5 Steps to Ditching Foods That Affect Your Mood

It is no secret that there is a common link between your diet and the effects it has on your productivity and subsequent brain function. According to the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research, there will be a dynamic increase in mental health related disorders, including anxiety and depression, in the coming decades. Depression and other common mental disorders have been strongly linked to dietary intake. When people are not meeting the recommended intakes of brain-essential nutrients, their resiliency against the pathogenesis of mental disorders is greatly affected. The emerging field of nutritional psychiatry is highlighting the many consequences and correlations between what you eat, how you feel and how you ultimately behave.


Here are a 5 steps to help you get rid of your old, unhealthy habits and create healthier ones:


  1. Cut-out all processed foods and sugars. Processed foods are high in sugar, saturated fats, and cholesterol that make people more prone to developing high blood pressure, insulin resistance and heart attacks. Not only do they lack essential nutrients needed to uphold proper brain function, but they also interrupt the antioxidant defense system needed to combat the risk of depression and anxiety.


  1. Add fermented foods to your diet. Probiotic foods for gut health like kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, and pickles are known to be high in fiber and other nutrients including B-group vitamins, calcium, zinc and magnesium.


  1. Say bye-bye to dairy. Cow’s milk protein allergy is a common allergy in infants and children while lactose intolerance is at an all-time-high in adults. Milk’s main dietary source of D-galactose influences the process of oxidative stress and inflammation that leads to a decrease in energy and increase in fatigue, tiredness and lethargy. Taking calcium supplements or adding coconut milk into your diet will ensure that your body is still getting the nutrients it needs.


  1. Be more mindful. Keep a food journal to document what you are cutting out of your diet, what you are replacing that food with, and how you feel with each step of the process. This daily food journal will serve to track your progress and ensure that the transition is smooth and enjoyable.


  1. Reintroduce foods back one by one. In about 3-4 weeks, begin to introduce back foods like whole wheat grains and trans fats into your diet. Be sure to monitor how you feel throughout the day, from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed. Notice that bad foods will enhance inflammation while good foods will increase your energy and uplift your mood. This tip could also highlight allergies you didn’t know of previously and highlight foods that you shouldn’t be eating.

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