In an article written by Steve Holt on Takepart.com, Holt explores the ways in which what we eat has a direct influence on how we feel.
Dr. Bonnie Kaplan, a professor at the University of Calgary says that before the turn of the last century, food was used for healing purposes. Some foods are still used today to treat common physical ailments. For example, there’s chicken soup for a cold, ginger to relieve a stomach ache and honey to soothe a sore throat. “From around 1950 or so, there was an explosion of research on medications,” she says. “Big pharma took over the treatment of psychiatric illnesses, and we lost centuries of knowledge.”
Not only can food help to heal but it can also affect one’s mood. Notice how you feel after a big meal. Are you tired and listless? After eating a salad for lunch or dinner, with fresh vegetables, whole grains and protein, do you feel lighter and more energized? When you eat processed burgers and candy, how do you feel physically and emotionally? Probably not so good. You may get an initial high but you may also experience a dramatic crash. When blood sugar plummets you may crave more of those foods in order to feel energized again. You may notice after eating that you feel up, both physically and psychologically but then you feel low, depressed and tired. It can become a vicious cycle.
“In a 2012 study with colleague Karen M. Davison, Ph.D., R.D., published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, the authors recruited 97 adults diagnosed with a mood disorder to record their diets and moods (how they felt throughout each day) over a three-day period. At the end of the study, Kaplan and Davison found that participants’ vitamin and nutrient intake was “consistently and reliably” associated with better moods and mental health.”
I have found that neurofeedback is even more effective when sleep hygiene is practiced and “cleaner eating” is observed. Ironically, we can be drawn to sugar and caffeine when we are feeling depressed and anxious, however, consuming those substances can perpetuate those feelings. According to the article (and many studies) what we eat can not only affect our bodies but our brains as well.
To learn more about the relationship between food and mood and how neurofeedback and help you feel better, contact me.