I love food. It’s delicious, fun to make, colorful, inspiring and so much more. It can bring people together, makes a party better and it can make me feel a little better without even meaning to.

Last week I had a member trigger the topic of how nutrition can affect our mental well being so I thought it would be fun to explore this topic a little deeper.

Over the next few weeks I am going to talk about how food can impact our mood and behaviors. And what we can do to gain a stronger hold over our eating decisions when we are feeling out of control.

First up Food and Feelings: How does what we eat relate to how we feel?

When we are happy. Our food choice could be steak or pizza, when we are sad it could be ice cream or cookies, and when we are bored it could be crackers or chips.

Food does more then fills our stomachs; it can impact our mood in three ways:

  1. Food helps the brain make mood-changing chemicals called neurotransmitters
  2. Food impacts blood sugar levels, which impacts perception of alertness/energy
  3. Food is connected with past feelings/experiences

Say you’re feeling tired and it’s mid-afternoon.  A high protein snack would be a perfect option as protein contains an amino acid that releases hormones (dopamine and epinephrine) that give us energy and alertness, without the caffeine. But be careful not to eat too many carbohydrates as they release a hormone (serotonin) that puts you to sleep.

A meal high in carbohydrates might not be good when you need to stay awake but serotonin does alleviate depression, calms the nerves and helps to reduce appetite and physical pain so can be a great option when you are feeling sad or stressed, find some complex carbs to snack on.

Now lets talk about sugar. We have all felt that quick increase in energy following a snack high in sugar, however it does not last long as our bodies what to get rid of it as fast as it came in leaving us tired, if not more then when we started.

Take a look at how these other nutrients can impact your mood in a positive way – and some common foods where you can find them.

Take away this week. Variety is the best diet! We all want to have that feeling of sustained energy and alertness throughout the day. Much of that energy and alertness will come from eating a diet filled with nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy and healthy fats and not overdoing any one ingredient or type of food.

Next week I will be discussing: Food and Behaviors


TODAY’S WORKOUT

5 Rounds
– 5 BMU (7 pullups/ 7 dips)
– 10 deadlifts
– Run ascending ladder of 200, 400, 600, 800, 1000m

*Last Did 7/29/19*