How food can make you happy and healthy

While “happy food” is usually associated with high amounts of sugar and fat , these are not the ingredients for a good mental health.

Human beings have a natural tendency to crave for fat and sugar because this is one of the main ingredients in mother’s milk.  But in fact fat and sugar give a quick feel-good sensation while the long-term effects are often negative.

Besides weight gain and the increased risk for the development of diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sub sequential risk for TIA’s and heart attacks, there is another downside to : the negative effect on your mood and cognitive skills through an  unstable blood sugar level.

Our bowel is our second brain

Research found that our bowel is essentially our second brain. Our gut contains a complex neural network that influences our mood. People with mental health problems often expose gastric problems and likewise people with chronic gastric problems like IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) show high levels of stress that might cause those (psycho)somatic problems.

A positive mental health is thereby deeply connected to our eating habits and the condition of our gut.

The importance of a stable blood sugar level

If your blood sugar level goes up quickly due to eating food that contains a lot of quick sugars, your mood, alertness and level of activity rises quickly.

But unfortunately a yo-yo effect will kick in and your spiked-up blood sugar level will shortly after drop down to a deeper low than before. Now you will feel low, down and out of energy.

People with mental health problems like depression, anxiety but also ADHD and Autism might be better off to keep their blood sugar level stable in order to stabilize their mood, concentration and activity level.

Healthy sugars

Healthy sugar can be found in fruits. But to balance your blood sugar level it is best to take in carbs (potato’s, pasta etc) that contain a lot of fiber and slow down the absorption of sugar.

If you  feel a craving for sugar try to take in alternative food like berries, dried fruit, dark chocolate, nuts or food high in proteins like eggs or yoghurt.

Vitamins, Minerals and healthy fat

Vitamin C makes you feel happier. You can find it in fruit and vegetable. Orange, yellow and red fruit and berries are often full of Vitamin C.

Vitamin B helps you concentrate better and reduces nervousness. Whole grains (brown rice, barley, millet), legumes (lentils and beans), seed and nuts (sunflower seeds, almonds) and dark leafy vegetables (broccoli, spinach etc) are a good source for Vitamin B intake.

Minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, potassium and manganese are also beneficial for your mental health because they increase the Serotonin level and stabilize the mood. Nuts and seeds, lentils and beans, dark, leafy vegetables, mushrooms, tofu, milk and cheese are good vegetarian alternatives for red meat and seafood, which are also high in minerals. Also dark chocolate and dried fruits contain a lot of healthy minerals.

Omega 3 is a healthy fat that also stabilizes mood and mind. It is primarily found in seafood. But you can also eat walnuts, chia seeds and Brussel’s sprouts to get your daily Omega 3 intake.

                                                             If you eat healthy- you eat yourself happy