Fueling the Fire: How What You Eat Fuels Your Brain
Are you ready to fuel your fire?
As women, we’re constantly aware of what we’re putting in our mouths, right? Sometimes, figuring out what to eat can actually be exhausting! What you eat fuels your brain and helps you:
· feel better,
· perform well in your daily tasks, and
· tackle some of your biggest mental health concerns.
Did you know that as women, there are particular foods we can eat that will help us to feel our best at different stages of our lives? Exciting news, isn’t it?
For many reasons, as women, we will eat things and then feel bad, either physically or mentally, after just a few minutes. Why? Because what you eat has a connection to your brain. It’s mind-blowing – literally! Nutrition experts say that the food you eat will impact your mood in the short-term and can even impact your personality (and reputation) in the long-term.
So, what can we do with this amazing, life-altering information to transform our lives for the better?
The best way to track how food impacts your mood is to keep a journal for a few weeks and see if you can spot any trends. For most of us, however, these trends will be quite similar because they all relate back to blood sugar. Did you know that if your blood sugar skydives from too high to too low, you are likely going to feel very strange and even shaky at certain times?
Clearly, that doesn’t sound like a “walk in the park” to any of us! So, we decided to talk with Angela about how important implementing and maintaining a healthy diet is and what that actually looks like in our daily lives.
Ever wondered how to eat for brain health? Seems like a pretty important question there, doesn’t it? Luckily, there are a few different ways you can tackle this elusive beast, but the best way is actually the simplest – you can work some natural foods into your diet.
How you ask? Let’s dive right in!
Let’s Go Shopping: Grab Some Folic Acid & Vitamin B12
Let’s be real – we all have our little mood swings every now and then, don’t we? And you know what? That’s ok – it’s perfectly normal. But there is a solution! If you tend to be a bit moody, you may want to try to work more kidney beans, broccoli, salads, and other foods rich in folic acid and B12 into your diet. Yes, it’s really that simple! You will see firsthand how your demeanor begins to even out, and you will experience fewer symptoms of sadness and depression. In general, the best sources of folic acid and B12 are beans and greens, but you can get them from meats and dairy as well. These two sources go directly from your gut into your brain to help stabilize your mood and make you feel like a whole “new you!”
Your Missing Mineral? Selenium, Anyone?
Feel like something’s missing? Well, you’re probably right! Selenium is a mineral miracle for your body, particularly your brain. It helps you minimize your bad moods and work through them thanks to its powerful (and life-changing) antioxidant properties. Selenium will also help eliminate oxidative stress in your brain that can lead to mild or moderate depression as we age.
So, how can you jump aboard the Selenium happy train? Simply supplement with about 55 micrograms of selenium a day, start adding whole grains to your diet, and you will begin to feel your best and stay “cool as a cucumber” in times of stress. Now, that sounds amazing, right?
Let’s Reel ‘Em In: Eat More Fish
Have you ever seen an unhappy fish? All kidding aside, studies have shown that people who eat more fish are at less risk of suffering from depression. Why? This is likely due to the presence of the omega-3 fatty acids. Not a fish fan? That’s ok! It will be slightly more difficult to get your omega-3s into your diet, but it’s still doable with the supplementation of fish oil pills.
So, what’s your best bet? If you can stomach some salmon or tuna, let’s do it! While it isn’t exactly as sweet and savory as a bowl of ice cream, it is the key to a happier you!
Sun’s Out: Bask in Vitamin D
Most of us want to soak up our Vitamin D! Why? Well, as you may know Vitamin D isn’t always the easiest vitamin to round up, so you may have to go on the hunt. Try to soak up some healthy Vitamin D by going out into the sun for about 10-15 minutes every day. This will help you manage your moods and stay calm in times of stress. A little daily sun can truly be mood changing!
Don’t like basking in the sun (sun damage is pretty hard to manage anymore)? You can supplement with a healthy variety of foods, including fortified foods, dairy, fatty fish, eggs, and beef. Seeing is believing – Vitamin D can brighten your mood, just as the sun brightens our sky!
Wait! Don’t Forget the Chocolate
Oh, chocolate, my chocolate! Hey, we’re women, and we love our chocolate. There’s no shame in that! No matter what season of life you’re in, chocolate is a smile-maker. Small amounts of dark chocolate are highly effective when it comes to your overall disposition and positive outlook on life. Why, you ask? Because the brain treats dark chocolate like endorphins (Remember Reese Witherspoon in “Legally Blonde” – “Endorphins make you happy!”), which makes you feel like the happier, healthier version of you. Endorphins are also released during exercise, so if you want to take a brisk stroll with your dark chocolate in hand, we say “go for it!”
Stay Away: The Don’ts
Now that we’ve covered the “dos,” we should touch on the “don’ts!” As you would expect, there are also several food categories you should try to avoid when it comes to implementing your “mood changing diet.” You cannot fill your gut with foods that will negatively impact your mood and brain and expect to be happy. This means that you should avoid, side-step, or run away from:
Alcohol (well, in moderation is ok – wink, wink)
As you can see, what you eat fuels your brain! Our proof is in the pudding, ladies! And when you begin to track how food impacts your mood, you will start to see the life-altering changes that can make living in your second season a whole new, vibrant adventure!