Healthy body for healthy mind is my introduction to a brain and health series I will be sharing with you in my next series of posts. There are many benefits to feeding our minds! There is even a new form of psychiatry called nutritional psychiatry. It offers patients nutrition education and dietary interventions for people who suffer from disorders like depression and anxiety (Psychiatric Times). You can find many studies on the correlation between the food we eat and our moods.
“You are what you eat.”
The foods we eat give our bodies information from the nutrients in them. This information keeps our body and the cells in our body functioning properly. Foods high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are what you could call premium fuel. If there is a dysfunction, or disease, many studies have found a lack of nutrients. Other studies have found an interconnection between high sugar levels and impaired brain function, and even some symptoms of mood disorders get worse. When processed foods are made, they are made to taste better for the consumer so we want to eat more. In the processing of food the nutrients are often times replaced with more sugars, starches, fats, and additives like coloring created in a lab. This is probably why processed foods are sometimes referred to as “junk food.”
Do you have a “gut feeling” sometimes?
Our guts are a lot more important than many people may realize. The guts of our bodies, where food is broken down, have a hundred million nerve cells. Over 90% of our serotonin receptors are in our guts. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps with our function of sleep, appetite, moods, and pain. The good bacteria found in our guts activate pathways of information from our gut to our brain (Harvard University Health Blog). This could explain why some people talk about having a “gut feeling” sometimes. When the balance between the good and bad bacteria in our guts is disrupted the information being sent to our brain is disrupted which might be what starts a process leading to disease and mood disorders.
This is your brain, and this is your brain on…
Our brains are amazing! For years developers have been trying to create a computer that could process faster and hold more information than the human brain. It is definitely one of the most complex organs in our body with about 100 billion cells that carry information to the body, or neurons. The brain works 24/7 taking care of our thoughts, breathing, heartbeat, movements, even our senses.
Let’s sum it up what we’ve learned, food gives us information for our bodies to function. Our guts activate and transmit information from the gut to the brain. The brain sends out the information to the rest of the body so they can function properly. Sounds like a good system to me, but if the information is bad or the process is disrupted this could lead to any area in our body not working correctly including our moods.
Our built in anti-virus software:
Let me touch on our immune system a little. It basically keeps us healthy by protecting our bodies from bad bacteria, parasites, viruses, and more. The system is spread throughout our body and contains cells that recognize and destroy foreign, dead, or faulty cells and tissue. Cancer is faulty cells or sometimes bacteria that are inside us. When our immune system is low or not functioning correctly the cancer cells can grow into tumors.
Cancer is a trigger for me… My grandparents, my uncle, my dad, my brother, my cousin have died from cancer. My mom just had some tumors removed, and my brother-in-law is currently fighting his battle. There are way too many around the world that have been affected by cancer.
Research has found that a positive mood can boost the immune system, and bad moods can actually lower your immune system. Since cancer can be a faulty cell or bacteria and the immune system kills these in our body, then it leads me to believe we should take care of our system. If the foods we eat can help improve our mood, and our mood can help our immune system…see where I’m going with this?
Brain and health.
How do we get a healthy body for healthy mind? I would like to start with the foods we eat. The systems in our bodies are so complex, but we have simple answers to keep them functioning that are naturally provided for us. When you start processing and manufacturing our food it loses the natural nutrients our systems need. Food needs to have antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. There are antidepressant foods, also food that improve our mood and serotonin levels. Foods can boost our immune system.
In my next series of posts I’m going to discuss some of the foods, vitamins, and minerals that we need to help us function better. Paying attention to how certain foods make you feel could help us find a diet that each of us can be happy with while still being healthy. A food journal might be helpful to keep track of our moods after we eat and foods we like or dislike. I personally do not like seafood, but many other people do. Find what works for you and your body. Maybe start with a term I found called a “clean diet”, which is basically no processed sugar or foods.
I hope that the information I provide can help, but I am not a doctor. Please consult with a licensed health professional before making changes. These are only my opinions and research. We all deserve to live a life to the fullest! My future posts are going to look at foods and our moods to hopefully help. Please be sure to sign up for my newsletter if you would like to follow along with this series and future posts. If you have any questions, opinion, or your own story feel free to leave me a comment below.
Live, laugh, love your life!