Do you like food? Ok, that was a rhetorical question. We all need to eat in order to stay alive, and frankly anyone that says they don’t like chocolate is either allergic or lying. But today, I’m not talking about chocolate (a.k.a. proof that the Universe is a wonderful place); I’m talking about food and mood and how one improves the other.
Food is fuel, plain and simple, and even though it’s nice and convenient, fast food isn’t exactly great for us. Think of it this way. If you had one car, and just one car, for the rest of your life (for the purposes of this example, let’s all imagine our favorite dream car, mine being a 1963 Chevrolet Convertible), would you trust the rust-bucket, rinky-dink Val-U-Gas-N-Go on the wrong side of the tracks, or the nice, clean, well stocked, Full Service Luxury Living Gas? Ok, I know it’s not a great example, but the point I’m trying to get across is that there is a price you will pay down the road if you cut corners and put bad fuel in your car, or your body.
So what exactly should we be putting in our bodies? Good question. It really all depends on your personal tastes, and also what you hope to achieve. For example, science has identified a link between depression and decreased levels of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which just so happen to be plentiful in cold-water fish such as salmon and mackerel, as well as flaxseeds, walnuts and eggs.
Similarly, if you are feeling down in the dumps or just overstressed, you may want to try something with L-Tryptophan. This nutrient just so happens to be integral for the brain to manufacture serotonin, the stress relieving, feel-good neurotransmitter. What foods have this hard-to-pronounce, but important, amino acid? Well, you’ll want nuts, seeds, eggs, meat, tomatoes, and/or cheese (which you could just whip all together into a very nice sandwich).
For all you fellow insomniacs, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but our eating habits are hindering our ability to catch a couple Z’s. I’m not talking the generic “stop drinking caffeine” no-brainer (although that too is important); I’m talking about that big dinner and occasional nightcap (and I don’t mean that one you put on your head). Physiologically, that big meal can keep you awake as your body busily processes that umpteen-course dinner, and while alcohol can make you sleepy, it also interferes with rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is the phase of sleep that leaves you feeling refreshed and replenished with energy.
I know what a few of you are thinking now: “Ok, so you’re telling me not to eat a big meal or drink, well what should I eat then?!” My answer would be chicken, or a banana, an avocado, or even a baked potato. This is because all of these are rich in copper, and a number of studies have shown that diets high in copper help people sleep easier and fell more rested when they awake.
So dude, improve your mood with some groovy food!