The food and mood relationship keeps coming up in research. Does that mean you should drop your medications? The answer is No. Depression and other mood disorders may very well be chemically related. It is associated with hormones and fluids in the brain and elsewhere, heavily supported by comprehensive studies. Eating certain foods may augment those chemicals but not necessarily change their bio-availability. The food and mood relationship is further exacerbated by what foods help and what food don’t help. The professionals are so conflicted about the foods that, for affective effectiveness, you might just as well stick to the pill.
For more than 30 years, books on food and mood have lined shelves and online searches filled with twists of what may work.
Columbia University’s Mailman institute seems to be focused on food and mood by delivering interesting studies about childhood anxiety and food allergies. CBS news has produced a story how researchers are trying to tie-in numerous and large studies to explore and reveal the food and mood connection.
digestive system parts are linked to the brain by the vagus nerve.
The vagus nerve, when stimulated, sends mild signals to the brain to indicate that the gut is hungry. At this point all sorts of hormones are triggered, insulin is -preparing for food but none is coming. That might have something to do with brain fog that develops a couple hours after a routine meal. Brain fog occurs when the symptoms of low blood sugar are experienced a few hours after a meal even though blood glucose levels remain normal. This is also known as postprandial (“after eating”) hypoglycemia or postprandial dip. Performance a few hours after eating can fade and lead to anxiety.
There are some unique clinical aspects that are discussed because the relationships of food and mood seem like a simple way of treating depression. Is it? And do we really know what they are and how they work?
Then there are many other possible causes of depression mood disorder, not associated with food. The exact cause of depression disorders are not clearly known. However, there are several factors that can increase the risk of developing the condition. The APA might suggest that there are combinations of genes and stress that can influence changes in brain chemistry and reduce the ability to maintain mood stability. Yet, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) does stress depression’s alarming statistics:
Depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life.
Yet the diagnosis is more involved with the symptoms than lifestyle causes of depression. It is very unlikely to indicate food and mood.
Per APA, symptoms are:
(Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:)
Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
Loss of energy or increased fatigue
Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
Feeling worthless or guilty
Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
Thoughts of death or suicide
Of course, other possibilities may have an influence over any of these symptoms.
Food and mood may be associated with adding certain Omega 3 fats with slow absorbing carbohydrates. Low glycemic foods, chocolate, and food that has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, tryptophan, folate and other B vitamins, have all been studied to evaluate their impact on mood. Results vary from study to study, but there usually appears to be an association between these foods and improved mood. Fundamentally, a good, healthy meal, with a vitamin supplement, might suggest an elevation in mood.
Beyond food, the importance of adequate hydration is often neglected. Your body needs water above any other liquid refreshment. General recommendations indicate that you drink 2 liters of water each day. Studies seem to indicate that moods change as your hydration drops. Water is the most overlooked nutrient. Many active people use skin sensing hydration monitors to assure that they are adequately hydrated. Drinking water also helps reduce that brain fog that may occur when meals are spaced too far apart – or beyond habituation. Think of water as a filling snack. Just keep it clear. No sweet drinks, sodas, juices, or coffee. Just cool, clear water.
Considering food and mood routinely is noble. There are subtle nuances in wither with differing benefits and consequences. Prescription anti-depressants are probably the best bet if your mood is blue for over a few months. Anti-depressants also have side effects that may continue to affect your moods negatively.
Severe or abrupt diets or intermittent fasting may be more depressing unless you really believe that you can and will transition for long term results. Food, processed or whole, have calories, carbohydrates, fats, cholesterol (and other things that people need to control) may be significant confounding variables. Eating tuna and salmon daily can bring Mercury poisoning. That alone is something to get depressed over.
Barring any unique illnesses or conditions, following USDA dietary guidelines would provide a healthy diet plan that could be satisfying in many ways, including your mood.
Chronic mood disorders may really require competent psychotherapists to prescribe those medications that work best and that you can tolerate.
People come in all shapes and sizes. Some are tall, some are short. Some are large and some are thin. Age also contributes to the softening of lean tissue. Then there’s dietary fat that can be good or bad for you.
The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that healthy adults over the age of 19 consume between 20 and 35 percent of their daily calories from dietary fat. This means if you eat a diet of 2,000 calories per day, you should consume between 44 grams and 77 grams of total fat daily. Almost all dietary fat in your diet comes in the form of triglycerides. Most of this fat is necessary for metabolizing energy. Some key nutrients require fat for body absorption. A small amount of fat is an essential part of a healthy diet. Excess fat is stored in the body’s cells until it is needed for energy. Fat helps to form ATP as a core component to deliver energy. ATP uses fat, sugars, starches to tabulate energy consumed and used. Dietary fat is necessary – perhaps more than sugars. Is there a best dietary fat?
When eating foods containing dietary fat, here are four major dietary fats in the foods we eat:
Monounsaturated fats. (MUFA)
Polyunsaturated fats. (PUFA)
Unsaturated fats include polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. Both mono- and polyunsaturated fats, when eaten in moderation and used to replace saturated or trans fats, might help lower cholesterol levels and may reduce your risk of heart disease, when replacing use of saturated or trans fats in food preparation. Keys here are moderate and replacement.
The discussion among the use of better dietary fat offers some complexity about how fat is structured and how those structures interact with your body. Fats are chains of acids. Some are essential, with either short, medium, or long tails that create a fat molecule. Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, are fatty acids that humans and other animals must ingest because the body requires them for good health but cannot synthesize them. Non-essential fatty acids are those we can produce and are usually added dietary fat for flavor enhancement.
There are differences among saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Fatty acids that possess no double bonds are saturated (have maximum number of H atoms). Saturated fatty acids are linear in structure, originate from animal sources (i.e. fats) and are typically solid at room temperatures
Fatty acids with double bonds are unsaturated – either monounsaturated (1 double bond) or polyunsaturated (>1 double bond). Unsaturated fatty acids are bent in structure, originate from plant sources (i.e. oils) and are typically liquid at room temperatures. Sources of unsaturated fat vary:
Avocados. One medium avocado has approximately 23 grams of fat, but it is primarily monounsaturated fat.
Walnuts plus other nuts, like almonds and pistachios, and nut and seed butters.
Olives and Olive oil. …
Salmon and other fish oils
Transduction is the process of how your body isolates dietary fat components to feed cells, hormones, and other body parts and functions. Excess or non-essential) fats are stored microscopically in many areas. Chronic excesses start to show in arteries organs, and skin tissues. Either resourced from unsaturated, saturated, essential, or non-essential, many of these excesses are deposited as fat storage. This is how the body transduces (converts) fats. Display of fatty skin deposits usually result from long and accumulating deposits of dietary fat.
So how is fat stored? It’s complicated. Fat cells are actually molecules containing chains of acids. Some are essential fatty acids (EFA) providing nutrients for cell and body function. Other fatty acids are catalysts that aid in controlling balance, elimination, and storage. The fatty acids are bonded together by a glue made of starches. These are called triglycerides and are essential to make and keep fat molecules fatty. It’s a symbiosis for keeping your body comfortably fat. Yet, too much storage leads to obesity and diseases like diabetes and atherosclerosis.
Surprisingly, dietary fat uses a starch-based relative of the carbohydrate family. It’s called glycerol. All oils and fat contain glycerol. Glycerol is a polyhydric alcohol, or a sugar alcohol, a polysaccharide. Glucose is the basic unit, of which polysaccharides like starch and cellulose are composed. Glycerol is an essential component of oils and fats, which are called esters or triglycerides. On one end of the chain there is a carboxyl-group, or a carbon double bonded to an oxygen and single bonded to an oxygen and hydrogen. Double bonds are depicted by using two lines. A fat is formed when a glycerol joins with three fatty acids. Fats are also called triglycerides. On one end of the chain there is a carboxyl-group, or a carbon double bonded to an oxygen and single bonded to an oxygen and hydrogen. Fatty acids are long, straight chain carboxylic acids. A fat (or oil) is formed when three fatty acid molecules react with a glycerol molecule to yield a triglyceride. Double bonds are depicted by using two lines, which you can see in the image below. A fat is formed when a glycerol joins with three fatty acids. Fats are also called triglycerides. These fat molecules bond to tissues of the body.
Two of the fatty acids are considered essential. These essential fatty acids (EFAs) are known as linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). One system of fatty acid classification is based on the number of double bonds. Stearic acid is a typical long chain saturated fatty acid. Oleic acid is a typical monounsaturated fatty acid. Linoleic acid is a typical polyunsaturated fatty acid.
Groups of fatty acids bond with a fat molecule and these are called short-chain (SCFA), medium-chain (MFA or MCT), long-chain (LFA), and (sometimes) very long chains. Understanding fats through fatty acids helps you appreciate how fats are essential and basic to cell and body functions. Fats are lipids. Lipids include fats, fatty acids, sterols, phospholipids, glycolipids, waxes, and other substances. They are essential components of every cell membrane.
Short-chain fatty acids are fatty acids with fewer than 6 carbon (C) atoms. They are produced when the friendly gut bacteria ferment fiber in your colon, and are the main source of energy for the cells lining your colon. These 3 short-chain acids work at processing fiber for regularity when eliminating waste products.
Foods containing SCFA consist of:
Resistant starches from whole-grain cereals, barley, brown rice, beans, lentils, green bananas, cooked and cooled potatoes or pasta.
Pectin from apples, apricots, blackberries, carrots and oranges.
The primary acids are:
Acetic acid (2 C atoms)
Propionic acid (3 C atoms)
Butyric acid (4 C atoms)
In the metabolic process, SCFA is simpler because of the shorter fatty acid but are often essential at regulating the use of food fibers from remaining in your body.
Use of these foods provide surprising effects, especially coconut oil (caprylic acid) that are generally saturated fats. Aside from coconut oil, smaller amounts of MCTs can also be found in certain other foods with saturated fats including butter (especially butter from grass-fed cows), cheeses, palm oil, whole milk and full-fat yogurt. While this lies contrary to low-fat dieting there is some scientific support that responsible use of these MCT foods may help contribute to weight loss and higher energy via interactivity with certain proteins.
Long-chain fatty acids are those with 14 or more carbons. They’re found in most fats and oils, including olive oil,
canola oil, soybean oil, fish, nuts, avocado and meat.
Yet, even in these long fat chains conflicts remain about health benefits of Omega-3 and Omega-6 benefits. As social media guru Dr. Mercola indicates:
The science is loud and clear: the correct balance of fatty acids is essential if you want to be the healthiest you can be.
There are actually two problems related to how these fats are being consumed by most Westerners today:
The ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats is 1:1, but the typical Western diet is between 1:20 and 1:50.
The typical Westerner is consuming far too many polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) altogether, which is a problem in and of itself.
So, most consume the wrong amount—AND the wrong ratio of these highly benefical fats.
Both omega-3 and omega-6 fats are PUFAs and they’re both essential to your health, but when omega-6 is consumed in excess, it become problematic.
As a group, when consumed in the wrong ratios, they tend to stimulate inflammatory processes in your body, rather than inhibit them.
You need some inflammation to protect yourself from infections and trauma, and PUFAs help you mount these defenses.
Omega-3 foods are typically fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines. A popular vegan source is flax, either seeds or oil. Despite the positives pf omega-3 dietary fat foods, fish are sources of cholesterol. For those monitoring cholesterol and triglyceride levels, professional holistic physicians should be sought.
The three types of omega−3 fatty acids involved in human physiology are α-linolenic acid (ALA) (found in plant oils), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (both commonly found in marine oils).
Dr. Axe does make points that if the balance of meat-based omega-6 and fish-based omega 3 are askew, there are side-effects:
What are the risks of consuming too little omega-3s (plus too many omega-6s)?
Inflammation (sometimes severe)
Higher risk for heart disease and high cholesterol
Joint and muscle pain
Mental disorders like depression
Poor brain development
(although some of these claims are not well supported by scientific evidence. For example, there are many probabilities for most things on his list). Generally, omega-6 foods are seen as potentially dangerous. Omega-6 dietary fat acids, however, as part of the long chain partner as constituents of many foods.
So Omega 6 is found in foods that include: poultry.
hulled sesame seeds.
most vegetable oils.
While there is a debate about the ratio of Omega-3 vs Omega-6 regarding health, both are essential fatty acid complexes. Omega-6 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat found in vegetable oils, nuts and seeds. When eaten in moderation and in place of the saturated fats found in meats and dairy products, omega-6 fatty acids can be good for your heart.
While focus tends to be omega-3 and omega-6 dietary fat acids, there are other omega fats. Unlike the 3’s and 6’s, Omega-9 fats are not “essential” fatty acids. That means that you don’t need to get them in your diet – if your body needs them, it can make its own. … Omega-9 fatty acids include: Oleic acid: a monounsaturated fat found in olive oil, macadamia oil, poultry fat, and lard. Poultry fat and lard are trans-fats, generally regarded as unhealthy. Some of the top foods to get omega-9 benefits include sunflower, hazelnut, safflower, macadamia nuts, soybean oil, olive oil, canola oil, almond butter and avocado oil.
Research has shown some evidence that omega-9 fatty acids can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Omega-9 benefits heart health because omega-9s have been shown in some tests to increase HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) and decrease LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol).
While dietary fat may not be a sole determinant of body fat, consuming extra calories than using each day will add body fat deposits. When you consume more calories than your body needs, both carbs and fats end up stored in muscles and in other areas throughout the body. The body stores dietary fats in the form of triglycerides, whether in muscles or fat cells. Carbs are first turned into glycogen, which is stored in the liver and muscles. Ketogenic diets believe that, by removing carbs as an energy source, part of the body fat will be used via gluconeogenesis. It works as a lifestyle choice. The liver, kidneys, and brain can produce the glycogens it requires to function, in the absence of carbs. It also breaks down glycerols found in fat. Body fat, however has layers – particularly visceral and subcutaneous.
Body fat may not be a fashionable ideal but visceral fat is more hazardous. Much of the fat in the stomach area lies directly under the skin. This is called subcutaneous fat and is not necessarily hazardous to your health. The fat that is harmful is the unseen fat around your organs, otherwise known as visceral abdominal fats. These also show up in blood tests. The problems are before they become visceral body fat, visceral fat coats the liver, kidney, and other vital organs. In the bloodstream, they may be factors that clog arteries.
How to Lose Visceral Fat:
See a certified dietician.
Do blood tests.
Cut out all trans fats from your diet.
Don’t drink a lot of alcohol.
Do resistance training.
Do high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
Improve your hormone profile.
Keep cortisol levels under control.
Maintain good sleep hygiene.
Take the right supplements as prescribed by dietician.
Visceral fat and its ties to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases has been called metabolic obesity in contrast with weight-based obesity. Visceral fat is a consequence of eating more fat than your body actually needs, from fat calories. Visceral fat may pose inner dangers. Subcutaneous fat indicates your clothing size. There are several methods of testing visceral fat – others more accurate than some. Speak to a health practitioner if you are concerned about visceral fat.
Reducing fat or lowering carbohydrate consumption will help reduce, at least subcutaneous fat as a lifestyle approach. Never do both! As a low-carb approach, you can eat fat and protein as energy sources. It doesn’t mean you can eat bacon, sausages, and pounds of meat daily. You still need to calibrate your fat consumption responsibly – getting all your required calories from diversified fat sources and protein. Tour body can compensate for the carb co-factors by producing them itself.
Fat, like carbohydrates, translates into energy. Provided you have no existing health issues, dietary fat kept at around 70 to 80 grams daily – with normal movement – may help manage your subcutaneous fat issues, if you have any. Excessive dietary fat loss is very complicated but fat is essential for energy production.
Dietary fat and losing stored subcutaneous (and visceral) fats requires consuming about 80% of fat calories. It’s quixotic to what we learned. Can eating butter responsibly make you skinny? Analyzing dietary fat helps develop a healthy strategy.