Have you ever noticed the correlation between food and mood?
Ever eaten a heavy pasta dish and felt lethargic afterward?
When your kids eat sugar… have you noticed how they behave?
We all know that fruits and vegetables are good for us. But we also have our excuses for not eating enough of them, myself included. Our busy lifestyles make it complicated sometimes to get in 9-13 fruits and veggies a day.
I have been passionate about healthy eating, since my college years when I was diagnosed with three different autoimmune problems: Lyme’s disease, thyroid disease, and vasovagal syncope. I spent most of college in and out doctor’s offices, hospitals, and physical therapy.
My “college experience” was not typical. It did not make sense to me that I was young and unhealthy. I felt exhausted all the time, frustrated that I was missing out on life, and I was struggling with all the emotions that came along with chronic illness.
It was then that I started really focusing on eating healthy and learning everything I could about improving my health. (Prior to that, I ate the Standard American Diet (SAD), because as a college student access to raw, good quality, fruits and vegetables was limited.)
And with these changes, little by little, my health improved. Though it took me almost 10 years, I was able to get off all medications.
The food-mood connection
As most of you know, I am a school counselor. So it probably doesn’t surprise you that I am passionate about raising emotionally healthy kids.
I have always felt that there was a connection between what people eat and their mood, but until now I didn’t know that there was actual science behind it.
A few weeks ago I learned about an emerging field called, “Nutritional Psychiatry.” Essentially, it is the art of healing the brain through our food choices. I was surprised to find out that: “about 95% of your serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract, and your gastrointestinal tract is lined with a hundred million nerve cells, or neurons, it makes sense that the inner workings of your digestive system don’t just help you digest food, but also guide your emotions.” ( Harvard Medical School).
And that, “studies have shown that when people take probiotics (supplements containing the good bacteria), their anxiety levels, perception of stress, and mental outlook improve, compared with people who did not take probiotics.” (Harvard Medical School)
Isn’t this awesome, healing the brain and emotions through food. Unfortunately, this field is struggling to raise funding for research because, if mood can be healed through food, and not medication, drug companies are going to lose out. (This is why awareness about this issue is key).
To find out more information about the current research about the food mood connection, check out the Food and Mood Center.
What can you do?
This new knowledge has me realizing that by making sure that my kids have a nutritious diet, I am helping them to have healthy bodies and minds. With childhood depression and anxiety rates on the rise, I have to believe that in part this has something to do with our increasingly poorer diet.
As I mentioned earlier, getting in those 9-13 fruits and veggies a day just seems impossible some days. This why I am so blessed that I was introduced to Juice Plus last year.
Juice Plus helps bridge the gap between what my family eats and what we should be eating. Getting “the nutritional essence” of 30 additional fruits and veggies a day is just incredible.
Over the past year, I have seen a dramatic change in my children’s health and quality of life.