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Complex carbohydrates are found in fiber and starch and are beneficial for brain health as they release glucose slowly into our system, helping stabilize our mood. Simple carbohydrates are found in sugary foods, cause fluctuations of feelings of happiness and produce a negative effect on our psychological well-being.
Our cells generate energy through oxidation, but oxidation also reduces the dopamine and serotonin in the brain and creates oxidative stress.
Antioxidants found in brightly colored foods like fruits and vegetables act as a defense against oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain and body. Antioxidants also repair oxidative damage and scavenge free radicals that cause cell damage in the brain.
Omega 3 are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are involved in the process of converting food into energy. They are important for the health of the brain and the communication of its feel-good chemicals dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine.
Omega 3 are essential nutrients that are not readily produced by the body, so we must include foods high on it in our diet.
B vitamins aids in the production of our brain’s happiness chemicals serotonin and dopamine and can be found in green vegetables, beans, bananas, and beetroot.
High amounts of vitamins B6, B12, and folate in the diet have been known to protect against depression and too low amounts to worsen the symptoms.
Our gut’s flora influences our mood, behavior and brain health. Chemical messengers produced in our stomach influence our emotions, appetite and our reactions to stressful situations.
Prebiotics and probiotics found in yogurt, cheese and fermented foods work on the same pathways in the brain as antidepressant medications and studies have found they might have similar effects.
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People with alcohol and drug problems have a greater likelihood than average of having a mental illness and have far poorer health outcomes.
Stopping smoking is an important step, as nicotine-addicted people are constantly at the mercy of a withdrawal-craving cycle, which profoundly affects mood.
Sleep hygiene techniques aim to improve sleep quality and help treat insomnia.
They include: adjusting caffeine use, limiting exposure to the bed (regulating your sleep time and having a limited time to sleep), limiting exposure to the blue light from smartphones, and making sure you get up at a similar time in the morning.
Skipping meals actually makes your body less able to assimilate food, and you are more liable to overeat at the next meal.
If you keep yourself from getting too hungry, you may be able to avoid a bad mood.
The biggest bad mood culprits are refined carbohydrates and refined white starches that cause your blood sugar to go up and down like a rollercoaster.
Blood sugar spikes and drops can leave you with a short-lived burst of energy followed by a tired, cranky feeling.
We all seek happiness, and there is a scientific way we can find it.
Dopamine, the feel-good chemical in our brains, positively affects our mood, focus, energy and behaviour.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls our brain's reward and pleasure centre. It can help us:
The body and mind seek pleasureable experiences, resulting in the neurons creating dopamine in our brain. This can be also overdone using drugs, leaving a negative impact eventually.