When you sense your spirits taking a turn for the worse, eating can literally change your mind.
If you feel anxious or overwhelmed, it may not be your boss or busy schedule to blame, but what’s on your plate that’s getting you in an emotional funk. Emotions are connected to the digestive system through the gut-brain axis. As food moves through the digestive tract, the gut signals the emotional center of the brain to release certain hormones. Serotonin, the happiness hormone known for stabilizing mood, is actually made in the gut.
While food isn’t the answer to every emotional issue, it can have a big effect on how you feel. Here are a few suggestions for what to eat next time you need an attitude adjustment.
1. Calm inflammation
Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts help protect the brain and gut against inflammation, which inhibits their ability to communicate and damages the cells that make serotonin. Serotonin is also a precursor for melatonin, the hormone involved in the sleep-wake cycle. If these two hormones are disrupted by gut inflammation, you may feel lethargic, irritable, and stressed.
2. Fill up on fiber
Beans, lentils, berries, and avocados are all good sources of dietary fiber. When fiber is broken down by gut bacteria, it produces beneficial short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are also anti-inflammatory and aid the production of serotonin.
3. Opt for omega-3s
Recent research has shown that omega-3s may help ease anxiety and depression, and sharpen memory. Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel and walnuts, chia seeds, and flax seeds are high in omega-3s.
4. Pull back on processed foods
Processing strips food of its nutrients and fiber. Foods that lack fiber move quickly through the digestive tract and can cause glucose levels to spike, triggering the release of insulin, which is a leading cause of inflammation.
Happily, Territory has you covered when it comes to feel-good foods. All of our meals are free from preservatives, refined oils, and sugars. Our meals are made by talented, independent chefs using whole, unprocessed foods including plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and omega-3 fats.