Foods and Moods, part 1(of 3)

Hello on this gorgeous spring day here in Vancouver BC! 🙂

Since my focus in my practice is currently Breaking Free from Emotional Eating, I want to share some information about foods andevery time you eat which ones to eat in order to positively affect your mood (and your body). As you’ve heard me mention many times, the body mind and spirit are all connected; you can’t affect one without affecting the others. I’m going to be sharing a large amount of info so I’m dividing this topic into 3, possibly 4 blogs.

One of the biggest causes of over eating and emotional eating is stress. We all experience stress to some degree on a daily basis. That stress can be coming from our environment (work, traffic, financial worries), our relationships (family, lovers/partners, co-workers), or from within ourselves as the deeper issues (past hurts, limiting beliefs, low self esteem, and more) are triggered by our current experiences. What and how we eat can have either a positive or a negative affect on us. Choosing foods that support and nourish the mind and body are important for combating stress and can help us be in a stronger place when we’re ready to deal with the deeper issues causing us to emotionally over eat.

Depending on how stress manifests within us there are foods to eat that help to manage that stress, support you physically and mentally through it and also to reduce the stress.

I’m going to be sharing with you about the Superfoods for stress relief. There are many of them that help support your health on all levels and offer long-term protection from stress related conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure). You could call these functional foods. Please note I am not stating in any way to eat these foods and not go to your doctor if you’re experiencing physical or mental symptoms that could be signs of something serious!

Let’s get started:

  1. Dark chocolate – at least 70% cocoa solids! If you think that dark chocolate is too bitter, work your way up. When I switched to dark chocolate I started at 55%, now I find anything below 70% too sweet and seldom buy less than 85%. Eating 1 1/2 oz every day lowers cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone. Dark chocolate is rich in: antioxidants which boost immunity and encourage heart health. Phenethylamine which is a natural ingredient released into the brain when we experience positive emotions. Oleic acid, a cholesterol busting fat. Magnesium, which eases headaches, fatigue, and palpitations. Iron, helping to balance mood, ease headaches, and boost energy.
  2. Mango – that bright orange flesh has more than 3 times the vitamin C of a glass of orange juice! It’s been shown to regulate blood pressure & because it’s full of iron will also improve energy levels. Mango is rich in: Antioxidants and phenols, which protect against stroke and heart disease. Prebiotics and fiber for healthy digestion. Potassium to ease palpitations and lower blood pressure. Vitamin C, which is great for immunity, heart, eyes and skin. Vitamin B6 for relaxation, stress reduction, and increased energy.
  3. Oats – have a positive impact on the nervous system, sooth the digestive system and contain enough protein to encourage overall health and help stabilize blood sugar and energy levels. They are rich in: Soluble fiber which aids digestion and lower blood cholesterol. B vitamins thus stimulating the production of the feel good hormone serotonin. Calcium, potassium & vitamin A which are essential for a healthy nervous system. Magnesium which counters irritability and anxiety, and soothes headaches. Oats are a slow release carbohydrate which provides long-term energy. Phytonutrients (plant chemicals) which protect the body from chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
  4. Salmon – look for wild caught Alaskan salmon. Salmon are rich in: Omega oils which ease inflammation, improve brain function, and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) reduces depression and improves mood and cognition. Selenium for a healthy heart and joints. B6 and B12 to reduce the emotional and physical effects of stress. Vitamin D and certain proteins that reduce inflammation causing headaches and other aches & pains.
  5. Ginger – a number of studies have shown the impact ginger has on stress. It boosts libido and mood, acts as an analgesic (pain reliever) for headaches & muscle pain, and settles a stressed digestive system. It’s rich in: Gingerol, a phytonutrient that has been shown to reduce muscle pain by 25%, ease tension related headaches, improve digestion and reduce nausea. Antioxidants helping boost the immune system. Vitamin B6 to protect against the physical and emotional effects of stress. Chemicals that protect the brain from unhealthy blood sugar levels (which can be caused by long-term stress).
  6. Turkey – low in saturated fats it’s a healthy alternative to many types of meat. It is rich in: Tryptophan encouraging the release of seratonin, which besides lifting mood also aids in sleep. Phenylalanine, an amino acid that prevents depression. B3 and B6 to support the nervous system. Selenium which helps support the function of the immune system. Protein for balancing blood sugar and providing amino acids for tissue repair.
  7. Brazil nuts – the BEST source of selenium. These nuts are rich in: Zinc, which is drained by chronic stress and anxiety, and boosts healthy immunity, libido, hormone balance, energy levels and memory. Selenium for mood balancing and preventing anxiety and depression. B vitamins, reducing the impact of stress on the mind and body. Omega oils for easing of inflammation and promoting heart health. Magnesium which aids in better absorption of energy from food and for healthy nerve function.
  8. Blueberries – are a superstar of the superfoods category! These superstars are rich in: Antioxidants, such as anthocyanins which lower blood pressure, protect the nervous system and the digestive tract, encourage optimum brain function and balance blood sugar. Vitamin C to boost immunity, reduce the impact of cortisol (the stress hormone) thus positively affecting both body and mind.

Okay, that’s enough for this blog! *Whew* that’s a lot of information to take in and I’ll be adding two more blogs on this topic, posted over the next 3-5 days. Start eating the right foods to help you manage and reduce the impact of stress on your mind and body, today! Don’t wait. Finding other ways to reduce the stress in your life would be of benefit too. Perhaps an idea for a future blog. 🙂