gut bacteria which may have a knock-on effect on your mood.
If necessary, your nutritionist will give you tips on improving your digestion.
We agree on dietary changes
In today’s time-poor, “must-have-it-now” society we are bombarded with conflicting food messages about what’s good for us; we are constantly being tricked by labels and enticing adverts as to what we should be eating. Not to mention all the hidden ingredients absent from labels so it’s understandable that you may feel overwhelmed at times as to what to eat.
So together we will agree on some dietary measures and/or nutrient therapy that takes into account your unique needs and your lifestyle.
What foods can you eat today to improve your mood?
My favourite brain foods are:
- Wild seafood: great source of protein and omega-3s to promote focus and memory and lift mood.
- Avocado: full of good fats and folate to help keep you thinking clearly.
- Blueberries: packed full of antioxidants to protect your brain from oxidative stress.
- Sauerkraut: brimming with gut-friendly bacteria to keep your gut healthy so that it can communicate effectively with your brain.
- Green leafy veg: home to lots of micronutrients such as magnesium and folate which are needed to make both the happy and the calming brain chemicals.
Of course, there’s loads of other foods that can help keep your brain on track, so if you’d like to find out more and work with a nutritionist, please get in touch to make your first appointment.
Author: Beverley Dorgan, BHSc Nutritional Medicine, ANTA.
Beverley Dorgan is a Brisbane Clinical nutritionist with a special interest in how the foods we consume can impact on our mental health from anxiety and depression to OCD and behavioural or learning issues.
Beverley is not currently taking appointments. However, to make an appointment with a Vision Psychology Clinician try Online Booking. Alternatively, you can call Vision Psychology Brisbane on (07) 3088 5422.
- “Dietary recommendations for the prevention of depression” R.S. Opie et al 2017
- “A randomised controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the ‘SMILES’ trial)” F Jacka et all, 2017