We know we feel better, lighter, cleaner and more energetic while eating healthy - that all makes sense. But a healthy diet is also 1 key step towards feeling happier, motivated and more focused too.
Happiness is not governed by success, money, relationships etc. The truth is there are many internal factors which effect our ability to feel positive emotions and lots we can do to improve.
Here's 5 things that are killing your mood (and your waistline) and what you can do about them.
You're eating lifeless foods: It's true that you are what you eat. Fill yourself with processed, lifeless food that has been refined to the point that it barely resembles it's original form and you'll find you feel flat, fatigued and miserable. Instead, fill your body with fresh, tasty, vibrant, nourishing fruits and vegetables of every colour and you will feel as bright and chearful as summer.
You're loading your body with toxins: The solution to pollution is dilution. If your life is filled with toxic chemicals then your body will absorb and store them in the safest place possible - in fat cells. Once you've run out of places to "dilute" your body might decide you need additional dumping space - ie: extra body fat particularly around the middle coating and smothering the organs. This can lead to chronic inflammation, fatigue etc. Your body will have lost it's ability to cleanse and you will be feeling chronically crappy. Take measures to reduce toxin exposure by using natural, chemical free body care products and cosmetics. Try to eat oranic where possible and wash any foods that aren't to reduce pesticide exposure. Reduce dairy, caffeine and alcohol intake and increase foods that enhance detoxification such as grapefruit, green tea and green veggies.
You're borrowing energy: Any time that you use a stimulant like caffeine you are borrowing energy from valuable reserves. Over-use of caffeine also interferes with your neurotransmitters Serotonin and Dopamine which are responsible for happiness, appetite regulation and motivation. The only real way to increase your energy is to feed your body with energising nutrients such as B Vitamins, Magnesium and of course by drinking plenty of water. A diet which includes 6-8 handfuls of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit per day should provide all the energy you need for the day. You can easily boost energy in times of increased need by taking a good quality high strength multi-vitamin with B Vitamins.
You're constipated: A daily healthy bowel movement is essential for good mood, immune function, weight maintenance and of course energy. Toxic wastes which have been processed for elimination by your body should be removed quickly to minimise the potential for reabsorption. Food intolerances, allergies and certain medications can increase the risk of constipation while also reducing your body's levels of vital nutrients. Taking measures to reduce constipation such as increasing your intake of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, exercising regularly, drinking 2l of water and avoiding processed foods can improve your mood significantly. A daily probiotic such as inner health plus can also help.
You're deficient: If you are not consuming a varied diet, are exercising a lot, under high stress or are just a little anti-veg then you are probably deficient in atleast one nutrient. As a Nutritionist it's fairly easy to spot deficiencies but people often suffer unknowingly for a long time before realising there is a reason for the way they feel. Deficiency in Magnesium for example may lead to muscle cramps, sugar cravings, eye twitches and constipation. Zinc deficiency: diarrhoea, chronic colds and flu's, poor digestion. The most categoristic of all deficiencies is the 2pm slump commonly seen in Iron deficiency - other symptoms can be fatigue, weakness, poor exercise tolerance, anxiety and insomnia.
So as you can see there is plenty we can do to improve our mood. All it really boils down to is eating enough serves and variety of veggies every day, drinking enough water, not over-using stimulants, supporting our detox pathways, avoiding toxins where possible, watch our for deficiencies and of course Nutritionist-prescribed supplements when needed. For more infornation or personalised Nutritional planning please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay deliciously healthy, Jennifer May, Principle Nutritionist at Sydney City Nutritionist