Mood-Food

The vast majority of people are aware, that the food they eat has an impact on physical health. But what about mood and mental wellbeing... does it matter what we eat?

Yes, food choices affect daily well-being. There are certain foods that are known for their effects, some in a positive way, but others for the worse. Good mood foods, that improve emotional and mental wellbeing are e.g. dark chocolate, purple berries, coffee, protein, bananas, omega3, and turmeric. Sugar, wheat (gluten) and processed foods are known to do the opposite. The nutrition you choose is the fuel for your body and builds mental health from the inside out.

Our brain, which is constantly running and works constantly around the clock, needs fuel to function. What you eat and drink affects it and thereby affects your wellbeing. By eating high quality, nutritious foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, you nourish your brain and protect it from oxidative stress.

The brain produces neurotransmitters that tell us how we feel. The food we consume affects them. The neurotransmitter serotonin is a feel-good chemical that helps control sleep and appetite, affects mood, increases relaxation and inhibits pain. The serotonin used by the brain is produced there, but almost all of its production (95%) takes place in the gastrointestinal tract. The gastrointestinal tract is lined inside with hundreds of millions of neurons and their activity is strongly influenced by “good” bacteria. The amino acid Tryptophan is converted to serotonin during digestion and when consumed in abundance, the serotonin levels increase in the body. In order for that transformation to take place, one needs to eat food rich in vitamin B6. It’s not only lack of vitamin B6 however that may reduce the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin, e.g. alcohol and sugar. The sugar also has other negative effects on mood and wellbeing, causing fluctuation in blood sugar levels, which may cause irritability, loss of energy, hyperactivity, and headache.
Nutritional psychiatry is a rapidly growing field of medicine. Within its range, people are seeing the consequences and correlations between food, wellbeing, and behavior, as well as connections to the kinds of bacteria that thrive in peoples guts.

… where did you say that your brain was located?

Many alternative therapists talk about us having two or even three brains in our bodies; The first one that we all know is located inside the skull of our heads, the second one being in the gastrointestinal tract, and the third one in the heart. In the English language, we speak of a “gut feeling” and many people think the messages from the gut-brain are more reliable than those from our rational thinking brain in our heads. Anyway, there is a connection between the brain in the head and the gastrointestinal tract. They both originate from the same tissue during fetal development, but as the fetus matures, this tissue stretches into the head on one hand and into the abdomen on the other. These two systems i.e. the nervous system and the digestive system, are connected via the vagus nerve, the tenth cranial nerve that runs from the brain stem down to the abdomen. Today it is known that the vagus nerve is the main route for information through neurons, from intestinal bacteria to brain.
There are growing knowledge and interest in the interaction of intestinal bacteria with their host. From what we already know, it is clear that their role is very important, probably far more so than has been realized so far. Built on this new knowledge, now some people even talk about the gut microbiota as the “forgotten organ” in the context of health and diseases.

The forgotten organ – our gut microbiota
The role of the digestive system is to digest food and turn the nutrients into a form that the body can absorb and use to fuel its function. Studies show that the digestive system can not function normally without a healthy intestinal flora. The gut of an adult contains up to 3 kg of microbes. Some of them work in a kind of “factories” located in there and produce necessary supplements for us to thrive. We call these microbes “friendly” because we benefit from their work. There are also other microorganisms in the gut, such as yeast, not as friendly as such except in reasonable amounts, but necessary to carry out certain tasks. If their levels are out of control, the cohabitation stops being beneficial for us and they take over at the expense of the “friendly” microbes. If there are certain microorganisms present in the gastrointestinal tract, they can produce toxins that are released into the intestines and from there get into our bloodstream, where they are carried throughout the body and to the brain, with the same consequences as if we had consumed them. Missing some special microorganisms in the digestive tract also causes various problems. Here, as in so many other places, it’s all about balance.

Abnormal intestinal flora causes a combination of neurotoxins that can induce different symptoms in different individuals, even symptoms of mental illness such as insanity. A well-known Japanese professor, Kazudzo Nishi, estimates that at least 1/10 part of mental health problems is self-toxicity that occurs in the gut. In addition, people with abnormal intestinal flora suffer from vitamin and nutrient deficiency, because in order to utilize the nutrients from food, certain bacteria are needed to assist and produce these substances. If these bacterias are not present to the extent necessary, the body can´t make use of the nutrients even though they are there. Instead, various other bacterias and fungi thrive in abnormally high levels and cause malnutrition by absorbing the nutrients meant for the body. They also prevent “friendly” germs and bacteria to thrive and produce the vitamins that we need.

Mental disorders, particularly depression, account for the highest burden of global disability. Researchers now believe that mental illnesses, especially depression, is not just a brain disorder, but rather a whole body disorder, with dysfunction of the immune system (chronic, low-grade systemic inflammation) as a very important risk factor. This general inflammation is the result of many environmental factors that are common in our lives today, including poor diet and others who influence gut microbiota.

Western diet – with addition
In the light of the above, it is clear that maintaining a good intestinal flora and bowel health is crucial when it comes to mental wellbeing. It matters what you consume and what you avoid consuming. Western diet, on the other hand, contains many foods that are not in line with the optimal feed for us or our intestinal flora. In the 20th century, there has been a dramatic change globally in people’s diets. A huge increase in sugar intake, snacks, fast food and high-energy foods and less consumption of nutritious and fiber-rich foods. On top of this, there have been changes in the cultivation and production methods of the available foods, which have no precedent in human history, ie:
• Genetically modified food intake – which can significantly alter the intestinal flora and create an imbalance. Thereby promoting the growth of undesirable microorganisms and reduction in the amount of the “friendly” ones, with associated negative consequences. Genetically modified ingredients are today found in an incredibly high number of foods and in the most unlikely places.
• Glyphosate herbicides use – causes nutritional deficiencies, especially mineral deficiencies and induces general poisoning in the body. A variety of other insecticides and herbicides used in the cultivation of foods are considered to have a negative effect on general health, although glyphosate is the one, that most focus has been on, due to the amount it´s been used in and how widespread its use is.
• Consumption of food containing high fructose – which feeds disease-causing microorganisms in the gut and promotes their number. In addition, sugar suppresses the key hormone (BDNF) in the brain, promotes chronic inflammation and insulin and leptin resistance – all of which affect the brain and mental health. When BDNF levels are high, acquiring new knowledge is easier, memories are retained, and people feel happier.
• Hormones, drugs and other chemical residues in food: which are mostly related to factory farming. To name a few they have a disruptive effect on the consumers’ hormones, the thyroid gland (such as the mood control) and the consumer’s immune system.
• Food additives such as aspartame, colorings, and flavorings can affect your brain’s function and your mental well-being.

Few key chemicals for a good mood
The trace mineral chromium, which liver contains a lot of, is a good-mood mineral. It also has positive effects in combating anxiety and depression and it balances the metabolism, regulates blood sugar levels and more.
Almost all of the vitamin B-group – especially B3, B6, B12, and folate though – play a key role in mental and emotional health. They are good for the brain and nervous system, helping the body to create neurotransmitters e.g. serotonin and reduce the effects of anxiety and depression.
Iron is important in the maintenance of energy and if the energy is low, it has a direct and indirect effect on well-being and mood.
Omega 3 essential fatty acids, vitamin D, zinc, magnesium and calcium, to name a few.

The best of both worlds
In short, it is vital for mental well-being to correctly nourish the “forgotten organ”, ie intestinal flora, for the benefit of mental, intellectual as well as physical well-being.
That said, it is worth remembering what the raw materials and the final products of the Pure Natura products are made of.
All materials are chosen with regard to purity, quality, and efficiency. There are no additives, no genetically modified substances, no color, flavors nor shelf-life-enhancing substances, and they are free from hormones and toxins. Pure Natura whole food supplements contain a concentrated form of essential nutrients from both animal and vegetable origin, prepared in a way that the body recognizes and knows how to make use of. Repeated positive testimonies and success stories from our customers, as well as our own experience, has proven the Pure Natura products to have an excellent impact on physical as well as mental wellbeing and mood. When viewed what the products contain, we need not be surprised:
The basic ingredient is a high-quality protein from organ meat of free-roaming Icelandic lamb, which is unique in terms of purity and nutritional content. Nothing is added and nothing is taken out. Vitamins, minerals, trace minerals and fatty acids in compressed form, enzymes and all excipients – cold-dried and grounded. The amino acid tryptophan is found in large quantities in grass-fed meat and organ meats, as well as omega fatty acids. Organ meat contains a large amount of the vitamin B-group, some – such as B12 in huge doses. Heme iron found in meat and organ meat is better utilized than non-heme iron and the Pure Natura products contain a large amount of that too. In addition, the products contain vitamins A-D and K2, zinc, magnesium and others, necessary for an optimal nervous system and physical activity.
In addition to the organ meat, the products contain carefully selected, hand picked Icelandic wild herbs, each of which adds to the supplement unique substances such as fiber, vitamins, minerals and trace minerals, antioxidants, various plant materials, essential oils, sugars, etc. Harvested and prepared the same way as the organ meat to preserve these precious ingredients – cold dried and ground. Plants contain Inulin, which is an important nutrition for the microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract. Inulin has a remarkable positive effect on microorganisms thriving in the gastrointestinal tract, as it inhibits significantly the growth of fungi, parasites, and bacteria that encourage inflammation. Certain plants such as dandelion root and leafs, garlic and herbs all contain a large amount of Inulin.

Finally
Is there anything that you could call mood-food? Yes, there is, since the food you eat affects brain and blood sugar, both of which affect mood and well-being. It also has effects on the interaction of gastrointestinal microorganisms with the digestive tract and nervous system.
Mood swings, headache, and low blood sugar can all be caused by the food we consume. A good feed for the microflora and the body results in normal digestion and excretion of toxins, which results in better mental and physical well-being.

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