Eating Your Feelings

Chelsea Rainier

Did you know, refining what you eat, can put you in a better mood? Our diet can help us feel positive, help us think more precisely, and also give us the energy we need to make it through the day. How do we keep our bodies healthy and ward off negative emotions or moods? Here are some helpful ideas anyone can follow including kids and teens.

First, along with eating, staying hydrated, that is drinking water, can help with concentration and comprehensible thinking. Herbal or green tea is another healthy way of keeping hydrated. Stress EatingDehydration may be a culprit in disorders such as depression. Studies have linked depression to dehydration since a significant portion of our brain is made up of water. Dehydration causes energy in the brain to decrease which results in decreased physical energy and potentially down or depressed moods.

Eating regularly keeps your blood sugar at a steady level. Failing to eat with a constant or defined pattern can lead to irritability, fatigue, and depression. Along with eating regularly, eating protein-rich foods releases energy into to our bodies slowly. The amino acids in proteins fuel our bodies and increase dopamine and norepinephrine which helps us feel energized and alert. Some protein-rich foods can include oats, seeds, nuts, and tofu. Skipping breakfast is not an option. We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that saying should be valued and practiced. Eating breakfast gets our bodies off to a good start by waking you up and energizing you for a productive day. Picking smart foods for breakfast will keep up your energy levels until you are able to eat again during your lunch break. Eating smaller portions throughout the day is also better than eating an extensive lunch and dinner.

When stressed, people tend to eat foods that are high in sugar and high-carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are utilized in our bodies to increase C10H12N2O also known as serotonin; the amazing feel-good chemical our bodies produce. Eating the right carbohydrates such as fruits, whole grains and vegetables will provide your brain with energy while also decreasing stress and anxiety. Also, not all fats make you “fat,” some can enhance happiness and reduce depression. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are necessary. Omega-3 fatty acids support brain cells and regulate mood. Some studies have found omega-3 reduces hyperactivity, impulsivity and can improve concentration. Children with ADHD and autism have been found to be lacking fatty acids.

So, while we have heard time and time again mood and food are linked, tiny mouths and minds are not exempt. When cooking and packing lunch for the little ones, meals should be prepared from scratch whenever possible and avoid preservatives, packaged and artificial foods. You may notice fewer temper tantrums or mood swings as a result!