Tag Archives: type 2 diabetes

Need a mood boost?

No question that what you eat can affect how you feel, right?

Mental health and brain health are complex. So are the foods we eat, and the ways our bodies interact with those foods.  While, we don’t know the exact mechanisms how food and nutrition help, we know a few ways food impacts our moods. The Metabolic Balance Reset method develops a personalized meal plan that balances hormones and hormones influence mood swings. Get your quick start guide here.

First, what we eat becomes the raw materials for our neurotransmitters. “Neurotransmitters” are biochemical messengers that allow our nerve cells to communicate (ever heard of serotonin?). They are important not just for thinking and memory, but also for mental health.

Second, what we eat affects our blood sugar. And having unstable blood sugar levels can contribute to mood swings.

Let’s talk about mood-boosting and mood-busting foods.

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Mood-boosting foods

Some nutrient deficiencies look like mental health problems; this includes deficiencies in B-vitamins, vitamin D, and the mineral selenium. So, getting enough vitamins, minerals, (and other things like antioxidants) are key. These nutrients not only reduce inflammation but also fuel the biochemical reactions in our bodies. Including those that create neurotransmitters. So make sure you’re eating a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. In fact, studies show that people who eat the most fruits and vegetables are the happiest.

Also pay special attention to vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin), as it’s not naturally occurring in too many foods. Selenium is an essential mineral found in Brazil nuts, walnuts, cod, and poultry. Try to add some of those to your weekly diet.

Second, make sure you get enough protein. Protein is your body’s main supply of amino acids. Amino acids are very important for mood issues because they are the building blocks of neurotransmitters. Protein also helps to regulate blood sugar. I recommend eating protein with every meal; this includes dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, poultry, and meat.

Third, complex carbohydrates like sweet potato and quinoa are great too. They allow better absorption of key amino acids like tryptophan. Tryptophan is used by your body to make serotonin (your “happy hormone”) and melatonin (your “sleepy” hormone). So, if you want to relax, try these in the evening.

Fourth, fish and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids (nuts, seeds, and algae) are also mood-boosting. Omega-3s are definitely “brain food” and may help to ease some symptoms.

FUN FACT: One study showed that giving one multi-vitamin and one omega-3  fish oil tablet per day to prison inmates reduced the incidence of violent behavior by 50%!

Last but not least, make sure you’re hydrated. Mild dehydration can cause mood issues as well.

Mood-busting foods

You won’t be surprised to hear me say processed foods are mood-busters, right? One study suggests that eating a lot of processed foods devoid of nutrients can increase your chances of becoming depressed by as much as 60 percent! This is on top of the research that shows nutrient deficiencies can look like mental health problems.

“But it makes me feel good!”

Yes, some of these mood busters can make you feel better temporarily. Some big food companies study how to maximize the “pleasure” centers with the perfect amount of sugar, salt, and fat. Not to mention the color, texture, and taste; they can light up our taste buds and make us feel good… for now.

A few other things to avoid are:

  • Alcohol (nervous system depressant)
  • Caffeine (may worsen anxious feelings and ability to sleep)
  • Sugar (messes with your blood sugar and can worsen inflammation).

Conclusion

Bad moods can lead to bad eating habits; and, bad eating habits can lead to bad moods. If you need a mood boost, stick to minimally processed nutrient-dense whole foods. Things like fresh fruit and vegetables (including leafy greens), nuts and seeds, eggs, fish, poultry, and meat. Avoid common mood-busting foods like alcohol, caffeine, and sugar.

And remember, sometimes “feel good” junk foods, only make you feel good temporarily. So, try my newest recipe for fruit salad, below.

Recipe (mood boosting): Fruit Salad

Serves 6-8

1-2 cups watermelon, cubed

1-2 cups cantaloupe, cubed

1-2 cups blueberries, fresh

1-2 cups blackberries, fresh

1-2 cups green grapes

Instructions

Place all fruit in a large bowl and gently toss.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Substitute or add any ready-to-eat fruit, like chopped peaches, or raspberries.

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/food-and-mood

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/how-to-fight-depression-naturally-with-nutrition

https://nutritionfacts.org/video/foods-increase-happiness/

Medical Disclaimer

The information contained herein is NOT intended as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the care of a qualified health professional. Always consult your doctor for all diagnoses, treatments, and cures for any diseases or conditions, as well as before changing your diet, taking supplements or making any changes to your health care regimen.

Saving my sister’s life with food

The food abuse had been going on for years, leading to obesity, elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.  This  was managed with a myriad of medications. I think at one point she told me she was on nine different medications!  Some 20 years later, it all came to a head with a medical crisis (though there were many warning signs prior to this), one that to this day leave some serious physical, mental and emotional scars.

It sounds dramatic but I can assure you it’s no  exaggeration because I was there and I’m still there today helping my sister negotiate her way back to health through nutrition.

But let me back up a bit to the day I flew to Alberta with no idea if I would be heading straight to the hospital or my sister’s home.  Because for the past year or so, her life consisted of one medical crisis after the next that no medical professional could figure out.

She was plagued with chronic, acute diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, near fainting spells, severe pain in her shoulders, neck and head that seemed to be progressively getting worse.  The irony was that she was losing weight, something that had alluded her for years even though I was right there, with all the knowledge and expertise in nutrition and weight loss, for whatever reason, she didn’t want to know.  As time went on and her symptoms were not improving, the realization hit home; her disease could no longer be chemically managed through traditional medicine.

During our many telephone conversations I had suggested the possibility that the medications could be causing these issues.  However, she felt that the doctors, either her own or the many that had treated her in the ER would have caught that. Eventually, one of them did.  It turned out that she had developed a severe reaction to Metformin, the drug prescribed to control the type 2 diabetes.

It was shortly after I arrived, following another doctor visit, that she was given this information about the Metformin.  She was immediately taken off the drug and within 24 hours there was an improvement in her symptoms. She also decided, along with her family doctor that she wanted to come off  many of the other medications she was being prescribed.

Of course she was depleted and exhausted but now she could focus on recovery and building back her strength.  She became increasingly interested in nutrition and the type of foods that would support her recovery and those foods in particular that could also help manage her blood sugar. So I got to work, I finally had an opportunity to help her gain control of her health and trust me, I had her undivided attention this time!

It was not easy I was dealing with food restrictions, likes, dislikes and sensitivities.  But she was a willing participant, highly motivated and desperately wanting to feel better.  So I started to cook, using  real whole foods, plant foods, anti-inflammatory foods, supportive herbs and spices all prepared in a method for easy digestion and maximum nutrient uptake.  I filled the fridge and freezer and left a menu of easy to follow recipes.

There were also some supplement requirements due to vitamin and mineral depletion, in particular, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D.  I started slow and kept it simple.  I didn’t know how her body would react. There has been some trial and error and set backs, but the good news to date is that her blood sugar is stable, she has kept the weight off  and  now, she is in control of her health.

 

Important small print you must read:
Disclaimer
The information contained herein is NOT intended as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the care of a qualified health professional. Always consult your doctor for all diagnoses, treatments, and cures for any diseases or conditions, as well as before changing your health care regimen.