Food is one of the most fundamental aspects of our lives, and the choices we make about what we eat can have a significant impact on our overall health and well-being, including our mood. While
there’s no single “miracle” food or supplement that can cure all of our woes, there are some general guidelines we can follow to make sure we’re nourishing our bodies and minds in the best way possible.
First and foremost, it’s important to pay attention to our eating patterns. This means taking note of when we eat, why we eat, and what we eat. It’s also crucial to reflect on how we feel after we eat, including any changes in mood or energy levels. While we may feel great immediately after indulging in a heavy, sugary meal or a bar of chocolate, these types of foods can have negative effects on our mood and brain health over time. Sugar, saturated fat, trans fats, and foods high in simple carbohydrates can all contribute to burnout, depression, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
To promote brain health and protect brain cells, it’s important to nourish our bodies with whole, minimally processed foods that are high in fiber, protein, healthy fats (like those found in fatty fish, nuts, and native olive oil), and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are natural compounds found in colorful fruits and vegetables like purple cabbage and potatoes, blueberries, carrots, pumpkins, and even dark chocolate and nuts.
In addition to watching what we eat, it’s also important to pay attention to where and how we eat. Choosing a nice place and enjoying a meal with family and friends can have a positive impact on our mood and overall well-being. Mindful eating, or savoring every bite of our meals and paying attention to our hunger and fullness cues, can also help us feel more in tune with our bodies.
It’s important to note that healthy eating doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Rather than being too strict with ourselves, we can aim for consistency in our healthy food choices and allow ourselves some flexibility in indulging in less-than-healthy options from time to time. After all, food should be enjoyable and a pleasure to eat.
Finally, in addition to nourishing our bodies with healthy food choices, engaging in activities that promote brain health can also have a positive impact on our mood. This can include things like meditation, playing memory games, or doing crossword puzzles. Taking time during our vacations to focus on our overall well-being, including our body, mind, and soul, can also be incredibly beneficial for our mood and overall quality of life.