Whilst stress in moderation can be helpful in motivating us to perform under pressure, when left unchecked for long periods of time, it can be detrimental to all factors of our health.
Given modern day stresses, it is not surprising our adrenal glands are working overtime. If they are constantly producing and releasing stress hormones into our bloodstream, we will be in a constant state of stress. These hormones increase heart rate and blood pressure and can lead to heart palpitations and many other cardiovascular conditions. Diet and lifestyle play a large role in influencing the function of the adrenal glands and therefore the management of anxiety.
The six most important neurochemicals linked to personality, thoughts, feelings, emotions, and moods are serotonin, epinephrine, dopamine, endorphins, norepinephrine, and melatonin. Stress disrupts neural circuits and can eventually cause serious imbalance in these neurochemicals. These imbalances are closely associated with the presence of mind conditions.
Additionally, our neurochemistry can become increasingly imbalanced and potentially toxic as a result of factors related to lifestyle, such as poor diet and insufficient sleep or exercise.
Since most of the body’s serotonin lies within cells of the digestive tract, it is not surprising that the state of a person’s digestive system can greatly influence their state. Nutrition and lifestyle therefore may play a role in this condition also.
So what are some of the best mood boosting foods?
Ever wonder why you seem to turn to chocolate when you’re sad or overwhelmed? Rather than reach for the milk or refined sugar versions, go dark and indulge in some raw cacao free from hormones and other disruptive additives.
Cacao has a high concentration of antioxidants and magnesium as well as iron, fiber, chromium and manganese. It’s benefits also include energy boosting abilities, promotion of cardiovascular health and a sweet hit of satisfying indulgence that will calm and soothe.
Good fats include those labelled monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, with bad fats being the industrially created trans-fats associated with margarines, shorteners, fast food and many other easily accessible food sources. Healthy fats, in particular those full of omega 3s such as oily fish and walnuts have been proven to assist and aid in the treatment of mental health issues.
Chilli peppers have been proven to, not only increase flavour, but also the release of endorphins in the brain. This activates the pleasure centre of the brain and helps to calm the body.
B vitamin is the ultimate mood-booster. When taken, either in supplement form, or with the introduction of foods rich in vitamin B, you will notice positive changes in your long-term mood. Foods like nutritional yeast, dark leafy greens, chicken, almonds and avocados as well as seafood and bananas, all contain adequate levels of vitamin B.